28, April, 2017
The EU is undermining the status of Jerusalem, the world city that is central to Christianity and Judaism. As such it lies at the heart of European civilization and Universal values of Human Rights. For more than three thousand years, as artifacts prove, this identity and history were unquestioned.
Courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority
Now the status of Jerusalem is under threat of cultural Jihadism. The EU seems to be doing little about it. Some countries are even helping undermine their own civilizational values.
When UNESCO passed a Decision on Jerusalem in October last year, it did more than repeat the now too-usual anti-Semitic diatribe. It attacked the whole basis of Judeo-Christian civilization. The resolution tried to maintain that only Arabic/Muslim names were valid for Jerusalem. It simply wrote out any mention of any previous civilizations that attached their names to the Holy City.
The UNESCO Decision calls for a further report on this at UNESCO’s Executive Board meeting in Paris 17 April to 5 May. It is marked as agenda item 30 on “Occupied Palestine”.
Both Europeans and Israelis should be made well aware at this affront to their history and culture. Especially omitted from last year’s resolution were any names evoking the ancient Israelite and continuous Jewish heritage of the City. These should be well-known to all educators, scientists and all cultures familiar with the People of the Book.
The resolution at the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO blamed “Israel, the Occupying Power” and its “so-called Antiquities Department”, while making no mention of more than forty truck loads of artifact-laden earth the Muslim Waqf Foundation has removed and disposed of without archaeological permission, examination or concern.
It prefers to mention fabulous Muslim events that have no factual basis. It omits all mention of Hebrew artifacts containing names of kings and their ministers showing continuous cultural achievements over three thousand years. The Muslim claim to Jerusalem is the weakest of the three religions as it depends either on a transitory conquest or a fabulous dream. (Many countries conquered the Holy Land, some erected buildings and made roads, like the British, but they do not claim sovereignty. A religion like Islam has no property rights in Law.)
Who came up with all this? The draft was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, at the behest of the PA’s policy of cultural nihilism. This turns UNESCO’s role on its head. Such obscurantism is just what UNESCO was set up to oppose.
Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO in a speech transmitted to the European Parliament on 30 March said:
“Jerusalem puts us in front of a radical choice. … To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”
She added: “The protection and better understanding of the Heritage of Jerusalem is part of a broader vision for peace. It is part of a wider vision to fight against all forms of denial of Jewish history, de-legitimization of Israel, and anti-Semitism. This work is essential, as European know too well the ravages of war and anti-Semitism.”
So why did so few European States, who owe their very civilization to the Book, vote against the Resolution? Why did so many simply abstain? That gave tacit support for undermining the foundations of Western civilization. Only five States voted against the Resolution. How could eight States including France, Italy and Spain just abstain on such a serious matter?
European foreign policy on UNESCO is coordinated by the EU’s European External Action Service, EEAS. What do they have to say? A group of concerned citizens requested all the working documents of EEAS leading up to this cultural catastrophe. They took the name Jerusalem Educational, Scientific and Cultural Office, JESCO.
The JESCO Freedom of Information request pointed out that Israel is the legitimate occupying power by law and history. (The attempt to use the term “Occupying Power” derogatorily is as invalid as saying that a person who legal bought a house is an occupier.)
“The site was temporarily conquered by Arab, then Turkish and the British in WW1, but this does not give these groups present-day legality to property or other rights,” the request said. “The League of Nations and the UN recognized this area as Jewish Homeland.” Under international law military conquest does not alter property rights.
What was the response of EEAS? All documents were refused. The Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union and UNESCO is however a public document. As might be expected many of the 27 articles in the three-page Memorandum stress the importance of respect for openness, human dignity, freedom, democracy, the rule of law and in particular freedom of expression and the media. It also mentions intercultural dialogue, raising awareness about the importance of education. How is it that not only UNESCO but European Union Member States have failed so miserably in their duties?
When formulating public policy, European States as democracies, should have open documents arrived at publicly. There is no excuse for secrecy that ends up in anti-Semitism and undermining Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
The JESCO appealed against this refusal to supply basic information from EEAS. In the meantime, Europeans and Israelis should be aware of the forthcoming meeting of the April-May UNESCO Executive Board and contact their UNESCO representatives. They should make sure the appalling lapses at UNESCO are reversed. Expunging factual history and replacing facts with fables is not UNESCO’s mission. Nor is turning UNESCO into an instrument of cultural jihadism.
JESCO can be contacted at JerusalemESCOffice@gmail.comDavid Heilbron Price