Keep Jerusalem's Response to the UNESCO Resolution

Dear Friends,

On the eve of Sukkot, the Jewish festival which the Bible records will be celebrated, not only by the Jewish people, but universally in Jerusalem with joy and peace, we are confronted by a cynical effort by some nations of the world to deny basic truths relating to the Jewish people's eternal capital. Additionally they are trying to fabricate other 'truths' in a feeble effort to delete Judaism's age old connection to Jerusalem and replace it with a regime of hate, terror and tyranny. 

We ask you to read this response and forward it to your friends and colleagues so that perhaps this little bit of light can dispel much darkness being spread at and by the UN.

Keep Jerusalem- Im Eshkachech's response to the UNESCO Resolution:

Opening statement: The UNESCO resolution is factually flawed and includes gross omissions which exacerbate the severity of the lies, inaccuracies and blatant anti-antisemitism that this document reflects. Furthermore it goes against and "mocks the lofty and sincere aims and hopes set out in the 1945 Constitution of UNESCO to combat ignorance, prejudice, suspicion, inequality and mistrust between peoples, and to advance dignity, equality, mutual respect and intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind". (Amb Alan Baker)

1.  Historical Facts: Jerusalem has served as capital of Jewish states as early as 2,880 years ago – and was never the capital of any other nation. The Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple is documented in the Bible, Mishnah, Talmud and myriad scholarly and history books over millennia.  Jewish history and connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in particular PREDATES the arrival of Islam to Jerusalem by THOUSANDS OF YEARS. Jerusalem is mentioned 641 times in the Bible – and not once in the Quran. 

2. Sanctity: The Temple Mount is not just a mount but, rather, the “home of God.” A permanent temple to the God of Israel stood there, the extension of the “Tabernacle” – the place where the shekhinah dwelled during the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert. According to the Book of Chronicles, it was King David who broke the ground for the building of the Temple. The Bible, in the Book of Samuel (2) tells how David bought this piece of land from Aravnah the Jebusite for 50 shekels. King Solomon, David’s son, built the Temple on the plot of land that was purchased from Aravnah’s threshing floor – that is, on Mount Moriah.  It was here that God tested Abraham, and the Binding of Isaac transpired. The Mishnah in Tractate Middoth details the measurements of the Temple Mount. Tractate Keilim sets forth ten ascending degrees of holiness in the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, and at the Temple itself. For generations Jews longed for Jerusalem and the Temple, expressing their yearning in piyyutim (liturgical poems) and prayers. The Temple was the center of the Jewish people’s spiritual life. 

The destruction of the two Temples – the first by Nebuchadnezzer (586 BCE) and the second by the Romans (70 CE) – altered the reality in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, (although there has been a continuous Jewish presence there ever since)  but also fostered generations of dreamers and poets who prayed and yearned for Jerusalem and the Temple. (Nadav Shragai)

3. Modern History: Israel liberated Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in June 1967 from illegal Jordanian occupation of 19 years. Jordan's annexation of east Jerusalem in 1950 was only recognized by one country in the world - Pakistan. 

4. Empirical Evidence: A myriad of archaeological artifacts have been discovered in and around the Temple Mount,  giving indisputable evidence to the connection of the Jewish people to this site dating back thousands of years. UNESCO's denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple is to deny 3,000 years of Middle eastern history.

5. Moslem Concurrence: Even the famous virulently anti-Semitic mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini published in 1924, through the Supreme Moslem Council of which he was the head, a guide which includes the statement: “Its [the Temple Mount’s] identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” 

In previous centuries Moslem clerics had noted this fact in their writings. Only in our time have the Moslems distorted the history of the site and denied the Jewish connection with it. (Courtesy of Dr. Gabi Barkai)

6. Legal Rights: Jewish legal rights to Jerusalem were unanimously and internationally recognized in 1922 by the League of Nations, based on the San Remo Conference of two years earlier. No similar rights were accorded to Arabs. 

Furthermore,  Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, explains:

"State [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense. ... Where the prior holder [Jordan] of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense, [Israel] has,against that prior holder, better title.
As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt."

7 Occupation: Israel cannot be an occupier of an area that it has sovereign, historic, legal and moral rights to.

8.  Christianity: By denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple , the UNESCO resolution in effect is denying ALL OF CHRISTIANITY which  is intrinsically based and flows from the Old Testament and mentions the Jewish Temple in the New Testament in many places.

 (could the anti-semitism of the Christian countries who either supported or abstained from this resolution be so great that they are willing to deligitimize or even disqualify their own religion for the sake of attacking Judaism and Israel?)

9Human rights: Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East and it's respect for and upholding of civil and religious rights, irrespective of race, religion, color or preference is well documented and recognized throughout the civilized world. On the other hand, the commitment to and record of human rights and freedom by the Palestinian Authority and the other sponsors of this resolution are dismal and non existent. To accuse Israel of denying such rights is libelous, inciteful and encourages terror.

 The accusations in the Resolution are spurious at best and incitement to terror and violence at worst.

10The age-old Jewish sites – the “Cave of Machpela” in Hebron, and “the Cave of Rachel” close to Bethlehem – are universally acknowledged to be the burial sites of the forefathers of the Jewish People Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Rachel respectively. This is clearly shown in the book of Genesis in the Bible and many other places in holy and historic books. Yet they are cynically denominated by this curious UNESCO decision as “The two Palestinian sites of Al-Haram Al Ibrahimi Tomb of the Patriarchs in Al-Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem”.

The cynicism is further compounded by a curious condemnation of Israel’s refusal “to remove the two Palestinian sites from Israel’s national heritage list”! Out of the 58 states members of the UNESCO Executive Board, France, Spain, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia – all ostensibly “friends” of Israel – supported this obnoxious and shameful decision, while only six states voted against – Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. (Amb Alan Baker)

 Despite this deep stain on truth and humanity, I would like to wish you and your family a Chag sameach,

Chaim

Chaim Silberstein                              חיים סילברשטיין
Founder and President                           מייסד ונשיא
Keep Jerusalem - Im Eshkachech         "אם אשכחך"
Binyan Kesher Liyerushalayim       בניין קשר לירושלים      
www.keepjerusalem.org
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