UNESCO Jerusalem resolution 'highly politicized,' White House says

"The recurring highly politicized use of the UNESCO Executive Board meetings only further underscores the urgent need for the United States to restore its leadership at UNESCO."

October 13, 2016 19:10
1 minute read.
Obama at the Western Wall

Obama at the Western Wall. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)


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WASHINGTON - A resolution passed by UNESCO ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount is "one-sided," "unhelpful" and "highly politicized," a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, advocating for renewed US leadership on its executive board.

The United States cast a vote against the resolution, which passed by a vote of 24-6. Other nations that opposed the language were Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia.

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"The recurring highly politicized use of the UNESCO Executive Board meetings only further underscores the urgent need for the United States to restore its leadership at UNESCO, which has been considerably undercut since the United States ceased funding UNESCO in 2011," the senior official said. "We will continue to explore with Congress options for resuming payment of our dues, which will allow the United States to play a full role in this organization going forward and advance UNESCO’s work on issues like Holocaust education and countering terrorist narratives."

The resolution passed on Thursday denies Jewish ties to two of the religion's holiest sights: The Temple Mount, on which Haram al-Sharif resides, and the Western Wall.

"One-sided, unhelpful resolutions have been a recurring challenge at UNESCO in recent years, and the United States has strongly opposed these resolutions at the UNESCO Executive Board," the official continued. "We will not hesitate to use our vote at the current Board meeting to oppose these resolutions."

American Jewish groups lobbied European nations to reject the resolution, and a bipartisan group of US congressmen called on the US government to do what it could to stop its passage.

"This resolution flies in the face of, among other things, science as recent archeological excavations, notably in the City of David, have revealed incontrovertible, physical evidence that reaffirms Jewish and Christian ties to the holy city of Jerusalem," wrote Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a letter, co-written by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida).

The administration official says that the White House is aware of their letter and planned to respond.

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