In October 2016, UNESCO’s executive board ratified a resolution which attempted to erase 3,000 years of Jewish religious history in Jerusalem. The resolution was drafted by Jordan and submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan—with the enthusiastic support of the Palestinian Authority, a full member of UNESCO since 2011.
The central aim of the resolution was to formalize criticism of Israel’s conduct in Jerusalem. It referred to Israel as the “occupying power” and blamed the Jewish state for the spike in violence in the region. Condemnation of alleged Israeli aggression has long been a standard talking point in the United Nations; that alone did not set off alarm. What disturbed Israelis about the UNESCO resolution was that it made Jerusalem’s Holy Basin an exclusively Islamic prerogative.