March 23, 2017

October 13, 2016

UNESCO: What’s the Temple Mount?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the people who designate World Heritage sites, is dominated by Muslim countries and other nations hostile to Israel. Today, UNESCO renewed a resolution that undermines its claim to have authority whatsoever in cultural matters. According to Jessie Owen Payne of the Philos Project:

In a 24-6 vote this morning, UNESCO backed a resolution that denied any Jewish affiliation with Judaism’s holiest religious sites in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization made the decision to refer to the sites by only their Muslim names, and in its resolution criticized Israel for what it called the nation’s “provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity” of the two landmarks.

While 26 members of the United Nations’ cultural division abstained from the vote, 24 nations backed the resolution and a mere six voted against it. The document – voted on in Paris this morning – consistently referred to Israel as “the occupying power.”

The countries that voted against this tripe were the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia. In addition to the usual Muslim suspects, those voting for it included Russia, China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic. Twenty-four countries, in acts of resolve and courage, abstained, including France, Spain, Greece, Italy, India, South Korea, and Japan.

The resolution is the standard one-sided UN nonsense. Among other things, it declares:

I.B.1 Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif

7. Calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic status quo that prevailed until September 2000, under which the Jordanian Awqaf (Religious Foundation) Department exercised exclusive authority on Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram AlSharif, and its mandate extended to all affairs relating to the unimpeded administration of AlAqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, including maintenance, restoration and regulating access;

8. Strongly condemns the escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the Awqaf Department and its personnel, and against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, and requests Israel, the occupying Power, to respect the historic status quo and to immediately stop these measures;

9. Firmly deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif;

10. Deeply decries the continuous Israeli aggressions against civilians including Islamic religious figures and priests, decries the forceful entering into the different mosques and historic buildings inside Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by different Israeli employees including the so-called “Israeli Antiquities” officials, and arrests and injuries among Muslim worshippers and Jordanian Awqaf guards in Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by the Israeli forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to end these aggressions and abuses which inflame the tension on the ground and between faiths;

11. Disapproves of the Israeli restriction of access to Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif during the 2015 Eid Al-Adha and the subsequent violence, and calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to stop all violations against Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif;

For those of you not up on your Arabic, “Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif” is also known as the Temple Mount. It is the holiest site in Judaism, the location of Solomon’s Temple as well as the Temple rebuilt following the Babylonian Captivity. When the Awqaf is getting its way, it’s also Judenrein, a fact that UNESCO doesn’t mention and doesn’t care about, because it is only concerned about the religious rights of one group when it comes to anything remotely related to the Holy Land. What UNESCO does in this resolution and all its actions is set aside its supposed function as an independent conservator of the cultural heritage of humanity, and decide that one of the most important places on Earth to Christians and Jews has nothing to do with them, and is the exclusive cultural and religious property of Muslims. Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project responded this way:

What can I say? This resolution is a blight on UNESCO and every state that voted for it or abstained for fear of the others.

It is incorrect to say that the Jewish people have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The truth is that the Jewish people, and in particular a Jewish king, King Herod the Great, built the entire complex two millennia ago. Any historian or archaeologist worth their salt knows this to be true.

According to its constitution, UNESCO seeks to foster “peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture.” Yet this resolution ensures miseducation of the nations by disregarding archaeological science and denying an entire culture its rightful historical legacy.

Any chance for peace in the Middle East hinges on the ability of all parties to respect the cultural and political existence of the others. Willfully ignoring the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and particularly to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, only ensures that peace will remain unattainable in the near future.

UNESCO must withdraw its preliminary approval of this resolution to show the world that it is committed to being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

I agree, of course, that that’s the course of action UNESCO should take. Since I value my life, I will not hold my breath until that happens. Like its parent, UNESCO is in many ways a joke and a disgrace, and this is only the latest proof of it.

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I quite see that the Dome of the Rock, standing since the mid-seventh century AD, where it replaced the pagan temple that followed the Temples of Herod and Solomon, will not be pulled down.  It’s not clear to me that rabbinic Judaism, having operated for nearly two millennia now without a temple, would actually want to begin the elaborate series of blood sacrifices (and others) which were made there.

But if the Muslims would stop throwing stones down on the Jews below, and otherwise rioting up there, I’m sure access would be made easier.  And there is no good reason I can think of to prohibit Jewish prayers in the plaza outside the Dome, or to prohibit Christian prayers there.

[1] Posted by Katherine on 10-13-2016 at 04:58 PM · [top]

I agree, the Temple is not going to be rebuilt, and none but a fringe of Jews want to see it rebuilt. They are fine with the presence of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa there (well, maybe not fine, but resigned). But you’re also absolutely right, that all people should be allowed to pray on the Mount. But it’s considered Dar al-Islam, so Muslims will never be happy with that.

[2] Posted by David Fischler on 10-13-2016 at 08:51 PM · [top]

It may not be laid out in their Koran, but I believe that a significant contingent of Muslims deny the existence of the Jewish Temples.

[3] Posted by Nikolaus on 10-14-2016 at 05:52 PM · [top]

Why yes, Nikolaus.  Baghadad Bob has a lot of relatives.

[4] Posted by Jackie on 10-14-2016 at 06:26 PM · [top]

Which was here first, Islam or Judaism? Abraham would not like this. But, your “Perhaps the Lord….”  (Sarah woman ) of God but not of faith has brought these hardships and conflicts upon us all. Now only the Lord Himself will be able to distinguish between what is chaff and what is wheat.

[5] Posted by Calhoun on 11-10-2016 at 07:43 PM · [top]

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