The Temple Mount, UNESCO vote and Western shame

It is time to name and shame those responsible for the passing of this historic upheaval. And they are not only Muslim countries.

Barry Shaw

OpEds Barry Shaw
Barry Shaw

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization voted on 13th October against the very principles on which it was created.

UNESCO was founded in 1945 after World War II to establish humanity's moral and intellectual solidarity. It says it strives to build networks among nations to enable this kind of solidarity. 

These were its founding principles. O, how have the mighty fallen.

With shocking disregard to historic evidence, it insulted and denied the heritage of two of the world's greatest religions, Judaism and Christianity, when it passed a resolution that denied Jewish, and therefore Christian, ties to the Temple Mount

The October vote shattered thousands of years of faith and belief -  in addition to historical, archaeological and literal fact.

Questions must be raised about why UNESCO made such an egregious mistake. Some will point to the Islamic regimes and undemocratic countries that dominate too many United Nations forums and are now dictating how they see the world.

But my beef is with the cynical politics of countries that should know better and must act with moral authority but went missing at this significant resolution.

It is time to name and shame those responsible for the passing of this historic upheaval.

It is hardly surprising to learn that among the nations that eagerly voted for the UNESCO principle that Jerusalem's Temple Mount is strictly Islamic were Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, and Vietnam. 

For the most part that is a given. They are all in denial, ignorant or uncaring about the Scriptures as geographic and historic evidence that the Temple Mount was a Jewish construct.

If the tale of Abraham sacrificing Isaac on Mount Moriah, the site on which the Temple was built is too far-fetched, how about the recorded histories of King Solomon and King David who built the first and second Temples together with the corroborating historic timeline that links both events? 

And if that doesn't convince you there is a treasure trove of artifacts that are scientifically proven to be intricately traceable back to specific periods that prove the authenticity of the Jewish temples and the events that unfolded there. 

If there was never a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount there couldn't have been a Jesus. Ergo - no Christianity!
Russia voted in favor of the motion, ignoring the millions of Russian Orthodox Christians it insulted by its vote. But, shockingly, both South Africa and Mexico also voted that the Temple Mount is Islamic. Where was their Christian-based conscience? 

Will we be hearing from the radical South African Christian leader, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who often struts the world stage spouting moral and humanitarian values now that the deep center of his religious heart has been surgically removed by UNESCO?  For, if there was never a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount there couldn't have been a Jesus. Ergo - no Christianity!

Not only has UNESCO, with this vote, announced that the Old Testament is a lie, a historical fiction. It also declared that the New Testament is null and void.

There were only six nations that voted against the motion that the Temple Mount has always been and will continue to be an exclusive Islamic holy site were the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia. That's it! Only six nations had the moral courage to deny an obvious and internationally impactful lie.

Perhaps the greatest shame lies with some of the nations that, with the moral cowardice and political cynicism we have come to expect from them in other UN chambers, decided to go along with the intolerant and stupid regimes by abstaining. 

These nations included Albania, Argentina, SPAIN, FRANCE, Ghana, Cameroon, GREECE, Guinea, Haiti, India, ITALY, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, SWEDEN, Togo and Ukraine.

I know that Europe was once a Christian continent but I did not suspect that the religious disorientation of countries like Spain, France, Sweden and Greece would lead them to not look at the meaning of this UNESCO resolution and vote against it for the lie that it is. Have they really abandoned their Christian origins so much that they have already disowned them? Perhaps Sweden will now remove the cross from its national flag?

As for Italy, what can I say? Together with Spain, they were the strong upholders of Catholicism, the Jews will say to an intolerant and anti-Semitic degree. Jews suffered badly in the past in both these countries. We recall the Spanish Expulsion and Inquisition of its Jews, a genocide inspired by the leaders of the Catholic Church.

But Italy?  I invite all Italians, especially their politicians and diplomats that enabled the passing of this obscene vote to revisit the Roman Forum in Rome and stand under the Arch of Titus to look at the ancient carvings depicting the Roman rape of the Jewish Temple. They will see the Roman Legionnaires carrying the Jewish relics they plundered from Jerusalem during their conquest, pillage and destruction of our Jewish Temple.

How could they abstain from this motion? Were they reliving yet another plunder of the Jewish Temple by cohorting with the Islamic world? For that's what it looks like to me.

Can we now expect the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church, speak up to denounce UNESCO?  Can we expect to hear the voices of any Christian leader as we are starting to hear those from rabbis in every movement of Judaism?

The shame of UNESCO displays itself in the myopia of countries that once were considered "enlightened nations."

It seems the light of truth and courageous honesty has dimmed in the democratic world. Will we see a new reformation and a return to the moral leadership that the world so desperately needs right now as a result of the profoundly disturbing lurch of UNESCO that has failed in its educational, scientific and cultural responsibilities?

Don't hold your breath.


Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of 'Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.'