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Thursday, November 03, 2011

UNESCO: 'Leading from behind' is not enough

Remember when Susan Rice cast a US veto in the Security Council against that resolution about 'settlement construction' and then went on to castigate Israel in the Security Council. Well, it's largely gone unnoticed, but that's pretty much what happened with UNESCO this week.
Instead of proudly defending Israel against UNESCO's power grab, however, the administration was nearly apologetic. David Killon, the U.S. representative to UNESCO, pledged to "find ways to support and strengthen the important work of this vital organization." State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated, "Not paying our dues into these organizations could severely restrict and reduce our ability to influence them, our ability to act within them, and we think this affects U.S. interests."
UNESCO doesn't deserve the grace. Robert Goldberg presents a lengthy and consistent list of UNESCO actions against Israel over the last 40 years.
In 1974 UNESCO voted to exclude Israel from its European regional group for engaging in archeological exploration and construction. This anti-Jewish ostracism was not abandoned until 1978, after the United States withheld $40 million in payments from the organization in protest.

In 1984, the Reagan administration (along with Britain and France) stopped funding UNESCO because the agency was sponsoring programs, proposals and materials that were hostile to the idea of freedom (and enthusiastic about Soviet-style government) and was particularly critical of Israel. It worked for a while. But as soon as the U.S. resumed making contributions to UNESCO in 2002, efforts to isolate Israel increased.

Since 1967, Arab states have tried to portray Israel as the usurper of Arab lands. Denying historical Jewish ties to Israel is part of that campaign, one that UNESCO has financed and participated in. UNESCO has called for financial sanctions against Israel and passed hundreds of resolutions criticizing Israel's efforts to restore historic and holy sites in Jerusalem. When the UN celebrated its 50th anniversary, UNESCO refused to mention the Holocaust in its World War II resolution, intentionally ignoring Israel's request to include a specific reference to the destruction of European Jewry.

In 1989 UNESCO stated, "Israel's occupation of Jerusalem" was destroying the holy city by "acts of interference, destruction and transformation." UNESCO claimed in 1974 that Israel's control over a united Jerusalem was a "cultural crime against humanity." In 1996, UNESCO organized a symposium on Jerusalem at the body's Paris headquarters. But no Jewish or Israeli groups were invited. Maybe the invitation got lost.

Over the past decade UNESCO has worked with Arab organizations to deny Jewish claims to religiously important historical sites in Israel. In 2010 UNESCO declared that Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem is a mosque and claimed the Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs were Palestinian sites and "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories."

In 2009, UNESCO designated Jerusalem as a "capital of Arab culture," working with Palestinian Authority officials and key Arab figures to protest against what they described as "the Israeli occupation of Holy Jerusalem."

These actions helped UNESCO with its other major responsibility: the development of curriculum and textbooks in Palestinian and Arab communities. As UNESCO eliminates Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem and holy sites, Palestinian textbooks have been revised accordingly. Textbooks have erased Jewish claims to the Western Wall and Rachel's Tomb. For example, National Education, a textbook for seventh-graders published in 2010, refers to the Western Wall as the "Al-Buraq Wall," and to Rachel's Tomb as "Al-Bilal Mosque."
It's kind of hard to change rot from the inside. It just keeps collapsing on you. And you can't lead from behind on this sort of thing. If you don't have the courage of your convictions, everyone else can tell. Ask France about their UNESCO vote and why they didn't worry about how the US would react.

Speaking of trying to change rot from the inside, are the 'Palestinians' planning to join the 'Human Rights Council'? What could go wrong?

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At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only the autonomic calculations and vestigial instincts and decencies of his political lizard brain prevent Obama from following his ideological predelictions and ordering Rice to join a Palestinian UNSC UDI initiative and directly accepting Arab and Palestinian meta-narratives on eternal, holy Palestine. There is no serious leading from behind, sideways, or anywheres else to disturb the inbuilt institutional anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish antipathies of the UN. They rouse themselves when absolutely necessary on an ad hoc basis to pull back from another Durban-style fiasco but the learning curve is steep, inconstant, and ephemeral.


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