star-UNESCOUNESCO Action Item

It should be a joke but it isn’t. The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee will be held at the Istanbul Congress Center, Turkey from 11-20 July 2016. In the next ten days UNESCO will vote on a resolution that effectively erases all Jewish connection to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem without Jews makes the Christian claim that Jesus chased the money lenders from the Temple a bit dicey. I suggest that is the angle Israel should take to persuade countries that are either Christian or largely Christian to vote NO or at least try to influence the vote.

Jesus expels the money lenders 11th century.

The money changer incident in Mathew 21-12 has been a favourite of artists. This version, artist unknown, is from the 11th century. It is part of the Arundel collection in the British Museum.

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves”, Matthew 21:12

The 21 members on the UNESCO world heritage committee are: Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Guide published by Arab authorities in the 1920s.

Guide published by Arab authorities in the 1920s accepts the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
Click for higher resolution.

Two things have always upset the Arabs. The first is the universal acceptance of the Jewish connection to Israel predating the Arabs by thousands of years. This accounts for the Palestinians are indigenous myth and the current attempt to write Jews out of history.

Is this the first time history has been determined by a vote?

Five Minutes for Israel has no claim to this image. Weare sure Elder of Ziyyon will have no objection to it being shared widely.

Five Minutes for Israel has no claim to this image.
We are sure Elder of Ziyon will have no objection to it being shared widely.
Click for higher resolution.

The claim that Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam has never been more than dubious. However there is no dispute that Jerusalem (or most specifically the Temple Mount) is the holiest place in Judaism. We wonder that should the resolutions be passed will UNESCO rewrite its superficial description of Jerusalem? Even now it reduces the Wailing Wall, a label no Jew uses, to a boundary fence, which it isn’t, apparently of no interest to any religion.

As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham’s sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ’s tomb.

Daniel Pipes is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the history of Muslim claims.

What about Muslims? Where does Jerusalem fit in Islam and Muslim history? It is not the place to which they pray, is not once mentioned by name in prayers, and it is connected to no mundane events in Muhammad’s life. The city never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state, and it never became a cultural or scholarly center. Little of political import by Muslims was initiated there.

Unlike Mecca and Medina there are no pilgrimage requirements for Jerusalem. Indeed no Muslim head of state thought it important enough to visit during the eighteen year Jordanian occupation. Even now when Israel has relations with several Muslim countries visiting Jerusalem is rare.

Action item

Please share widely. We may not be able to stop the resolutions but at least they won’t pass silently.

Extra credit

The second is the almost total solidarity by Jews with Israel.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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