Orthodox Union Condemns UNESCO, Commends U.S.

Posted on November 4, 2010 In Press Releases

Orthodox Union Condemns UNESCO, Commends U.S.

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America condemned the recent decision of the international cultural body UNESCO to designate two historic Jewish sites in the Land of Israel as “Palestinian.”

In a 44-1 vote, with 12 abstentions, the UNESCO board declared the “Haram al-Ibrahim/the Cave of the Patriarchs and Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb” to be “an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories” and asserted “that any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law.” In addition, Rachel’s Tomb was named as a mosque. Both sites are among the most sacred in the Jewish tradition. UNESCO demanded that Israel remove the two sites from its list of national heritage sites after protests from Arab and Muslim countries, including Turkey. Only the United States opposed the resolution.

At the same time, the Orthodox Union commended the U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion for his strong statement in opposition to UNESCO’s declaration.

OU director of public policy Nathan Diament issued the following statement:

“This is a shameful decision which places UNESCO in the camp of those who would deny the historic ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. The very time when in synagogues around the globe, Jews read the chapters of Genesis which detail the Jewish People’s historic connection to these holy sites the delegates to UNESCO engage in revisionism. But such dishonesty will not prevail. These sites have always been Jewish, are Jewish and will forever be Jewish.”

In a letter to the Ambassador Killion, Nathan Diament wrote:
“We deeply appreciate that the United States has stood up for justice and truth in the halls of the United Nations.”