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International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

UNESCO Executive Board Resolution - Press Statement by the Assembly of Liberal Judaism (“Assemblée du Judaisme Liberal”), Paris, 11 May 2016

On 16 April last, the UNESCO Executive Board adopted a Resolution that is so unilateral as to deny any link between the Jews and Jerusalem, in particular the Wailing Wall, as well as between Christians and Jerusalem.

By failing to recognise the historic link between Judaism and Jerusalem and its spiritual importance for the Jewish People, this Resolution constitutes a deliberate negation of a heritage that affects the Jews in particular and even  humanity as a whole since the Holy City constitutes a common heritage.  The Resolution adopted ignores in particular the fact that the State of Israel renovated the “Western Wall Plaza” for the sole purpose of facilitating access to the Wailing Wall for Jews from all parts of the world to allow them to pray in dignity and security.

More troubling still is that the Resolution weakens any chance of sincere and peaceful dialogue in the Middle East:  no durable or negotiated peace can be built on the basis of contempt for history.  UNESCO, expected to stand for moral and intellectual integrity with respect to humanity’s common heritage, has failed its duty of balance.

Adding to this failure is the incomprehensible position of our country, France, which unlike most of the Western powers sanctioned the text by affixing its signature.

France would do itself an honour by clarifying our country’s position, by asking UNESCO to recognise the historic truth, to abandon ambiguity and to remove any misunderstanding.

In the name of its values of spirituality and openness to others, respecting all cultures and all religions, the Assembly of Liberal Judaism (AJL) requests the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the French Republic to express a clear public position on this subject as soon as possible.  A position that, showing respect for the historical truth, recognises a shared heritage but also the special connection of the Jewish People with Jerusalem and with the Wailing Wall, part of the Temple Mount.

 

 Translation by Robert Ley, 12.5.16

 

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