NEW YORK, July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC deplores the condemnation of Israel by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee. Meeting in Bonn, Germany, the committee voted 13 to 2, with 5 abstentions and one country absent, to express "deep concern" about Israeli actions that allegedly damage the structures and "visual integrity" of the Old City of Jerusalem.
"How ironic," said AJC Executive Director David Harris, "that at a time when Islamist terrorists are destroying world heritage sites in Syria and Iraq, this UNESCO committee hypocritically chooses to attack the record of Israel, which has carefully and diligently protected the worship sites of all religions."
Harris also noted that the World Heritage Committee refers to the Old City of Jerusalem as if it were sacred only to Islam. "One would never know from the language of the report," he said, "that Christians venerate Jerusalem for Jesus's intimate connection with the city, and that Jews, who made it their spiritual and political capital over 3,000 years ago, continue to regard the city as central to our faith and identity."
In 2011, after the Palestinian Authority tried but failed to gain Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state, UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as a member. The U.S. responded by withholding its funding for UNESCO.
Members of the World Heritage Committee are: Algeria, Colombia, Croatia, Finland, Germany, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, South Korea, Senegal, Serbia, Turkey and Vietnam. Voting is by secret ballot.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee