Oct. 26, 2016
- With UNESCO Vote, Palestinians’ Bid for Attention Backfires – Cnaan Liphshiz
If the latest draft resolution at UNESCO on “Occupied Palestine” succeeded in reclaiming the world’s attention, then it was a Pyrrhic victory. The resolution’s erasure of Jewish ties to Jerusalem ignited a diplomatic dispute that is dividing UNESCO, embarrassing some of its member states and exposing the Palestinians to rebuke not only by Israel, but even by passionate supporters of their cause who are angered by what they perceive as an anti-Jewish bid to rewrite history.
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova of Bulgaria penned an unprecedented rebuke of the draft resolution passed by her own organization. “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.” Even Americans for Peace Now criticized the UNESCO resolution’s “exclusionary and inflammatory language.”
Daniel Schwammenthal of the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute called the rebuke of the Palestinian gambit an expression of growing resentment internationally of Palestinian attempts after 2011 – the year Palestine was accepted into UNESCO – to “abuse, hijack or disrupt the work of international forums that have nothing to do with their conflict with Israel.” Ultimately, “it wasn’t Israel that got a black eye at the UNESCO vote but the United Nations, whose reputation was once again stained; the countries that supported an outrageous lie; and primarily the Palestinians, who are using up international support to deepen the distrust of the only people who can give them a state, the Israelis.” (JTA)