The UN is at it again. On November 26, 2021, the General Assembly adopted a resolution referring to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Temple of Solomon once stood, only by its Arabic name, the Haram al-Sharif. From the standpoint of the UN, Christian and Jewish connections to the area were non-existent.
For years now, the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been systematically pushing false narratives about Jerusalem that deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to their holy city. In May 2016, UNESCO decided that the Western Wall Plaza should be designated with quotation marks after adopting the term Al-Buraq Plaza for the very same area with no qualification.
UNESCO reaffirmed this language in subsequent years. These distortions, which were blatant violations of its own statute, have penetrated the discourse about Jerusalem in the international media, in universities, and in world parliaments. What was axiomatic 200 years ago is now called into question.
So many people speak about Jerusalem but so few really understand it.
I’ve been a diplomat for over three decades, serving on the front lines of Israel’s struggle over the Holy City. 30 years, and I’m still surprised by the scale of disinformation and by the depth of ignorance regarding the Holy City. The ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence of its historical past. The ignorance regarding historical facts, even recent history.
It’s been 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem and while across the Middle East holy sites are destroyed, in Jerusalem they’re protected. And yet Israel’s legitimacy is questioned time and time again.
This would not be the first time. After the destruction of the Temple in the year 70, close to 2,000 years ago, the Romans tried to eradicate the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, renaming the Holy City Aelia Capitolina. They tried to crush the spirit of the survivors. But this historical connection was engraved in their memories as well as in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and even in the Quran.
Finally, the Jewish people did not stay away from their historical capital. They streamed back when they could with the defeat of the Byzantines, the Crusaders, and whomever forcibly prevented them from praying at their holy sites. By 1864, the British documented that the Jewish people had re-established an undeniable majority in Jerusalem that continues to this day. With Israel’s rebirth in 1948, the UN did not lift a finger as the Jews of Jerusalem were evicted and their synagogues were decimated into rubble. Today, the UN is twisting the historical record rather than protecting the legacy, rights, and heritage of all faiths in the Holy City.