Lawmakers in the Czech Parliament’s lower house condemned this week’s UNESCO resolution that denies the deep historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem, saying it reflected a “hateful, anti-Israel” sentiment.
In a Wednesday vote, 119 of the 149 lawmakers present approved a strongly worded protest against the step, saying the resolution denies historic links between the Jews and their holy sites, discredits UNESCO and fuels anti-Semitism. Only the four members of the Communist Party voted against the motion.
“The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic expresses its firm opposition to a resolution approved by the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO that denies the historical link between the Jewish people and the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” the motion read.
The UNESCO resolution, passed Thursday, referred to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Arabic names, condemned Israel as “the occupying power,” and ignored Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City and its holy sites.
The Czech parliament went on to state that it “rejects this resolution, which carries the spirit of hateful anti-Israel [sentiment], while also ignoring not only Jewish, but also Christian ties to the holy sites in Jerusalem.”
“The formulations are inconsistent and with the peacemaking and neutral character of the United Nations,” it said, “and ultimately strengthens international anti-Semitic tendencies.”
The chamber called on its permanent delegation to the UN to protest against the politicization of the organization.
The Jerusalem resolution was voted on by the executive board of UNESCO, with 24 countries voting in favor, six against, and 26 abstaining. Mexico later expressed its intention to switch from a yes vote to an abstention, though there was no official second vote.
The Czech Republic, one of Israel’s closest allies in the European Union, is not a member of the executive board.
Elsewhere in Europe, hundreds of people protested in Rome on Wednesday against Italy’s abstention in the UNESCO resolution denying Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage.
The protesters held up a cardboard representation of the Western Wall with blue bricks to show the Jewish connection to the historic site and waved Israeli flags. Many men wore kippot, and two men carried rainbow flags emblazoned with the star of David.
Rome contains many records of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem including the first century Arch of Titus which depicts the sacking of the city and the spoils taken from the Jewish temple, including the golden candelabrum (Menorah), the golden trumpets, the fire pans for removing the ashes from the altar and the table.