The United Nations (UNESCO, to be specific) recently adopted an anti-Israel resolution that disregarded the Jewish connection to the faith’s two holiest sites, the Temple Mount and Western Wall. The motion was supported by 24 nations, including Russia and China. Only six countries opposed it.
Now, the UN is too impotent to make history, much less redraft it. Still, it’s never a waste of time to remind people of its long record of empowering cheerleaders and perpetrators of violence against Jews.
It’s not merely that UN organizations like the “human rights commission” or UNESCO are often led by Islamic supremacists, but that the majority of first-world nations have — with few exceptions, like the United States and the United Kingdom — been enablers of anti-Semitism for over 50 years.
This new motion, which claims freedom of worship has been curtailed by “escalating aggressions and illegal measures,” was submitted by the Palestinians and backed by various other twelfth-century strongholds like Morocco (where it’s illegal to possess a Bible written in Arabic), Algeria (where Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men and insulting Muhammad is punishable by death), Iran (with restrictions too long to list), Pakistan (where the death penalty or life in prison is mandated for apostasy), and Sudan (where converting to Christianity is punishable by death.)
Did I mention UNESCO is an organization that claims it encourages “international peace and universal respect for human rights”? Why would the United States lend its credibility to such a sham?
For those of you unfamiliar with the specifics of this effort: The UN has long fueled the false hope of Palestinians that they will rule an ethnically cleansed, Judenfrei West Bank (regrettably, a position embraced by United States, as well) with Jerusalem as its capital. Since the very case for a modern Palestinian state is built on a historical myth (read Benny Morris’s recent Haaretz piece debunking the biggest myth of Israel’s founding), historical fiction has been an enduring feature of anti-Israel doctrine.
When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited his religion’s holiest site in September 2000, Arabs used it as a pretext to launch the Second Intifada. Anti-Israel activists still talk about this Sharon visit as if the man were leading the Crusaders towards Mecca. Most often, though, Israel does what it can to avoid irritating the prickly sensibilities of Arabs offended by the sight of Jews or Christians. The site itself is administrated by an Islamic trust, not Israel. Politicians are told not to go there. And so on.
But Israel, unlike every UNESCO nation that voted against it, is a liberal democracy.
So a few years ago, a man named Yehuda Glick began advocating for open access to the Temple Mount for people of all faiths. In almost any other context or in any other place, this would be treated as a liberal position. Arabs rioted, and Glick was shot four times by an Arab gunman in an assassination attempt. Our ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, took to the floor to rail against the terrible “provocations” of both sides.
At the time, the Palestinian Authority was fueling false rumors that Israelis were going to block Muslims from entering the site. President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech claiming that “we have to prevent the settlers from entering the Temple Mount by any means. It is our mosque and they have no right to enter and desecrate it.” Settlers, by the way, are all Israelis living in Jerusalem.
To put this in historic context, before 1967 (the year Palestinians and their Western allies like pretend history began) Jews were barred from these sites, which were often abused and neglected. Even today, access to holy sites within Arab-majority areas is unsafe without armed protection.
So when the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem is located in Israel, as it recently did in the official press release of the president’s remarks at Shimon Peres’ memorial, it feeds this conflict. Peres, a dove who was willing to bend for “peace” more than most of Israel’s political establishment, had plenty to say on this issue, by the way. In 2007, he argued for a Jewish majority in a unified Jerusalem wherein holy sites “must remain under our control.”
According to Jewish tradition, the Temple Mount is where God found the dust that was used to create Adam, where God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, where King Solomon built the First Temple, which was later rebuilt and then expanded by Herod and destroyed by the Romans. Aside from that, nearly every time experts dig in the area they excavate evidence of an ancient Jewish presence in Israel — often confirming biblical accounts. It’s going to take some heavy lifting to untether thousands of years of Jewish history from Israel. And it’s going to take a much more competent organization than the United Nations to get it done.