On International Holocaust Memorial Day, which fell last Friday, 27th January, the new Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres spoke movingly about the vicious antisemitism throughout the millennia which led to its inexorable nadir in the Holocaust.
What distinguished this speech from similar anodyne speeches delivered every Holocaust Memorial Day was the fact that Gutteres clearly mentioned, in words that cannot be misinterpreted any other way, the connection of the Jewish people to the Temple.
Elder of Ziyon has the complete transcript, but here are the relevant words:
Imperial Rome not only destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but also made Jews pariahs in many ways.
There surely is not much to object to in those words. After all they are simply a matter of historical fact.
Not so according to the Palestinians who went into complete meltdown mode at the very idea that a UN official, and the Secretary General no less, could mention the Temple, obviously in Jerusalem, in terms of any kind of connection to the Jews. They are now demanding an apology!
Senior Palestinian officials blasted the United Nations’ new secretary general on Sunday for acknowledging that a Jewish temple once stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
In remarks commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, newly installed Secretary General António Guterres traced the history of anti-Semitism, beginning when “Imperial Rome not only destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but also made Jews pariahs in many ways.”
Speaking to Israel Radio on Friday, Gutteres added, “no one can deny the fact that Jerusalem is holy to three religions today.”
However, Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, told China’s Xinhua news agency that Guterres “neglected the UNESCO resolutions, which clearly said that the al-Aqsa Mosque is purely an Islamic heritage.”
This complete reversal of the facts and denial of historical facts would be highly amusing if it were not so outrageous and so dangerous in its inflammatory language, and only highlights the danger inherent in these absurd UN resolutions.
Husseini called Guterres’ remarks “a violation to all human, diplomatic and legal rules and laws and a violation to his position as the secretary general,” and demanded that Guterres “apologize to the Palestinian people for his remarks.”
Husseini was referring to two Arab-sponsored resolutions passed in October by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, which denied the well-documented, centuries-old Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The resolutions were widely condemned at the time, including by then-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and were praised by the terrorist group Hamas as a “victory for the Palestinian people.” Their exclusionary language contrasted with a number of recent archaeological finds, including an inscription on the 10th century mosque near Hebron, confirming the Temple Mount’s Jewish history.
Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said in an emailed press statement that Guterres’ comments are “a strike to the credibility of the UN as a global organization that should stay to the side of the occupied people and be against the power of the occupation.”
“[It] seems the new UN secretary general is lacking trust and he doesn’t understand his position,” Majdalani claimed.
In 2015, Brown University historian Michael Satlow said that the existence of a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount is “as historically certain a fact as one can get.” However, efforts to erase or cast doubt on the connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish faith have led many Palestinians to “increasingly [express] doubt that the temples ever existed,”
You can watch the speech of Antonio Gutteres here, and admire the forthright way in which he admits the sins of his own nation as well as the rest of the world which were committed against the Jews, and how they have tried to atone for them.
Kol hakavod to Mr. Gutteres. If he is genuine in his desire to repair his country’s relationship with the Jews, not to mention the UN’s, he would do well to begin by repealing the outrageous Security Council resolution 2334 as well as all the UNESCO resolutions denying any connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. He could also stop the farce of a permanent anti-Israel agenda item at the Human
Wrongs Rights Council.
Let’s hope the new Secretary General will perform a clean sweep.