Contributor Post Created with Sketch. UNESCO Steals Jewish Holy Site; Gives It to Islam

 

This is vile even by UN standards.

The board of UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has decided that Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs — both of which are ancient Jewish holy places — should be removed from Israel’s list of national sites. And that’s not all. According to UNESCO, Rachel’s Tomb isn’t Jewish after all, despite millenia of history. Its name should accordingly be changed to the Bilal ibn Rabah mosque — a demand the Palestinians manufactured, in the teeth of all historical evidence, in 1996.

You might be interested to read the horrified protests of Nimrod Barkan, the Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO. You can’t, though. They’ve been expunged from the record.

The original instigator of this grotesque insult is Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was quoted in the Saudi press in March as saying that Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs “were not and never will be Jewish sites, but Islamic sites.” Obviously they were taking notes on First Avenue.

Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu issued a rather understated reply to UNESCO: “It is unfortunate that an organization that was established with the goal of promoting the cultural preservation of historical sites around the world is attempting due to political reasons to uproot the connection between the nation of Israel and its cultural heritage.” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced that Israel will cease cooperation with UNESCO, adding that “We should see the organization’s decision to remove the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb from the list of Israel’s national sites as part of Palestinian escalation in international organizations.”

This act by UNESCO is more than a slap in Israel’s face. It’s a declaration of war. Even I, secular Jew that I am, understand that Rachel’s Tomb — Rachel’s Tomb, for God’s sake! — is a beloved ancient Jewish site, inseparable from our history. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Rachel’s Tomb is located on the northern outskirts of Bethlehem some 460 meters south of Jerusalem’s municipal boundary. The site has been identified for over 1,700 years as the grave of the Jewish matriarch Rachel. The copious literature of Jewish, Christian and Muslim pilgrims identifies and documents the spot as the place where Rachel is buried.Many generations of Jews have visited the place for prayer, requests and entreaties. The site has become a sort of Wailing Wall to which Jews come to pour out their hearts and share their troubles and requests with the beloved matriarch, hoping to find solace and healing. Jewish tradition attributes unique and wondrous qualities to Rachel’s tears, and visitors to her grave ask her to cry and pray on their behalf.

For centuries, Arab Muslims — while demanding protection money to keep the site in good repair and extortion for Jewish access to it — explicitly acknowledged that Rachel’s Tomb is a Jewish holy place. That all changed during the 1990s, though, when the Palestinians — no doubt sensing a receptive audience abroad — began to refer to the tomb as a mosque. The Muslim religious authorities adopted the name the Mosque of Bilal ibn Rabah in 1996, and it “eventually took root in Palestinian national discourse.”

A trumped-up case of self-serving historical revisionism? Sure. But if it’s what the Arabs want, it’s the gospel truth. At least according to the UN.

[image from Flickr gallery קבר רחל אמנו]

There are 16 comments.

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  1. River Inactive

    Despicable. Beyond the pale. UNESCO was corrupted long ago, in the early 1960’s, and this is just further proof that the U.N. as a whole is beneath contempt and works to sow chaos, strife, and violence. It must be taken apart and cast onto the flaming rubbish heap of mankind’s worst inventions. It’s a disgrace that we in the United States give them one dime of support.

    • #1
    • November 9, 2010, at 4:54 AM PST
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  2. Pilgrim Thatcher
    PilgrimJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Outrageous behavior by the UN is like stupid political commentary from Hollywood a starlet — did you really expect anything else? Judith, I hope ‘steals Jewish holy site” is hyperbole. Does this have more practical effect than the many statements and resolutions condemning Isreal that routinely come out of various UN agencies?

    • #2
    • November 9, 2010, at 5:37 AM PST
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  3. Scott R Member
    Scott RJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s located inside the Israeli security barrier. Too bad Netanyahu didn’t just say, “Ya, well then come and get it.”

    • #3
    • November 9, 2010, at 5:57 AM PST
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  4. Michael Tee Inactive

    It’s Orwellian how UNESCO isn’t Educational, Scientific, or Cultural.

    • #4
    • November 9, 2010, at 6:05 AM PST
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  5. Eiros Member
    EirosJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Muslims believe that everything belongs to Allah. Fair enough. We Christians believe that everything belongs to Christ. What is created belongs to its creator.

    But Muslims believe that everything in the world is to be directly administered on Allah’s behalf by a caliphate. So Muslims have always believed that Rachel’s Tomb belongs to them. For that matter they also believe that the Eiffel Tower and Mount Rushmore have always belonged to them. But, for now, they lack the power to take them: either by force or persuasion.

    However in this case, they have found an organization of fools who are arrogant and stupid enough to think they can give them Rachel’s Tomb.

    • #5
    • November 9, 2010, at 7:37 AM PST
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  6. Michael Pate Inactive

    A similar controversy involving the New York TImes: http://www.rightsidenews.com/2010110912076/us/islam-in-america/nytimes-columnist-calls-cathedral-of-cordoba-the-great-mosque.html

    If you read the Unesco listing, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/313, you find “In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, the Saint, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra, were erected.” Note the lack of mention of la Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción or even La Catedral de Córdoba, which has been the official name of the building for the last 780 years. And not too surprisingly, even though the Wikipedia entry is entitled “Mezquita-Catedral” the actual url is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mosque_of_C%C3%B3rdoba

    In Spain, nearly eight centuries of renaming is culturally insignificant. In Israel, on the other hand, 14 years is more than enough.

    • #6
    • November 9, 2010, at 7:56 AM PST
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  7. Profile Photo Member

    The UN is proving ever more thoroughly that it is a most useless organization. The Israeli government should withdraw from it immediately.

    • #7
    • November 9, 2010, at 8:07 AM PST
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  8. Profile Photo Member

    The UN is proving ever more thoroughly that it is a most useless organization. The Israeli government should withdraw from it immediately.

    • #8
    • November 9, 2010, at 8:08 AM PST
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  9. Ward Inactive

    This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if there really are any moderate muslims. No doubt there are those who don’t care or would like to ignore their political leaders but that isn’t really the same thing.

    • #9
    • November 9, 2010, at 9:00 AM PST
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  10. flownover Member

    This is insane, we pulled out of UNESCO in 1984 ( Thanks Ronnie !) .

    These parlor cats smirked about things and waited patiently for the money, which is all that really matters in Turtle Bay anyway. Our money is the grease and the gears and the graft.

    Who has the title to the land ? Israel can take care of it’s own, as always.

    Someone at the WH ought to try and find Susan Rice ( probably getting a facial and massage about now) and tell her where the UN building is and what office to go to and file a complaint. But ,wait, it’s bash Israel week because Netanyahu is in the US. Obama is in Muslim land, and they have to stay on message.

    How embarrassing .

    • #10
    • November 9, 2010, at 9:26 AM PST
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  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Scott Reusser: It’s located inside the Israeli security barrier. Too bad Netanyahu didn’t just say, “Ya, well then come and get it.” · Nov 9 at 4:57am

    Exactly.

    Abolish the U.N.

    • #11
    • November 9, 2010, at 10:58 AM PST
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  12. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Sounds like a combination of redistributionism, historical revisionism, and an Orwellian “ministry of truth” cleaning up the record.

    We probably can’t abolish the UN, but we can quit paying 20% of its budget and seeing that it gets moved to another country: Somalia comes to mind.

    • #12
    • November 9, 2010, at 11:33 AM PST
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  13. flownover Member
    tabula rasa: Sounds like a combination of redistributionism, historical revisionism, and an Orwellian “ministry of truth” cleaning up the record.

    We probably can’t abolish the UN, but we can quit paying 20% of its budget and seeing that it gets moved to another country: Somalia comes to mind. · Nov 9 at 10:33am

    Somalia ?How do you doublepark a limo in front of the Palm in Mogadishu ?
    • #13
    • November 10, 2010, at 12:05 PM PST
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  14. Shoshanna Inactive

    Twenty years ago my rabbi, the most brilliant and wickedly funny man I’ve ever known, was shot to death while making a speech. Among his less amusing– but chillingly accurate– observations was that “the only thing a Jew can do to make the world happy is die.” The world continues to prove– in a long list of ways that will probably not be recognized until it’s far, far too late– that Meir Kahane was entirely correct.

    May his memory be blessed.

    • #14
    • November 11, 2010, at 1:52 AM PST
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  15. Caryn Thatcher
    CarynJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rachel sobs.

    And Kahane was right. On, oh, so many things. May his name be remembered for a blessing.

    • #15
    • November 11, 2010, at 4:13 AM PST
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  16. Profile Photo Member
    Michael Tee: It’s Orwellian how UNESCO isn’t Educational, Scientific, or Cultural. · Nov 9 at 5:05am

    Probably just another case of the United Nations going overboard on capitalization: make the “N” lowercase and the name fits like a glove!

    Every time someone suggests this or that troubled nation be left under the care of the UN, I wonder if they’ve read any news about “the Palestinian problem” in the past twenty minutes. Not that we’re lacking for other examples of the UN being worse than useless.

    • #16
    • November 11, 2010, at 8:43 AM PST
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