PA President Mahmoud Abbas and French President Francois Hollande, Paris September 19, 2014. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Mr. President of the Republic,
On April 16, France voted in favor of a UNESCO resolution, proposed by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Uman, Qatar and Sudan, denying any historical link between the Jewish people and its two holiest sites in Jerusalem: the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. This vote generated deep outrage among all the friends of Israel, in France and around the world, and shocked every citizen attached to historical truth. This decision is a moral failure and a political mistake that will undermine France’s credibility.
Naturally, I consider Jerusalem, which has been the capital city of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, as the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel.
This view is, alas, not the official position of France, which defends the concept of a shared capital between two states. Still, to me, it sounds incredible that France would associate itself with a process of history falsification exclusively aimed at depriving the Jewish people of its historical and religious heritage.
This UNESCO resolution is a complete intellectual sham, which refers to the Temple Mount as an exclusively Muslim site and takes the absurdity so far as to rename the Western Wall with an Arab name: “Al-Buraq.” We must remember that this is not the first try by UNESCO to Islamize the historical legacy of Israel. In 2010, the organization had already decided to declare as part of Islam’s cultural heritage the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.
Let us face the truth: by this vote, France supported a grotesque attempt to Islamize Jerusalem and make it “Judenrein.” No doubt that this Islamist propaganda will justify more blind violence against civilians and will strengthen radical Islam, so inclined to erase any trace of pre-Islamic history, be it Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or pagan. This tendency has been very clear over the past few years with Islamic State (ISIS) destroying systematically treasures of humanity’s cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria (Palmyra, Nimrud).
The unique historical link between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is beyond debate. Is it really necessary to recall that, even in the grimmest times, and, alas, there have been many such in Jewish history, from the Crusaders’ massacres to the crimes of the Inquisition, from the Cossacks’ pogroms to the Holocaust, Jerusalem has always kept its undisputed centrality in Jewish hearts and prayers? In retrospect, this resolution is nothing more than a new round in the clear exploitation of the United Nations, an organization created in the aftermath of World War II, to delegitimize Israel and turn the organization into an anti-Zionist and even and anti-Semitic forum. Few remember that 40 years ago, FSU and Arab countries got adopted the 3379 UN General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism. And every year, we can see that 20 UN resolutions condemning Israel are adopted on average, not to mention the so-called Human Rights Committee, which has condemned Israel more than all other countries together. How could France, the birthplace of human rights, associate itself with such a humiliating farce? In the past, France behaved differently.
France voted “yes” on the 1947 UN partition plan, it provided precious support to the Jewish state in its first years of existence and rejected the infamous 3379 UN resolution in 1975. That is why France should really be ashamed of the April 16 vote. The French know, better than others, the importance of history in the building of a nation, which is why it simply cannot give its support to a process designed to uproot the Jewish people and call into question more than 3,000 years of Jewish history in Jerusalem.
And let me underline that France has been quite lonely in this shameful decision. Most European and Western countries, for instance Germany, the US, the UK and the Netherlands, rejected the text, while Italy and Greece abstained.
Mr. President of the Republic, I know you are a real and loyal friend of Israel and of the Jewish people and a man of principle, committed to historical truth. Hence, I cannot believe that you personally gave your approval to this infamous vote and respectfully ask you to take all necessary steps for France to distance itself from this disgraceful resolution. The honor and credibility of France are at stake.
The author is a member of the French parliament and represents French citizens abroad.