I celebrated too early in respect of the (now not) cancelled vote in UNESCO about the denial of any Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
As of today, UNESCO has pretty much fulfilled Israeli Ambassador to the UN Abba Eban’s witty prescience when he caustically remarked:
If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.
At the last minute Mexico withdrew its withdrawal (or something to that effect), thus enabling the ratification of one of the absurdest votes in the annals of the UN to go ahead.
UNESCO’s Executive Board on Tuesday afternoon ratified a 24-6 vote taken last week on a resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Under pressure from Western states, Mexico backed away from its initial intention to call for a new vote on the resolution so that it could withdraw its support from the resolution.
Instead Mexico noted for the record that its position on the matter was one of abstention, but its statement does not technically change the vote numerical count as the 58-member board wrapped up its 200th session in Paris.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its web site that it had abstained in recognition of the undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.
It added that it was also doing so out of a deep appreciation for the contribution the Jewish community has played in Mexico’s economic, social and cultural development.
Brazil also spoke at the final board session and indicated that it was unlikely to support such resolutions in the future.
Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said after the ratification, “We have moved forward a step-and-a-half toward dismantling the automatic majority that the Palestinians and the Arab states have against Israel.”
“Mexico has taken a full step toward abandoning support of the Palestinians, after years of voting without hesitation against Israel.
“The best surprise of the morning,” he said, “is Brazil’s notification that while it did not change its vote this time, it will find it difficult not to do, if there is a resolution with another text that disregards the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” Shama-Hacohen said.
I find that all cold comfort. What is the point of a pro-Israel vote next time? What was so difficult in voting for Israel this time?
The following paragraphs give us an insight into the machinations behind the voting system:
Israel had initially expected that a number of countries would ask for a delay in voting on the resolution all together.
The board’s chairman Michael Worbs had appeared to be in favor of the delay, both because he opposed the resolution and also because he wanted to see a consensus text on Jerusalem brought before the board.
By Saturday night, however, UNESCO’s Arab group pressured Worbs to recuse himself from the proceedings and to hand the matter over to one of his deputies, diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.
On Tuesday, it was Western countries who pressured Mexico not to call for a new vote on the resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount and it’s adjoining Western Wall almost solely by its Muslim names of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Buraq Wall.
Western countries, however, are afraid that Mexico’s actions would empower similar calls for new votes on other resolutions that initially passed by consensus, Shama-Hacohen said.
In other words consensus is all. Never mind that the consensus agrees that black is white, and night is day. The main thing is consensus. How pathetic. How juvenile.
This would be a good moment to remind ourselves of something else that the quotable Abba Eban had to say – this time about consensus:
A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.
And that pretty much sums up the essence of this disgraceful vote.
But here is some good news that salvages Jerusalem’s dignity: dozens of international parliamentarians have come to Jerusalem “to affirm their support for the city as the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish state.”
Lawmakers attending the conference come from such diverse countries as the Netherlands, Finland, Latvia, Spain, Switzerland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Malawi, South Africa, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Chile. Speakers will include former minister Gideon Sa’ar, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren, and outgoing Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, in his first public address since he quit last week.
Reacting to the UNESCO Jerusalem controversy, the parliamentarians will draft and sign a resolution declaring their support for Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel and formally submit it to Oren.
The MPs, who chair Israel Allies caucuses in their countries, will take a strategic, geopolitical tour of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas in Judea and Samaria, including Gush Etzion.
The tour will begin in Hebron, where the group will visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
“From Africa to Europe to South America, faith-based diplomacy has proven to be the only reliable and effective way to guarantee concrete political support for the State of Israel and its undivided capital, Jerusalem,” said Josh Reinstein, Israel Allies Foundation executive vice president.
A hearty thank you and kol hakavod to The World Jewish Congress, the Israel Allies Foundation and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem for restoring my faith in international diplomacy.
And as for the rest of the bunch, those who would deny the Jews’ – and by extension the Christians’ and yes, even the Muslims’ – connection to Jerusalem, I would refer you back to the warning handed down by our Prophets and which we read on the first day of Succot which I quoted at the end of my previous post.