Issues

In unsubtle critique, Israel gifts UNESCO Arch of Titus replica

Israel handed a replica of a frieze from the Arch of Titus to the head of UNESCO, using the monument commemorating Rome’s victory over Jerusalem for a not-so-subtle critique of the organization’s resolutions that ignore Jewish links to the holy city.

The idea originally came from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization passed a resolution last year that used only Muslim names for the Jerusalem Old City holy sites.

The replica will be exhibited in UNESCO’s Paris headquarters as a “greeting from the historical truth about the existence of two Temples on the Temple Mount,” said Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to the agency.

Shama-Hacohen handed the replica to UNESCO’s outgoing director-general Irina Bokova, who, in her speech, offered a more subtle critique of one-sided anti-Israel resolutions passed routinely by her organization’s member states.

“2,000 years ago the Romans destroyed the Temple and removed it from the Jewish people. And today, UNESCO is trying to destroy and remove the history of Jerusalem from the Jewish people,” Shama-Hacohen said at the event.

“When the executive board of UNESCO adopts every six months a resolution that denies the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, they are not only adopting a political resolution, they are adopting a resolution that negates the right of the State of Israel to exist and the Jewish people’s right of self-determination,” he said.

Furthermore, such resolutions “pave the way for spreading anti-Semitism and terrorism,” Shama-Hacohen went on.

“To those who are using UNESCO and its executive board as a political tool to promote political stability in their own country I say, enough. Too many people are paying a heavy price for your resolutions,” he said. “Taking this organization and Jewish history as a hostage for your political problems is not the answer.”

Read More: Times of Israel