Without exaggeration for effect, recent statements by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are analogous to:
George Washington never lived.
The Rosetta Stone is a forgery.
Shakespeare’s plays were invented by the Elders of Zion.
Homer’s Iliad teaches nothing about ancient Greece, which, actually, did not exist.
Native Americans really aren’t native; they were brought over by Christopher Columbus.
UNESCO voted a resolution denying Jewish ties to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and other Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem. This is akin to saying that George Washington never lived.
The proof for Jewish ties to the land of Israel and the Jewish holy sites there is archaeological, literary, religious and demographic.
To say that the countless archaeological digs revealing ancient Israelite sites, customs, tools and teachings in the land of Israel are false is akin to saying that the Rosetta Stone is a forgery.
To say that the countless Jewish texts, both sacred and secular, that attest to the ancient, medieval and modern Israelite and Jewish presence in the Land of Israel are false is akin to saying that Shakepeare’s plays and Homer’s Iliad were modern inventions.
To say that there was no continuous, or virtually continuous Israelite and Jewish presence in the land of Israel for some 3,000 years is akin to denying that Native Americas predated Columbus in the Americas.
There are a number of absurd entailments to the UNESCO claim that deny Jewish ties to the land of Israel:
Islam predated Judaism.
Medieval Islamic philosophers had no interaction with Jewish philosophers for hundreds of years.
These Jewish philosophers examined or debated philosophic issues with their Islamic counterparts based on reason, Islamic scripture and Jewish scripture, with its extensive references to Judaism in ancient Israel. The denial of Jewish links to ancient Israel, based on ancient Jewish literary tradition, entails the denial of centuries of Jewish-Islamic philosophic interaction!
It is but a very short step from UNESCO’s denial of a Jewish Israel to the evisceration of such Islamic and Jewish luminaries as Averroes and Maimonides. If there were no valid Jewish or Islamic philosophy, Averroes and Maimonies (and numerous other medieval philosophers) had to have been mute.
At a certain point, the absurdities pile one on top of the other to such a height that any form of denial of history is legitimated by the UNESCO approach. If there are no Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, one might as well say:
The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series six times since 1908.
Slavery in the American South was a myth.
Elvis Presley signed the American Declaration of Independence.
Such is the level and the type of discourse UNESCO is engaging in. This is why the comment of Israel President Reuven Rivlin was perfectly appropriate in saying that the UNESCO, if it passed this resolution, would “humiliate itself.” Self-humiliation, yes.
Incidentally, the UNESCO resolution deletes not only the Jewish but the Christian link to the holy land. Under UNESCO, cultural imperialism reaches is purest peak, legitimating only Islam at the expense of all other religions, not just Judaism.
UNESCO, of course, did not dream up all of this malicious historical denial on its own, though it surely bears the heavy responsibility for giving it international dissemination. The origin of this nonsense is the current. Palestinian leadership. Emphasis on the word current. Bitter disputes between Zionists in Palestine and the local Arab population before the creation of Israel in 1948 were primarily territorial and political, not historical. But now that Zionism has succeeded in creating a Jewish state, and now that the Arab world has not succeeded in destroying this Jewish state by war, terrorism or deligitimation, the local Palestinian leadership reaches for straws. Shame on it for taking refuge in falsehoods. Shame on UNESCO for accepting and disseminating them.
If this were not so serious, it would be laughable.
Copyright © 2016 by the Intermountain Jewish News