World War II taught the international community that more needed to be done to protect at-risk cultures, especially since the war targeted the Jewish population and attempted to dissolve the Jewish identity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), established in 1945 in response to World War II, seeks to preserve history and culture around the world.
The UNESCO constitution states: “The purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations.” This history makes it all the more baffling as to why UNESCO and other agencies under the United Nations have considered inflammatory and one-sided resolutions that deny Israel’s right to existence and to its history.
While there is much to be done to pursue peace and stability, the consideration and adoption of one-sided resolutions contradict the U.N.’s work to contribute to peace and security.
Last month, UNESCO’s executive board approved a resolution that is fundamentally flawed and a threat to the delicate Israel-Palestine peace process, seeking to rewrite Jerusalem’s diverse and complex history. Jerusalem is among the holiest cities in the world for millions of people from many backgrounds. The resolution, offered by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, ignores the Jewish and Christian connection to both the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, only referring to the historical holy sites by Muslim names. The resolution is counterproductive; the city of Jerusalem is sacred to the three main monotheistic religions in the world: Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and efforts to erase these connections are dangerous. It is reckless to use an international body to de-legitimize Israel and rewrite the region’s history by disregarding historical facts. While the resolution was approved 24-6, I am proud that the United States opposed this resolution and stood with Israel. However, I am discouraged that these types of resolutions receive a vote in the first place.
The UNESCO resolutions are just the most recent example of countries using the U.N. to undermine Jewish history and allow anti-Israel activism. We should be discussing how to make the world a safer place, but yet we have to constantly defend established and indisputable history. If we truly want a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict, we should stop voting on one-sided resolutions that have no basis in reality and instead focus on direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The U.N. should be a place for productive dialogue to produce results that will positively contribute to the world; antagonistic measures that reject history only enhances tensions. The U.S. must continue to stand strong with Israel and encourage the peace process to be settled outside of the international arena.
Congressman John Delaney (D) represents Maryland’s 6th District.