WASHINGTON — After the Trump administration withdrew the United States from UNESCO over what it called its “anti-Israel bias,” two GOP lawmakers introduced a resolution that condemns the UN cultural organization and affirms Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
The UN body has, in recent years, passed a series of its own resolutions denying a Jewish link to the holy city.
On Israel’s Independence Day this year, the UN cultural agency passed a motion that many Israelis saw as denying Jewish historical or religious ties to Jerusalem. Such measures were cited as one reason the US decided to pull out of the agency last week.
On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, followed up on the move by authoring a resolution that “recognizes and affirms the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem.”
It goes on to cite archaeologically excavated sites, like the City of David, that contain vast quantities of antiquities from the ancient Jewish and Christian presence in the city.
“The Jewish people, and the people of Israel, have a deep and ancient connection to the holy city of Jerusalem,” Rep. Gaetz said. “Yet the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization … is actively trying to rewrite history.”
The resolution’s text condemns UNESCO for what it characterizes as its attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state. It also calls on the US to partner with its allies in preventing the group from passing similar measures in the future.
“The Trump administration has demonstrated strong moral clarity in deciding to withdraw and continuing to withhold US taxpayer dollars from UNESCO as a result of its relentless hostility towards our close ally Israel,” Cruz said.
After the US decision to exit UNESCO was announced last Thursday, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, warned the entire world body that other agencies risked the same treatment if they did not reform.
“The United States will continue to evaluate all agencies within the United Nations system through the same lens,” she said.
The US withdrawal from UNESCO won’t take effect until December 31, 2018.
On Friday, UNESCO elected former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay, who is Jewish, as its new head. Azoulay immediately urged the US and Israel not to quit the organization.