Congressman Nadler Statement Following UNESCO’s Passage of Anti-Semitic Resolution Denying Judaism’s Link to Temple Mount Site in Jerusalem

Oct 13, 2016 Issues: Foreign Affairs/Israel

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement condemning the passage of an overtly anti-Semitic resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which attempts to erase Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“I am outraged by the actions of the UNESCO Executive Board today in passing a resolution that is blatantly anti-Semitic and obviously revisionist as it seeks to eliminate all Jewish ties to the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.  “By declaring the site as solely sacred for Muslims, and utterly ignoring the indisputable Jewish and Christian ties, this resolution is fundamentally ahistorical. It willfully disregards historical facts in the pursuit of an anti-Semitic agenda from a body that routinely demonstrates an unfair bias against Israel. Without consideration for the Temple Mount’s significance in Judaism, UNESCO has engaged in an outrageous assault on the history of the Jewish people and the history of Jerusalem, and for that matter, the origins of Christianity. I applaud the United States for leading the opposition to this resolution, and for demonstrating—yet again—the importance of America’s leadership on the international stage in standing against such attacks.”

Prior to today’s 24-6 vote by the Executive Board, with 26 abstentions, Congressman Nadler joined a bipartisan letter to UNESCO Member States urging opposition to the resolution. A copy of the letter, which was signed by Members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, can be found below:

October 7, 2016

As the 200th session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) prepares to meet in the coming days in Paris, France, we write to urge your mission to oppose Item 25 of the provisional agenda under “Occupied Palestine” that diminishes the historic and verified Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City of Jerusalem.

As acknowledged by the draft text of Item 25, the Old City of Jerusalem is important to the three monotheistic religions.  Numerous archaeological excavations have uncovered a myriad of antiquities that scientifically prove the historical connection of all three religions to Jerusalem, such as the discovery of the Pool of Siloam or the restoration of floor tiles of the Second Temple in the City of David. We celebrate the heritage and cultural ties of these religions to Jerusalem and the importance of Jerusalem to millions of people around the world.

Yet, this resolution seems to prioritize the Muslim heritage of the Old City, while diminishing the ties of either of the other religions. For example, the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, along with the Western Wall, where Jews from all over the world have come to pray, are described exclusively as Muslim holy sites and referred to only by their Muslim names. When the Western Wall is referenced, it is only with quotation marks, implying that the title is unofficial and not based on historic fact. 

UNESCO’s mission is to build intercultural understanding through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. This unnecessarily divisive and selective resolution undermines the very purpose and integrity of UNESCO by seeking to rewrite Jerusalem’s history, rejects Jerusalem’s multi-cultural heritage, and undercuts Jerusalem’s extraordinary diversity. Forged in the aftermath of World War II, UNESCO strives to establish peace on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. Attempting to erase the Jewish and Christian connection to this sacred city will further damage the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It is incumbent upon all Member States of the Executive Board to respect and protect the religious, cultural, and historical significance of Jerusalem as they would all other World Heritage sites and to uphold the values and ideals enshrined in UNESCO’s Constitution.

We therefore respectfully urge your mission to UNESCO to oppose Item 25 of the provisional agenda for the Executive Board’s 200th session.