This weekend, I watched the film “Denial,” which depicts the successful efforts by Deborah Lipstadt to challenge Holocaust denier David Irving’s revisionist history in a British court.
However, what recourse do we have when our people’s historic, religious and cultural ties to a site are being systematically erased through an institution of international jurisdiction, such as the United Nations? Is there a higher court to which we can even appeal?
On Wednesday, UNESCO, the U.N.’s Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, passed yet another resolution attempting to erase the Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem. This time, it was executed through the 21-member World Heritage Committee. Wednesday’s resolution puts the icing on the cake baked the previous week by UNESCO’s Executive Board, denying Jewish and Christian claims to the Temple Mount.
This undeniably contradicts the mission of the World Heritage Committee, listed on its website as “to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.”
Once again, this resolution even refuses to refer to the Temple Mount by its Hebrew and English names, but only in its Arabic names, Haram al-Sharif or Al-Aqsa mosque.
We know that the source of these resolutions is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which comprises 56 member nations to the U.N. plus the Palestinian Authority. It claims to represent more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, and it makes up the largest single voting bloc in the United Nations.
The OIC was founded in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Its mission is supposedly to guarantee religious freedom, but it has a very strange definition of religious freedom: It is freedom of religion for Islam, and only for Islam. The OIC’s main goal is to internationalize Shariah Law and promote international punishment for those who do not accept it by labeling them as “Islamophobes.”
Included among this definition is an Islamic-centric concept of Jerusalem.
But the OIC’s claim to the city is inherently flawed.
Jerusalem is mentioned no less than 669 times in the Torah. According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, it is not mentioned even once in the Quran, but a reference is made to it as belonging to the Jews: In verse 17:1, “Al-Aqsa,” which means “The Farthest,” is mentioned. From what point of reference is it farthest? The answer is Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam. As most people know, Muslims face Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia when they pray, while Jews face Jerusalem.
Further, the Quran refers to Al-Asqa and the Dome of the Rock in the very same verse that mentions the First and Second Temples. Verse 17:7, which deals with Israel’s transgressions, says, “We permitted your enemies to disfigure your faces and to enter your Temple, as they had entered it before.”
Muslim tradition is particularly strong regarding the existence of the First Temple, built by King Solomon, whom it regards as a paragon of wisdom.
The irony is, as American-Israeli scholar Martin Kramer has pointed out, that the Muslim denial of the existence of the Temple undermines the very theological underpinnings on which the Muslim claim to the city is based.
Since the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, scores of archaeological artifacts have been found to support the Jewish claim to the land. Coins have been found from the Hasmonean period, as well as ritual baths, and the Temple Mount Sifting Project found what archaeologists say is “undeniable evidence” of mosaic tiles that make a Star of David, which they believe was part of the floor of the Second Temple.
The Temple Mount Sifting Project came about because the Palestinian Authority, which controls the high ground of what they refer to as “Haram al-Sharif” — the Temple Mount — has been involved in construction on the site, taking objects that should be handled with the delicacy of a surgeon and placing them on the trash dump of history. According to Israeli archeologist Gabriel Barkay, 400 truckloads of artifact-laden soil were removed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf and deposited in the Kidron Valley, on the eastern side of the Old City.
Scores of Israelis are sifting through the soil and salvaging ancient keys to our people’s precious legacy.
The very day this most deceitful of resolutions was being voted upon, biblical scholar Shmuel Achituv revealed an extraordinary document rescued by the Israel Antiquities Authority: an ancient scroll, dating from the time of the First Temple in the seventh century BCE, which mentions a gift of wine to be delivered to a king in Jerusalem. This is the earliest record mentioning Jerusalem in Hebrew script.
The bigger question rests on how people have allowed an ideological agenda to eclipse their scientific objectivity. Earlier this month, Joint Arab List MK Ahmed Tibi, who is a gynecologist and surely must believe in the objective world of science, said, “I believe in the Palestinian narrative about Jerusalem,” despite what scientific evidence produces.
The United Nations has degenerated into a ludicrous forum from which there is no higher court of appeals, and where farcical resolutions that have no bearing on science, reality or the truth are passed simply because of the Muslim bloc’s political dominance.
We all know of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ “Big Lie Theory,” whereby if one tells a lie one should “make it big, make it simple and keep repeating it.” This was one of the first steps in preparing the groundwork among the German people to assist in the annihilation of Jews. The 21st century version of “the big lie” is an attempt to annihilate the Jewish people’s claim to the land of Israel, and at that the very core rests our link to Jerusalem.
If there is one thing we Jews have, however, it is our memory, and it is the ancient memory of our holy Temple in Jerusalem that has sustained us throughout the darkest days of our exile. No institutional vote can ever rob us of that.
Originally published at Israel Hayom: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=17527
The Lie of October
Press Release: EMET is Disturbed by the Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Vote by UNESCO Diminishing any Jewish and Christian Connection to Jerusalem
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