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30
Oct
2016

UNESCO’s Regrettable Self-Assisted Suicide


Palestinians demonstrate in front of the Dome of the Rock after clashes between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli forces on the Temple Mount on September 27, 2015. (AFP)

The Executive Board and World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have recently been manipulated into adopting resolutions tantamount to denying Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem and its holy sites, and thereby attempting to re-write and corrupt accepted and proven history.

These resolutions, adopted at the behest of the Palestinian leadership and Arab states and supported by other states members of the organization, were generated out of a blatant and deliberate lack of bona fides and in dire disregard of the purposes and functions of UNESCO.

They are inherently partisan and politically motivated, as part of a general aim to enhance the Islamic character of Jerusalem through denying and deleting Jerusalem’s prior Judaic and Christian origins.

In attempting to rewrite and corrupt history and truth and in permitting itself to be manipulated and politicized, UNESCO has acted beyond the powers [ultra-vires] of its own constitution and has permitted itself to be taken hostage by elements intent on achieving a political end through undermining the universal character of UNESCO as a professional, educational and cultural organization.

Contrary to UNESCO’s Own Principles

According to the founding constitution of UNESCO adopted in 1945 (as amended from time to time):

The purpose of the organization is to contribute to peace and security through promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.1

In its constitutional principles, the organization considers ignorance, suspicion, and mistrust to be the main causes of prejudice, inequality, and war.

The UNESCO constitution heralds the wide diffusion of culture and the education of humanity for justice, liberty and peace as indispensable to the dignity of man, constituting a “sacred duty which all the nations must fulfil in a spirit of mutual assistance and concern.”

“Intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and “unrestricted pursuit of objective truth” are declared to be the basic components of peace.

Similarly, the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage stresses the importance of conserving, safeguarding and protecting the world’s cultural and natural heritage.2

In permitting itself to be manipulated into undermining its own, solemn constitutional principles, and in being manipulated into an attempt to rewrite history and to propagate lies, UNESCO is both acting ultra vires its own constitution and is in violation of the principles guiding the functioning of the World Heritage Committee.

UNESCO can no longer be regarded as an objective, universal and professional specialized agency. Its special character as the educational and cultural organ of the UN has been gravely and irreparably polluted and prejudiced.

For this reason, the United States and Israel, as well as those serious and responsible states that did not support these resolutions, should disassociate from and leave UNESCO and withhold all membership dues.

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Notes

About Amb. Alan Baker

Amb. Alan Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center and the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.
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