Dear United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
Tomorrow, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is scheduled to vote on a new draft resolution declaring, among other things, that the Western Wall is part of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. It also accuses Israel of violating the status quo on the Temple Mount, and asserts that the alleged Palestinian state encompasses both the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb. The draft is said to be sponsored by the six Arab members on the Executive Board.
On behalf of UJA-Federation of New York, the largest Jewish philanthropy in the world, I express my outrage at this resolution and what it represents. At this time of conflict and terror, the international community cannot afford to endorse a proposal that seeks to disenfranchise the Jewish people by invalidating our connection to our holiest sites.
Compounded by the fact that Israel has gone above and beyond to protect the rights of all worshippers in Jerusalem, particularly at the Temple Mount, this action is a blatant provocation and affront to the Jewish people. It attempts to sever our millennia-old historical and religious connection to the Western Wall, a universally accepted center of Jewish life for thousands of years. It also denies all Jewish and Israeli rights to several of our most significant cultural sites. This gratuitously antagonistic resolution is the latest in a series of attacks on the Jewish people. Severing the Jewish connection with the Western Wall and other holy sites cannot help but undermine the peace process.
It is beneath the prestige of UNESCO to lend credibility to these vicious denials of our heritage, and I urge you on behalf of the New York Jewish community to do everything in your power to oppose this resolution.
Eric S. Goldstein
Chief Executive Officer
UJA-Federation of New York