Tuesday, October 18, 2016

UNESCO Chief Irina Bokova Weighs In On Temple Mount Resolution But ... by Gilead Ini

...As with the UNESCO's skewed resolution, news reports that describe the Western Wall as the holiest place for Jews, or that inform readers the Temple Mount is among the holiest areas for Muslims while neglecting to note its stature in Judaism, contribute to a distorted understanding of religious, cultural and historical factors that bind Israel to the area. That distortion is the whole point of UNESCO's language. And the dictators' club that helped push through the recent resolution will likely ensure similarly inflammatory wording appears in future resolutions. That's to be expected. Will journalists, for their part, make sure to get it right more consistently moving forward?

Gilead Ini..
CAMERA Media Analyses..
17 October '16..

When UNESCO passed its draft resolution casting the Temple Mount, the most sacred ground in Judaism, as an exclusively Muslim site, Palestinian leaders were quick to capitalize. "This is an important message to Israel that it must end its occupation and recognize the Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital with its sacred Muslim and Christian sites," a spokesman for the Palestinian president said after the vote.

The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, was signaling that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims and Christian — not Jews. As with Palestinian claims that Jews have no history in the city, the takeaway is that Israel has no claim to Jerusalem at all, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. And if that's the case, it should be a straightforward exercise to demand Israel withdraw from the eastern portion of Jerusalem, or even to deny Jews the right to live in areas like Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter where, not withstanding the name of that neighborhood, they are cast as usurping settlers.

It further follows that if Israel doesn't pick up and leave eastern Jerusalem, where under this narrative the country has no spiritual anchor, it must be for no other reason than a reprehensible refusal to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Responsibility for the continued conflict, then, resides solely with Israel. And so Israel must be severely punished.

Others take the idea even further: As goes Jerusalem, so goes all of Israel. Jews, according to some anti-Israel activists, have no real business being in, or returning to, either locale. (Recall journalist Helen Thomas's demand that Jews leave Israel and go to "Poland" and "Germany.")

Just as Palestinians understood the implications of UNESCO's word choice, so too did the resolution's many critics.

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