Crakow, Poland, 4 July 2017
Today, once again, 21 states comprising the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC),had the audacity to judge the affinity of the Jewish people to their over 3,000 year capital.
- Ten voted in favour; Azerbaijan, Cuba, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
- Eight abstained; Angola, Croatia, Finland, Peru, the host Poland, Portugal, Korea,Tanzania.
- Three against; Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Philippines.
On 17 June 2017 the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations - and Observer of the only Jewish NGO accredited to the WHC - Dr. Shimon Samuels, wrote to Prof.Jacek Purchla, the Polish Chairperson of the 41st UNESCO World Heritage Committee, being held in Crakow 2-12 July.
Samuels called on Purchla, "not to permit on Polish soil, where a third of the Jewish people perished, an outrageous theft of Judaism's narrative and heritage at a Crakow UN conference in the very shadow of Auschwitz-Birkenau."
Samuels lamented that "since the Palestinian entry into UNESCO in November 2011, the WHC has been hijacked and is now a battlefield…
- Today, the Palestinians pushed the Jerusalem resolution of Jordan, referring to the "Old City and its Walls", but submitted by Kuwait, Tunisia and Lebanon and based upon a resolution of the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris last May.
- Article 5 states: "Reminding that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem...... are null and void"
- The replacement of "Old City by "Holy City" violates the secular mandate of UNESCO but would seem to apply to all of Jerusalem beyond the "Old City" walls,as for many every stone anywhere in Jerusalem is intrinsically "Holy".
- Though Article 4 "reaffirms the importance of ...Jerusalem.... for the three monotheistic religions", the response of the Jordanian Ambassador following the vote, was hardly encouraging: "the priority of King Abdullah is to ensure the Muslim and Christian sites", clearly synagogues and other Jewish shrines are irrelevant as the mother religion is obliterated".
Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen's response thanked the host country for arranging buses for Ambassadors to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau... but, as few would probably find the time, he requested a moment of silence for those who perished only 60 kilometers away. MOST STOOD
Thereupon, the Cuban delegate chided the Polish Chair and demanded "a moment of silence for the Palestinian victims of the "Occupation". ALL STOOD
"This orchestrated event is the advance charge for the demand in the next few days for the Palestinization of Hebron and the Cave of Machpelah or the Tomb of the Patriarchs".
"Jerusalem may be lost at the WHC circus in Poland, but it will remain as the beating heart of Jewish sovereignty, just as the Jewish narrative will be bound to its Patriarchs.…"
"UNESCO is sadly diminished as the Palestinian cause continues to build itself on fabrication and I.D. theft," concluded Samuels.