Netanyahu announces ‘seminar on Jewish history’ in his office– for European diplomats

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High Israeli officials have lectured Europeans in recent days over their supposedly false understanding of Jewish history, especially as that history applies to the Israeli claim to have annexed Jerusalem.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday announced a “seminar on Jewish history” in his office for French, Russian, Spanish and Swedish diplomats– among others– who described Jerusalem as “occupied.”

The Prime Minister issued four tweets yesterday:

PM Netanyahu: Two weeks ago I was shocked to hear @UNESCO adopted a decision denying Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site

It is hard to believe anyone, let alone an organization tasked with preserving history, could deny this link which spans thousands of years

Therefore, I am announcing a seminar on Jewish history for all UN personnel in Israel. I will personally host the lecture at the PM’s Office

The seminar by a leading Jewish history scholar will be free to UN staff and diplomats, including of countries which voted for this decision

That UNESCO resolution is titled “Occupied Palestine.” Proposed by seven Arab countries, and then approved by UNESCO members, it focuses on Israeli government actions as the “occupying power” to deny Muslim access to their holy site, the Haram-al-Sharif, and Israeli archaeological efforts throughout the Old City that are damaging Muslim sites.

RT notes that the decision was obnoxious to the Israeli government for what it left out: “never calling [the site] the Temple Mount, as the Jews call it.” The Jerusalem Post also reflects that anger:

The decision refers to the plaza fronting the Western Wall only in quotation marks, except when using one of its Arabic names, Al-Buraq, a reference to the Prophet Mohammed’s ascent to heaven.

The decision cites earlier UNESCO resolutions on protecting the “cultural heritage” of occupied Jerusalem and singles out such Israel government actions as:

banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries, in addition to the dramatic change of the status and distinctive character of the Umayyad Palaces, in particular the violation of the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.

RT coverage emphasizes the highly-political character of the decision, as it denies the legitimacy of Israel’s claimed sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The resolution was approved by 33 nations, among them France, Russia, Spain and Sweden. Seventeen countries abstained, two were absent and six countries voted against the resolution, namely the US, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

In a recently issued protest letter to all the countries that supported the UNESCO decision, Israeli Foreign Ministry’s director Dore Gold lashed out at the document and stressed that Jerusalem is a 3,000-year-old capital of the Jewish people.

“While the UNESCO decision has no practical validity, we will not allow international sources to blur the connection of the Jewish nation to its eternal capital,” Gold said.

In response to the backlash from Israeli officials, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova later called for “respect and dialogue.”

Read entire article at Mondoweiss

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