Brussels, June 27th, 2017 – The European Coalition for Israel has called upon the Chairman of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Dr. Jacek Purchla, to do everything in his power to stop the Palestinian attempt to declare the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron an endangered Palestinian cultural heritage site, thus denying any Jewish links to this second most holy site in Judaism.
UNESCO came under fire last year after the Palestinian Authority and several Arab states succeeded in listing the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a Palestinian heritage site and denying more than 3000 years of Jewish history in Jerusalem. The decision was later rebutted both by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
At the ECI policy conference in the European Parliament in March, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova sent a statement explaining her opposition to the decision by stating that “it denies and erases any of the Jewish traditions and undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justify its inscription in the World Heritage list”.
In a statement on Tuesday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell urged UNESCO to stop the cultural war against Israel.
“Now is the time for the international community to protect its institutions against those who want to deny history and misuse UNESCO, the UN body for education, science and culture, for political reasons.”
“If these violations against history and science continue, responsible member states may have to reconsider their financial commitments to UNESCO”, he warned. Last month the Czech parliament urged their government to cut down on its funding to UNESCO due to its anti-Israeli resolutions.
It is a great travesty of history that the Polish city of Krakow will be the venue for this attempt to deny the Jewish people their history in Hebron, one of the most important sites in Judaism. Seventy-five years ago, in this region of Poland, the evil forces of National Socialism tried to erase the Jewish people from the soil of Europe in death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is located only sixty kilometers away from Krakow. The city of Krakow itself lost most of its Jewish population in the Holocaust and should forever stand in history as a warning sign to all humanity against any attempt to turn against the Jewish people, their dignity and their history.
The 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee will take place in Krakow, Poland from 2-12 July. The current members are: Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.