UNESCO
UNESCO iStock

The question, of course, is anachronistic and the answer is no. The first smartphone was released (by IBM) in 1994, less than 30 years ago. Abraham,,Patriarch of the Jewish nation, lived 4000 years earlier. He could not possibly have used a technology invented thousands of years later.

That is why no-one suggests Abraham Avinu (Hebrew for the Patriarch Abraham), used a smartphone. That revisionist history would be too laughably obvious to try to put over on the public.. However, UNESCO does seriously allege that Abraham and Sarah’s tomb, a world heritage site, is “Palestinian”.

That’s elevating anachronism to sacrosanct status – because the term “Palestinian” is every bit as new an invention as the smartphone is. “Palestinian”, describing members of the Arab Umma who live in Eretz Israel, was coined in the twentieth century – 4000 years after the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron was purchased and consecrated by Abraham Avinu.

Of course, UNESCO has its excuses ready. UNESCO says that the Cave of the Patriarchs is “Palestinian” because Hebron is situated in what they intend to be a “Palestinian” state. But this too is incorrect. First, Hebron belongs to the Jewish people, as recognized by the unanimous and irrevocable internationally legal decision at San Remo. Second, the area allocated to the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo accords does not include the Cave of the Patriarchs. Third, the Palestinian Authority is not a state.

Fibbing has turned into a serious international problem. During COVID, wide-spread fibs caused untold millions to refuse crucial vaccines.

When fibs in the “Palestinian” arena first surfaced, the United States justified its status as the world’s superpower by refusing to take the fibs lying down. In 1989, the PLO first tried to elbow its way into the World Health Organization (WHO). But international organizations like WHO are joined only by states, not by social groups, political parties, or terrorist organizations. The PLO was pretending to be a state, and the international community was expected to acquiesce in the fib.

James Baker, then US Secretary of State, could hardly be accused of oozing pro-Israel sentiment. But he blocked the Palestinian Arab “we are a state” fib. Baker said the U.S. should “make no further contributions to any international organization which makes any change in the PLO’s status as an observer.” That was the end of the Palestinian fib in WHO.

The US Congress supported Baker’s no-fibbing-on-my-watch position, enacting Baker’s warning into law. This anti-fib law, still intact, says that US money will not support organizations which pretend there is a “Palestinian state”.

But now, Secretary of State Antony Blinken - seemingly cut from different cloth than his predecessor - is feverishly persuading Congress to rescind the anti-fib law. And since Congress is understandably reluctant - Blinken has resorted to assuring Congress that Israel itself, supports rescinding America’s historic anti-fib law.

Another Baker has criticized the “pro-fib” approach championed by Blinken, and has proffered a rational alternative: that UNESCO would “suspend Palestinian Arab full membership status and resort to observer status, pending the outcome of the negotiation of a permanent status agreement with Israel”. This alternative was authored by Dr. Alan Baker (no relation), a former legal advisor to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and diplomat. In other words, if a Palestinian state is ever established, G-d forbid, UNESCO would make that state a member. Until then, UNESCO won’t pretend that there is a “Palestinian state”, or that pigs can fly.

Will the world’s airy Blinkens overcome the down-to-earth Bakers? Who will prevail – fibbers, or warriors against fibbing?

This question is vexing congressman in all fifty states – because rescinding the anti-fib law requires a majority both in Congress, and in the Senate.

Susie Dym is spokesperson for Mattot Arim, an Israeli grassroots organization working toward peace-for-peace since 1992