The main Jewish groups in France urged members to rally in front of the headquarters of the country’s Foreign Ministry to protest its failure to oppose UN resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to Jerusalem, JTA reported on Thursday.
On Wednesday, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee passed a resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
On October 13, the executive board of the UNESCO passed a similar resolution which refers to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount only by their Arabic-language names.
France was among 26 countries that abstained from voting during the first resolution.
CRIF, the political lobby group representing French Jewish communities, was joined in a rare move by the Consistoire, French Jewry’s organ responsible for religious services, in organizing a protest rally for Thursday opposite the Quai d’Orsay in Paris in reaction to the passing of the two resolutions on Jerusalem.
“We were shocked by the anti-Israeli obsession of UNESCO and are now revolted by its disavowal of its own values,” CRIF President Francis Kalifat wrote Wednesday in his call for French Jews to rally outside Quai d’Orsay.
“This indignation is compounded by a profound disappointment in France’s choice to abstain during the executive board vote,” he added, according to JTA.
Noting that the street protest was not initiated by CRIF, Kalifat wrote, “Other groups decided to take this indignation to the street and I salute their initiative.” He also called on “all of CRIF’s member groups to join [the protesters] to make audible a loud voice, faithful to historical veracity.”
The Consistoire, which usually does not get involved in debates of a partisan nature or about foreign policy issues, was more laconic in its call to rally.
“Following the vote on Jerusalem by UNESCO, a demonstration of protest opposite the Quai d’Orsay,” read the email the Consistoire sent Wednesday to its mailing list.
In May, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized for his country’s support for an earlier resolution passed by UNESCO in April that also was seen as erasing Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
Italy has already expressed regret for abstaining in the vote on the first resolution, with its Prime Minister Matteo Renzi saying last Friday his officials should have voted against it.
Similarly, the first resolution actually had to be revoted upon when Mexico changed its mind.