Tags: jerusalem | unesco | united states | holocaust

On Jerusalem, UNESCO Is Firefighter Turned Arsonist

On Jerusalem, UNESCO Is Firefighter Turned Arsonist
(Iúri Silvestre/Dreamstime.com)

By Friday, 09 February 2018 03:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Here in Paris At UNESCO on January 27, we witnessed what had been one of the most prestigious international organizations highlighting the terrible contradiction that Jews are honored, respected, and memorialized when they are victims, but castigated and excoriated when victorious, politically strong — in short when they are too successful.

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz 72 years ago, was commemorated at UNESCO with the participation of ambassadors, community and religious leaders, journalists, intellectuals, and politicians in an open discussion on the reasons for the Holocaust and lessons learned to prevent other human catastrophes.

The discussion, at which I personally was present, focused on the horrors of the systematic Nazi killing of millions of Jews.

What was missing was some degree of awareness that we were sitting in the amphitheater of an organization that has become a vehicle for the denial of history, that has become a traitor to its avowed purpose, which is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights.

At the conclusion of three hours of intense and informed discussion among such personalities as Serge Klarsfeld, the acclaimed courageous Nazi hunter, I personally felt the need to set the tables straight.

Here is what I said, translated from the French and recorded by videos to document the entire event:

"An essential mission of UNESCO is education, the communication of truth. Today we will do our feeble best to honor the victims of the holocaust. But in doing so what we owe them is an obligation not only to describe how this awful thing could have happened but to do everything possible to avoid a repetition of this miserable history. One critical factor permitting the massacre of Jews was the falsification of precisely the legitimacy of Jewry based not just on the defamatory inquisitional accusations that Jews monopolized financial and political power in the world, but also on the denial of the historical link between the Jews of the 20th century and their origin.

Nazi hatred had at its core the belief that Jews were not legitimate, that they had no place in the world, that they were impostors. The Nazi propaganda continued in a certain sense the notion that Jewish history became non-existent when the New Testament replaced what had been 2,000 years of Jewish history.

We this afternoon are sitting at the headquarters of an organization that instead of commemorating the victims of the holocaust with the truth, that is, the historical link of Jews to the land that now lies within the boundaries of Israel, contributes to perpetuating the same untruths that had been used savagely to exterminate a significant part of the European Jewish population between 1940 and 1945. UNESCO adopted a Resolution in May 2017 indicating that Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem. This followed a similar Resolution in October 2016 that referred to the sacred hilltop compound in Jerusalem's Old City only by its Muslim name, "Al-Haram al-Sharif," without also acknowledging the Jewish name. In an unprecedented reaction by UN executives, Ban ki-Moon and the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, openly opposed the Resolution and said that Judaism, Islam, and Christianity have clear historical connections to Jerusalem and "to deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site.”

We cannot sit quietly without understanding that the most important tribute to the victims of the holocaust is not simply to shed tears but to dedicate ourselves to tell the truth. When political organizations created on the ashes of World War II are not faithful to their mission, what will suffer is it is not simply Jews or any other group but world peace.

Do not allow the firefighter to become the arson."

It must be clear.

That certain decisions of international organizations are perhaps from a certain point of view objectionable, is not the equivalent of truth and justice being taken hostage to politics.

When UNESCO violates its own founding principles, what we are witnessing is the demise of the organization itself.

After the organization was weakened when the Obama administration cut off funding, now the United States, the country that was the key to its creation, has now decided to leave the organization. Without the United States as a member what might have been a strong voice in the world for truth is destined to become insignificant.

Although without common measure, the day when we mourn one of the greatest disasters mankind has experienced, we also mourn the death of an organization that was destined, if the slightest principle of dignity had been respected, to promote the peace to which mankind aspires.

Mark L. Cohen has his own legal practice, and was counsel at White & Case starting in 2001, after serving as international lawyer and senior legal consultant for the French aluminum producer Pechiney. Cohen was a senior consultant at a Ford Foundation Commission, an advisor to the PBS television program "The Advocates," and Assistant Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He teaches U.S. history at the business school in Lille l’EDHEC. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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When UNESCO violates its own founding principles, what we are witnessing is the demise of the organization itself.
jerusalem, unesco, united states, holocaust
Friday, 09 February 2018 03:43 PM
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