UNESCO’s Fake History

Israelis are fed up with UNESCO denying Jewish history, and with Netanyahu’s weak response to the scandal

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UNESCO has chosen Israel’s 69th Day of Independence to deliver another one of its many infamous anti-Israel resolutions. 

A year ago, UNESCO erased any Jewish link to the Temple Mount, leaving to it only its Muslim legacy. On May 2, this council expanded the area to which it says Jews have no claim to include the entire Old City of Jerusalem.

The resolution, entitled “Occupied Palestine,” is devoted to condemning the Israeli “occupation” of East Jerusalem, Old City included, and it finds the need to include Gaza in “occupied Palestine.” 

Invoking the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Resolutions on Warfare, the Hague Convention for protection of “transfer of ownership of cultural property,” among other international resolutions and protocols, UNESCO effectively erases any Jewish connection to Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the City of David and countless other archeological sites and findings in and around the Old City – evidence that leaves no doubt to the true legacy of Jerusalem.

But UNESCO doesn’t like this history one bit, hence its gleeful and willing revision of history into what Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely rightly dubbed “fake history.” In this framework of fake history, UNESCO can affirm and reaffirm many times over that Jerusalem (ironically leaving the city’s Hebrew name intact) is stolen Palestinian property, “the cultural heritage of Palestine.” And it doesn’t at all matter if one shouts until blue in the face that “Palestine is fake,” because UNESCO is not interested in history so much as it is interested in vilifying Israel.

At least one Israeli commentator, Yotam Zimri, has concluded that this latest resolution is a good thing because, “unlike many other antisemitic organs, that try in sophisticated ways to hide the disease running through their veins by saying that all they do is objecting Israel’s policy, [UNESCO] does it in the most clumsy and transparent way.” For that, says Zimri, UNESCO should be thanked.

For their part, Israeli officials predictably condemned this resolution, with Prime Minister Netanyahu issuing a sarcastic remark during the annual Bible Quiz held on Independence Day. UNESCO tries to deny the fact that Jerusalem is a Jewish city, therefore, “we deny UNESCO,” he said.

Yet, many Israelis insist that Netanyahu is only paying lip service to Jerusalem. They point to the harsh treatment of Jews on the Temple Mount as proof that Netanyahu’s policies accomplish the opposite of firm and fearless Jewish sovereignty in and around Jerusalem.

Even media analyst Guy Bechor, a staunch supporter of Netanyahu, calls out the prime minister’s indecisiveness. “Stop being afraid,” Bechor writes on his popular blog. “The Government House [the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem], and the area around it, are Israel’s property [and we want it to become] the American Embassy,” he states, urging Israelis to join a petition to that effect.


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