News Releases 2017

Blog by Shimon Samuels posted on The Times of Israel <http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/unesco-the-road-to-the-abyss>
3 May 2017.

On Israel’s 69th Independence Day, the 58 member-states of the UNESCO Executive Board voted yet another pro-Palestinian resolution denying Israeli/Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

The resolution passed as expected with 22 votes ‘yes’ to 10 votes ‘no’ ( Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Paraguay, St.Kitts Nevis, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States) marking the disunity of the European Union and African,Caribbean and Latin American possibilities for breakthrough.

Following the vote,Germany exulted at recognition in the text of Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem as holy for the three monotheistic religions. Argentina noted the political content that has its place elsewhere. Brazil concurred. The United States condemned deepening politicization that erodes UNESCO’s prestige. Sweden recognized efforts of Palestinian and Jordanian amendments adding that, as European unity was impossible we voted yes. The Israeli Ambassador, wrapped in an Israeli flag, exclaimed ‘here we are and here we Stay’. Jordan stressed that on the Holy sites of Jerusalem both Muslim and Christian sites are of highest priority. The Palestinians closed with this vote will not change our policy. We will continue to fight for Palestine and Jerusalem.

More worrying was the little-noticed vote for the follow up “cultural” resolution 31 on “Israeli military confrontations in the Gaza Strip…prevention of Palestinian school children and students from exercising fully their right to education…Israeli censorship of the Palestinian curricula of schools and universities in East Jerusalem…calling on UNESCO to preserve the human, social and cultural fabric of the occupied Syrian Golan…”

This resolution passed 18 ‘yes’ to 1 ‘no’ (the United States) with 39 abstentions

The next step in this exponential I.D. theft of the Jewish and Christian narratives will take place at the July UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland where its 21 member-states will vote yet again on Jerusalem and possibly – on the Palestinian wish-list – Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The most dramatic events, however, will happen in November at the General Conference of all member-states. There the new Director-General will be elected – a hot favourite being the Minister of Culture of Qatar Likewise, the new Chairpersons of the General Conference and of the Executive Board will be appointed.The hot tickets – wait for it!

-For General Conference: Saudi Arabia

-For Executive Board: Iran (this is no nightmare… it is for real!)

At that moment, UNESCO will stand at the edge of the abyss. Will it take a giant step forward?

"Most worrying is that such hatred is the backdrop to the resolution denying Jewish heritage in all Jerusalem, East and West, to be voted at the end of the session."

Paris, 25 April 2017

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is attending the 201st session of the UNESCO Executive Board by its Permanent Observer, Dr. Shimon Samuels.

Samuels noted that "the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization was founded in the aftermath of World War II, to expel the forces of hate and prejudice from the discourse of diplomacy."

This week, the 201st Executive Board of 58 member-states will interview nine candidates for the post of Director-General to succeed Ms. Irina Bokova in November.

"Tehran patronage of terror, antisemitism and homophobia demands it be on the agenda of the next UN Human Rights Council session in June."

Paris, 24 April 2017

In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that "recent exposure of the barbaric treatment of Chechen homosexuals has been brought to the attention of the Russian administration and is of worldwide indignation," adding, "apparently, however, the reported torture and execution of gays by the Iranian regime has slipped under the Human Rights Council's radar screen."

The letter recalled that, "Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov's comment that "there are no homosexuals in Chechnya" is a repeat of former Iranian President Ahmadinejad that "there are no homosexuals in Iran"... "Our Centre suggests that this language was more a statement of policy than demography".

“… her (Israel’s) existence constitutes a clear violation of all international conventions and norms based on fundamental human rights.”

United States and like-minded member-states should call for full investigation into ESCWA and its validity and financing as an agency for economic and social development”.

Paris, 20 April 2017

ESCWA, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, is one of the five regional Commissions established by the U.N. to deal with economic and social issues, the others being: EC Europe, ESC for Asia and the Pacific, EC Africa and EC Latin America.

“Four indeed deal with economic and social development, best practices and regional integration. ESCWA, based in Beirut and comprising 18 Arab countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and, of course, ‘Palestine’) apparently now dabbles in antisemitic hate,” argued the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels.

Mr./Madam Candidate, do you endorse the position of current Director-General Irina Bokova that, “to deny conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the City of Jerusalem and runs counter to the reasons that justify its inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List.”

Paris and Jerusalem, 21 April 2017

Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, and Dr. Jürgen Bühler, President of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, together submitted four questions on Jewish and Christian Heritage, Antisemitism, Jerusalem, and the peril to Christians in the Middle East to the nine candidates for the post of UNESCO Director-General. The candidates from Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar and Vietnam are to be interviewed by the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris on 26-27 April.

Drs. Samuels and Bühler stated, “In view of your forthcoming interview, our respective constituencies would appreciate your responses to the following questions,” adding