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Sunday, October 16, 2016

OPINION/ANALYSIS

Islamism is characterized by elements we have sadly come to know too well: brutal violence, terrorism, misogyny, suppression of “infidels,” and destruction of history and culture. That is their MO.


Cultural destruction in the name of Islam has taken place everywhere from Timbuktu to Afghanistan, from Egypt to Libya. Precious art and artifacts, legacies of civilization, some more than a thousand years old, have been trashed. Ancient scholarship lovingly preserved in libraries, inspiring structures and museums have fallen to the Islamist ideology of erasing history and replacing it with chaos and ignorance.

The Islamist policy of erasing history has been adopted by Muslim countries, with the help of fellow travelers on the executive board of UNESCO. The agency is too genteel to condone physical destruction of history. Instead, it passed a resolution last week that denies the deep historical connection of Jews to their most sacred sites, including The Temple Mount in Jerusalem. With breathtaking arrogance, and with a minority vote (24 for, 26 abstentions, 6 against), UNESCO passed a resolution that, besides accusing Israel of actions that never happened, and framing defensive and peacekeeping activity on the site as aggression, used only Arabic names for the Temple Mount and even the Western wall. Jerusalem’s Western Wall, aka Wailing Wall, has been a site for Jewish prayer for 2,000 years, ever since the destruction of the second Temple. It plays no role in Islam. Some of the earliest photographs ever taken in the world show Jewish men and women praying at the Western Wall in the 1800s. (You can see these photographs online at the Library of Congress Matson Collection.)

The Hebrew and Christian Bibles, foundational documents of Western civilization, describe the building of Solomon’s Temple (Book of Kings) which historians date to the mid-10th century BCE. That first Temple was destroyed by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century, BCE. The Jews were exiled to Babylon.

The biblical Book of Ezra relates – and Persian (Iranian) documents confirm - that King Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon, permitted Jews to return to Zion to rebuild their Temple, about half a century later. This is the temple that Christian sources say Jesus visited.

The second Temple stood until the year 70, when it was destroyed by the Romans.

You may have seen the famous Arch of Titus in Rome. It shows the triumphant Romans carrying the spoils of the Temple in Jerusalem, including a menorah and trumpets.

Islam would have to wait another 600 years to appear.

UNESCO doesn’t care about these facts. Facts seem not to matter, only politics and “narrative.” But no matter how wily the politics, how craven the international community, lies do not supplant truth. The centrality of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to 3,000 years of Jewish history and faith cannot be voted out.

And let’s look at who voted. First, the brave six countries that demonstrated integrity: United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia and Lithuania. They are to be applauded for their courage in voting against the resolution.

Cowardly and disgraceful, the following countries were among the abstainers. They should have known better: France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden and Japan.

A minority voted for the resolution that passed. Most of these are the usual suspects, but some on the list are puzzling, such as Russia and Mexico, China, Brazil, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

UNESCO is a tool of the strategy to delegitimize the Jewish state. The campaign to airbrush Jews out of Israel’s history won’t work.

Historical manipulation and destruction do not a good society make. Hitler did it, Stalin did it; North Korea does it today. Nor does it encourage co-existence. A resolution to obliterate the Jewish presence from their most sacred sites is a resolution that annihilates hope for peace.


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