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October 31, 2016 12:34 pm

International Law Expert Amb. Alan Baker: US, Israel Should Dissociate, Withhold Membership Dues From Palestinian-Manipulated UNESCO

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Amb. Alan Baker. Photo: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/Screenshot.

Amb. Alan Baker. Photo: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/Screenshot.

The US, Israel and other countries that did not support recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolutions that enhance the Islamic character of Jerusalem and deny Jewish and Christian ties to the city’s holy sites should dissociate from the world cultural body and withhold all membership dues, an international law expert declared on Sunday.

In an article titled “UNESCO’s Regrettable Self-Assisted Suicide,” Alan Baker — a former Israeli ambassador to Canada and current director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — slammed UNESCO’s Executive Board and World Heritage Committee for being “manipulated” by the Palestinian leadership and Arab states into adopting the resolutions, “thereby attempting to re-write and corrupt accepted and proven history.”

Equally disturbing, Baker wrote, was the fact that the resolutions in question “were generated out of a blatant and deliberate lack of bona fides and in dire disregard of the purposes and functions of UNESCO.”

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Indeed, he added, “UNESCO has acted beyond the powers [ultra-vires] of its own constitution and has permitted itself to be taken hostage by elements intent on achieving a political end.”

Baker — who was involved in the negotiation and drafting of treaties with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians — went on to quote UNESCO’s founding constitution, adopted in 1945, with subsequent amendments.

The purpose of the organization is to contribute to peace and security through promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.

Baker then cited UNESCO’s constitutional principles, according to which the main causes of prejudice, inequality and war are ignorance, suspicion and mistrust. In addition, “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and “unrestricted pursuit of objective truth” are declared to be the basic components of peace.

Baker concluded that UNESCO’s “special character as the educational and cultural organ of the UN has been gravely and irreparably polluted and prejudiced.”

As The Algemeiner reported earlier this month, major American Jewish groups and top Israeli politicians reacted with outrage to the resolutions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The theater of the absurd continues at the UN…with its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for over 3,000 years. What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock and roll?”

In an interview with The Algemeiner, former Israeli UNESCO envoy David Kornbluth called the adoption of the resolutions “truly scandalous,” but said they will have “absolutely no real-world impact.” He said that the only real tangible effects would be “putting off Israelis with UNESCO and the UN” and “inciting extremists among the Arabs to carry on with fairytale propaganda.”

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