AJC eBook - Dashed Hopes: Anti-Israel Bias at the UN - Page 11

UNESCO UNESCO–THE UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION–is a specialized agency of the UN whose mission is to contribute to world peace and security by promoting global collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural measures. Until the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel and UNESCO maintained good working relations. Regrettably, since that war, neighboring Arab states and the Palestinian leadership have repeatedly used this UN agency as a forum to isolate and censure the Jewish state. In recent years, these states have persuaded UNESCO to pass several resolutions negating the millennia-old links between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. In October 2016, UNESCO adopted a measure referring to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, only by its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif, ignoring the Jewish people’s connection, which preceded the advent of Islam by more than a thousand years. And again, in May 2017, UNESCO passed a resolution that referred to Israel as an “occupying power” in Jerusalem, denying the Jewish state’s sovereignty over any part of the city. In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress passed two laws that forbade payment of dues to any international body that grants membership “to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood” (meaning the nonexistent “State of Palestine”). And consequently, in 2011, the U.S. halted payment of its membership dues to UNESCO after it admitted a unilaterally declared Palestinian state as a member. In January 2019, both the U.S. and Israel withdrew their membership in UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias. DASHED HOPES: ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT THE UN • 11