B’nai B’rith International condemns five resolutions sponsored by Arab and Muslim states and the manner of their adoption by the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during its 185th session.B’nai B’rith is concerned that UNESCO could become further politicized—thus deviating from its potentially vital role in fostering education, intercultural dialogue, and the promotion of peace. The resolutions adopted last week censure Israel on multiple fronts, including the issues of the Israeli blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza, other necessary counterterrorism measures, administration of cultural and historical sites within Palestinian-disputed territory, and construction by the Jewish state in sections of its capital.
Arab and Muslim states, with the support of a number of countries belonging to the Group of 77, railroaded the clearly one-sided decisions through UNESCO’s discussion process. These sponsors notably disallowed even nominal compromise and negotiations concerning the content of the drafts. B’nai B’rith commends the United States for voting against all five resolutions, which signify yet another instance of the singular demonization of Israel at U.N. bodies. Between 12 and 19 states, out of the board’s total membership of 58, abstained on the various decisions.
UNESCO never acknowledges the two-sided nature of regional disputes—Israel is always vilified and the need for protecting the rights of the Israeli people is never taken into account. Particularly, Palestinian teaching of anti-Jewish violence and hatred, neglect of responsibility for holy sites, and encouragement of boycotts even against Israel’s broadly inclusive academic, commercial, and cultural institutions all go unaddressed by UNESCO.
“The adoption of these resolutions again reveals the unbalanced nature of deliberations on the Arab-Israeli conflict within international policy-making forums,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Sanctioned discrimination against Israel is undoubtedly intended to isolate her from the global community.”
“I commend the United States for its opposition to these vitriolic attacks against Israel,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “UNESCO’s exploitation by hostile member states serves to undermine the very principles at the core of its purpose, as well as the peace process.”
B’nai B’rith International has long maintained active, accredited representation at United Nations bodies around the world, including UNESCO in Paris.