Conference of Presidents condemns UNESCO

Leaders of Conference of Presidents blast UNESCO for showing their disdain for Jewish heritage.

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Ben Ariel, Canada,

UNESCO headquarters in Paris
UNESCO headquarters in Paris
Reuters

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Friday condemned UNESCO for passing a resolution declaring Hevron an “endangered Palestinian heritage site”.

In a statement, Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents, urged the leaders of the UN and UNESCO to speak out against the resolution.

“We strongly condemn the adoption by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee of two more resolutions in the relentless Palestinian campaign to erase the more than 3,800-year Jewish and 2,000-year Christian connection to the holy sites in Jerusalem, Hebron and elsewhere in Israel,” they said in a statement.

“The two resolutions passed this week again reveal the Committee’s politically driven disregard of historical facts, disdain for Jewish heritage and disrespect for its mission to preserve the world’s cultural and religious heritage. These outrageous assaults on history, tradition, and religious beliefs must be reversed,” added Greenberg and Hoenlein, in a reference to a UNESCO resolution passed earlier this week which denies Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and condemns.

“No amount of UN resolutions based on lies and distortions can rob the Jewish people of its heritage or break the historical connections to some of the most sacred roots of the Jewish religion,” they continued.

“Today’s resolution on the Cave of the Patriarchs and Hevron disregarded the facts presented in a report by UNESCO’s own independent panel of experts and ignored their recommendation against adding them to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger at this time.”

“By conducting the vote today in a secret ballot, the current Chair of the Committee and those member states who voted for the resolution clearly demonstrated they understood the shameful nature of their action.”

“As with the disgraceful resolution on Jerusalem adopted by the World Heritage Committee earlier this week, if the four European Union countries on the Committee who abstained, had voted against the resolution, it would have failed to get the necessary two-thirds of those voting in order to pass,” noted Greenberg and Hoenlein.

“The complicity of Poland, Finland, Croatia and Portugal, in abetting the shameful outcomes of the resolutions is disgraceful.”

“We call on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and other world leaders to speak out forcefully against the scurrilous resolutions adopted by the World Heritage Committee this week filled with false information, baseless accusations against Israel and gravely insulting the most fundamental elements of Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier on Friday ordered to cut an additional $1 million from the membership funds that Israel pays to the UN in response to the latest UNESCO resolution.

The money will instead be transferred to the establishment of "The Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hevron" and to additional heritage projects related to Hevron.

This is not the first time that UNESCO has passed an anti-Israel resolution. In October 2016, UNESCO ruled that Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, and that Jews have no connection to the Western Wall and Temple Mount.

In May, UNESCO passed a resolution condemning Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and in Gaza. Following that resolution, Netanyahu deducted $1 million from the funds that Israel transfers to the UN.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)