Conference of Presidents Leaders Call on UNESCO to Prevent Palestinian Hijacking of World Heritage Committee Agenda for Anti-Israel Purposes

New York, NY. . . Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, today urged the Director General of UNESCO to prevent the latest Palestinian attempt to hjack the agenda of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee by seeking to designate the old city of Hebron as a “ World Heritage Site in Danger.”

In a letter to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, the leaders pointed out that the Palestinian claims regarding sites in the old city of Hebron are “replete with false information and baseless charges” and they called on her “to assure that this scurrilous effort not be allowed to proceed.”

This is the latest in a series of unfounded charges and accusations meant to denigrate and distort Israel’s stewardship of holy sites. The latest initiative is directed at the World Heritage Committee meeting scheduled for Krakow, Poland in two weeks.

Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Hoenlein said, “it is imperative that these disruptive, diversionary tactics be repudiated. These efforts are motivated solely by political objectives and not a true concern for the status of the Cave of Patriachs or the old city of Hebron. Palestinian officials, including the leader of the Waqf of Hebron and the Waqf of the Cave, have praised the cooperation of Israeli authorities responsible for the security of these holy sites in Hebron and public safety arrangements for worshippers at the Cave. The Palestinian religious leaders have publicly acknowledged Israeli respect for freedom of worship for all and expressed appreciation for the sensitivity shown by the Israeli authorities in responding to Palestinian special requests.

To succumb to this unwarranted call to designate the old city of Hebron as a ‘World Heritage Site in Danger’ would further denigrate the United Nations, diminish UNESCO and reinforce the irrational bias against Israel so common at the international body and its agencies. UNESCO must resist these irresponsible pressures and stand up for the truth.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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