UNESCO board formally approves resolution denying Jewish holy sites


(JTA) — The executive board of the United Nations cultural agency voted to adopt a controversial resolution that denies a Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem.

The board reportedly formally approved the resolution on Tuesday morning in the final day of its meeting in Paris.

The approval comes five days after the resolution passed in a preliminary vote of the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In that vote, there were 2 4 votes in favor and 6 against, with 26 countries abstaining. The United States, the United Kingdom and Germany were among those that voted against the resolution. They were joined by Lithuania, the Netherlands and Estonia. Other European countries abstained.

On Monday, Mexico changed its vote from “in favor” to abstain, saying in a statement” “Changing the vote reiterates the recognition that the government of Mexico gives to the undeniable link of the Jewish people to cultural heritage located in East Jerusalem. It also reflects the deep appreciation that this government has for the Jewish community and in particular for their significant contributions to the welfare and economic, social and cultural development of Mexico.”

Mexico fired its Jewish ambassador to UNESCO, however, after Andre Roemer in a personal protest walked out of last week’s vote in Paris, leaving his deputy to cast the country’s vote.

Discussion and a vote on the resolution were postponed from the board’s meeting in July.

The UNESCO resolution reportedly refers to the Temple Mount several times as Al Haram Al Sharif, the Islamic term for the Temple Mount, without mentioning that it is the holiest site in Judaism, according to UN Watch. It also uses the term Buraq Plaza, placing Western Wall Plaza in quotes, appearing to deny a Jewish connection to the site. The Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is referred to as the al-Ḥaram al-Ibrahimi and Rachel’s Tomb, outside Bethlehem, is noted as the Bilal ibn Rabaḥ Mosque.

A similar resolution was adopted by UNESCO’s executive board in April.


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