Rep. Ted Lieu (D – Calif.), an Air Force veteran and a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, harshly criticized the vote by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural organization, to approve a resolution that did not acknowledge Jewish and Christian connections to Jewish holy places in Jerusalem.
Lieu released a statement on Sunday accusing the organization of living in an “alternate universe…where you will see unicorns and flying dragons,” but no Jews or Christians.
Many people have told me that they have heard the following greeting upon entering the alternate reality known as UNESCO: Welcome to UNESCO, where we live in the land of make believe. The “S” in our name actually stands for science fiction. We at UNESCO don’t care about historical facts and some of our members are rabidly anti-Semitic and anti-Christian. That’s why we at UNESCO like to pass bigoted resolutions, such as this silly one that revises history and denies the known Jewish and Christian connections to the Temple Mount. Please visit our alternate universe often, where you will see unicorns and flying dragons. But in the UNESCO alt-reality, you won’t encounter any Jews or Christians because they don’t exist.
The vote was also criticized by outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, and nearly 40 other members of Congress. The U.S. was one of only six countries to vote against the resolution, along with Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and the UK.
In contrast, the vote was praised by members of the Palestinian terror group Hamas. “We commend the vote at the UNESCO that denied any historic claims between Jews and the al-Aqsa Mosque and its Western Wall,” spokesman Izzat al-Resheq said in a statement to Al-Jazeera. Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, also weighed in:
Fatah praises UNESCO decision as 'historic and strategic victory' for the Palestinians, says Jews have no historical ties to Jerusalem.
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) October 13, 2016
The official Palestinian position—as expressed in the Palestinian National Charter posted on the website of the Palestinian Authority’s United Nations delegation—is that “the claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood.” At the Camp David summit in 2000, then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat unsettled President Bill Clinton by denying that there had ever been a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, has repeatedly and explicitly lashed out against suggestions that Jews have links to Jerusalem, which is mentioned by name over 600 times in the Jewish bible.
David Hazony, editor of The Tower, wrote in 2007 that “Palestinian leaders, writers, and scholars have embarked on a campaign of intellectual erasure…aimed at undermining the Jewish claim to any part of the land.”
In an op-ed published in The Tower earlier this week, Petra Marquardt-Bigman accused UNESCO of “fanning the flames of religious passions that could set all of the Middle East ablaze,” by erasing “the Jewish—and therefore also the Christian—connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.”
Last September, Lieu wrote a comprehensive 23-page analysis explaining why he could not support the nuclear deal with Iran.
[Photo: Neon Tommy / Flickr ]