Yesterday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a resolution that aims to change the status quo of the Temple Mount and declare the Western Wall a part of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Joining with the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is bitterly disappointed that UNESCO would seek to fan the flames of religious and cultural conflict and undermine historic Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City of Jerusalem.
By approving such an untruthful and one-sided resolution, UNESCO is eroding efforts to seek a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by giving support to forces in the Palestinian community that reject reconciliation.
The resolution is an affront to the Jewish people and our over two-millennia connection to the Western Wall and the Temple it once supported. By acknowledging the holy sites both on and around the Temple Mount solely by their Arabic names, this resolution seeks to invalidate any claim the Jewish people have to our holiest site. The result of this aggressive effort will be to heighten the already palpable religious tensions in Israel and the surrounding region.
At no point does the proposal acknowledge a Jewish association with the Western Wall, one that clearly dates to ancient times. Instead, it ignores any Jewish connection to the site altogether. This gross attempt to erase history by UNESCO is unconscionable. This revision of history is political, offensive, and without factual merit.
We commend the nations that stood up for historic truth and rejected this malignant resolution. We praise the Obama administration for opposing this resolution along with the signers of the Oct. 10 bipartisan Congressional letter which urged UNESCO to reject it.
We urge the United Nations to see this for the anti-Israel attack that it is, to consider the damaging effects this change will have on Israel and the entire Middle East, and to condemn it in absolute terms.