Press Release: UNESCO resolution seeks to rewrite history

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Friday, October 23, 2015 - 12:56pm
NEW YORK -- In response to the resolution passed by the Executive Board of UNESCO, claiming the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb as Muslim holy sites, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“We are appalled by the passage of the UNESCO resolution claiming the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are strictly Muslim holy sites with no connection to the Jewish people. I fear this outrage -- historically false, morally disreputable and politically cynical -- will only incite more violence against innocent Israelis. We applaud the countries that voted against it and thank UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova for her opposition to the resolution and outspoken defense of Jewish holy sites.

It is a travesty that Muslim countries, backed by a majority of the UNESCO Executive Board, would distort and deny history. Politicizing sacred historical religious sites, especially amid a time of escalating violence against Israel citizens, is not what most people around the world have a right to expect.

Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs always have been acknowledged to be Jewish holy sites. It was not until the 1990’s that any opposition to that truth arose as an anti-Israel tactic. The Palestinian Authority gains nothing by attempting to alter history for political purposes. Indeed, it reveals the depths to which it will go to engage in denial of the history and culture of the Jewish people in their historic homeland.

It is deplorable that 26 countries could support a resolution rooted in hatred and so lacking in basic historic facts. The abstention of 25 nations, including Western democracies and supposed supporters of Israel that profess to hold dear truth and tolerance, only adds to the instability endangering Israelis. This resolution emboldens Palestinians committing acts of terror against Israelis.

We call upon global leaders to stand up, do the right thing morally and intellectually, and condemn in the strongest possible terms this blasphemous denial of history that seeks to turn the truth on its head.”