UNESCO resolution: the ECAJ writes to the Foreign Minister

October 16, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has written to Australia’s Julie Bishop following the UNESCO resolution denying Jewish connection to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.President of the ECAJ Robert Goot and its executive director Peter Wertheim has sent the following letter to Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop

“We refer to media reports that a UNESCO committee on Thursday (October 13) passed a resolution concerning the Temple Mount and Western Wall, which pays lip service to the fact that the Old City of Jerusalem is holy to the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – but then refers to these specific sites as if they were sacred only to Islam.

The resolution includes a special section dealing with the Temple Mount. Whilst the Temple Mount is regarded by Muslims as the third-holiest site in Islam, it is the holiest site in Judaism, being the site of the Biblical First and Second Temples. As the site of the Second Temple, the site is also referred to in the Christian scriptures and is therefore of significance to Christians. Yet the UNESCO resolution refers to the site only by its Muslim names – Al-Aqsa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif. It mentions neither the Hebrew term for the site – Har HaBayit – nor its English equivalent, the Temple Mount.

The resolution similarly refers to the Western Wall, the last standing structure of the Second Temple, only by its Muslim name “al-Burak”, and pointedly omits its Hebrew name, Ha-Kotel, as well as its English name.

These are matters that unite the entire Jewish people, regardless of our diverse political beliefs or variations of religious observance. They lie at the core of our history and identity as a people. The location of the Biblical Temples on the Temple Mount is a fact that is attested to by an abundance of documentary and physical archaeological evidence, which no serious scholar disputes.

By erasing these facts from its deliberations, UNESCO has become a party to the falsification of history for crude and transparently political purposes, and has disrespected both Judaism and Christianity. It has thereby betrayed one of its central goals: to build intercultural understanding through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity.

It is therefore little wonder that when the vote was taken, more countries abstained or voted against the motion than voted in favour. Twenty-four countries voted in favour, while six voted against and 26 abstained, and two were missing from the vote. The U.S., Britain, Germany, Holland, Lithuania and Estonia voted against the resolution.

We understand that the Executive Board of UNESCO is set to consider, and will almost certainly approve, the resolution in the coming days. We note that Australia is not currently a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO and is thankfully untainted by this disgraceful resolution. Nevertheless we believe that it would be appropriate for Australia to register its views about the matter.

We therefore respectfully request that the Australian government give urgent consideration to issuing a public statement, through you, denouncing the resolution that was just passed in committee, and urging the Executive Board of UNESCO to reject it.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information about the matter.”


3 Responses to “UNESCO resolution: the ECAJ writes to the Foreign Minister”
  1. david singer says:

    Too little too late ECAJ.

    Australia needed to take a stand four and a half years ago after the State of Palestine had been illegally admitted to memebership of UNESCO.

    I then urged Bob Carr as Foreign Minister to head those nations who had voted against admitting Palestine to UNESCO to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice for the reasons I pointed out at the time in this article:

    Carr ignored the plea and the rest is history…

    Reversing the current resolution is going to take a lot more money time and effort than seeeking that advisory opinion

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    You mean you never saw this coming?
    First this-http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/157442
    Then this-http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/26/426400/Palestine-flag-UN-headquarters-Vatican-Pope-Francis-New-Y
    And now this.
    For those familar with the Canonical documments pertaining diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel 1948-1997 will recall their opening words; “If I forget you Jerusalem, may my right hand wither; may my tongue remain stuck to my plate if I do not keep you in my mind, if I do not count Jerusalem the greatest of my joy’s”.
    Psalm 137:5-6.
    For those who are not; http://bibliotecanonica.net/docsad/btcadg.pdf

  3. Sol Salbe says:

    Rather than referring to media reports, wouldn’t the ECAJ be better off referring Ms Bishop to the actual resolution? I’m sure that being a lawyer she would appreciate the actual resolution which she can find here:

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