Letter Urging UNESCO Member Nations to Reject Dangerous Degradation of Jewish Connection to Jerusalem

October 05, 2016

Dear Madam/Mr. Ambassador:

We write to you as a member of the UNESCO Executive Board regarding a potential resolution being presented at the 200th session in Paris, October 4-18, which would diminish, if not deny, the Jewish religious connection to Jerusalem.

Along with its usual highly politicized and unwarranted criticism of Israel and list of alleged transgressions, this resolution is nearly identical to a resolution passed by the 199th Executive Board session in April in calling the Temple Mount/Holy Sanctuary solely by its Muslim name, and referring to the Western Wall Plaza in quotation marks, after using its Muslim name. 

The newest iteration of this deeply disturbing resolution, does note the fact that Jerusalem is a city holy to three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  However, throughout the text, the three-thousand plus-year Jewish connection to its holiest sites is effectively erased.   This is not only unethical, it contradicts the role of UNESCO as a protector of cultural heritage.  

It is only a few days since Israeli statesman Shimon Peres was laid to rest.  Mr. Peres was dedicated to constructive interactions between Israelis and Palestinians, promoted respect for the other, and worked tirelessly for a future of peace for all in the region.  Resolutions such as these poison the atmosphere and indeed make any steps towards trust or reconciliation all the more difficult. 

We urge you to reject this highly political and dangerous degradation of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.


Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League