Despite concerns over German negotiations, Jewish state backed by U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania; India abstains

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PARIS, May 2, 2017 – UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights NGO, condemned the “hijacking” of UNESCO’s agenda by the Palestinians and Arab states, after the agency’s 58-member board  singled out Israel today for condemnation—the only nation to be criticized—as the Jewish state celebrated it 69th Independence Day.

“Israel lost the vote today, but it did score a small moral victory: despite reported fears that Germany’s negotiations with the Palestinians would erode support, Israel in the end won more votes than ever before, including from major democracies like the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“The Palestinians at UNESCO are hemorrhaging support for their ritual anti-Israel resolution: last April they had 33 yes votes, then in October it was down to 24, and today it’s down to 22. The no votes increased substantially from 6 to 10.”

“And once again, India—an increasingly important friend and ally of Israel—has voted to abstain, showing that its recent break from decades of lockstep voting with the Arab states is now a fixed policy.”

Resolution on Jerusalem

Two resolutions this afternoon in Paris accuse Israel’s military of abuses, yet make no mention of rockets fired by Hamas against Israeli cities, or of ongoing Palestinian terrorist stabbings of Israeli Jews.

The resolution on Jerusalem, despite a passing mention of “the three monotheistic religions,” ignores Jewish and Christian religious and historical ties to the city, condemning Israel for excavations of the Jewish capital that have revealed the ancient City of David, along with pottery inscriptions, coins and artifacts connected to Jewish life during and before the time of Jesus.

“Once again, the United Nations agency for education, science and culture is being hijacked by genocidal regimes and serial human rights abusers like Sudan, Iran, Algeria, Qatar, and Russia,” said Neuer.

“Founded in 1945 to combat the doctrine of the inequality of men and races, UNESCO today has sadly become a serial perpetrator of inequality,” said Neuer, noting that the U.S. under President Obama cut funding as a result of such actions.

“Today’s prejudiced votes are liable to be the last straw that pushes the U.S. to withdraw UNESCO for good.”

“One-sided and political measures only divert UNESCO from its obligations to help educate needy children in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.”

“UNESCO’s actions also send a message to bad actors in the Middle East, pouring fuel on the fires of incitement to terror that already poison educational curricula.”

Resolution on Palestinian Education Omits Incitement to Terror & Antisemitism

UN Watch noted that the resolution on Palestinian education and schools makes no mention of the gross breach of United Nations values by teachers at UNRWA who incite to antisemitism and terrorism.

Recent reports by UN Watch, including one presented before the U.S. Congress in February and at the Canadian parliament in March, exposed more than 100 Facebook pages operated by UNRWA schools, school teachers, principals, and other employees of UNRWA, which incite to terrorism or antisemitism.

UNESCO’s resolution fails to note the ongoing incitement which includes UNRWA teachers, staffers and institutions celebrating the terrorist kidnapping of Israeli teenagers, cheering rockets being fired at Israeli civilian centers, endorsing various forms of violence including random knife and vehicular attacks against Israeli civilians, erasing Israel from the map, praising Hitler and posting his photo, and posting overtly antisemitic videos, caricatures, and statements.

Breaches of the right to education ignored by UNESCO’s resolution include:

• The Facebook page of UNRWA’s Manshiet Bani Hashim school applauds the wave of fires that struck Israel in November 2016, many of which were started by arson terrorists. Other images on the school’s page depict student artwork adorning the school which erases Israel from the map. In February 2017, Abu Anas Ghoban, a teacher at this school posted an image to his Facebook profile glorifying terrorism.

• Several UNRWA schools display images erasing Israel from the map, often as murals decorating the school or in displays of student artwork. This completely negates UNRWA’s claim to be educating Palestinians for peace and coexistence with Israel.

• The UNRWA schools in Jordan Facebook page promotes an annual poetry contest in conjunction with UNRWA’s Nazzal school in Amman. In 2011, one young participant who is photographed holding up a knife and reciting a poem glorifying suicide martyrdom.

UNRWA’s al-Qastal school in Lebanon celebrated knife attacks against Israeli civilians by hosting a rally with speeches by students and teachers.

“If UNESCO cares about education for the Palestinians, it must begin by fighting incitement within UN schools themselves,” said Neuer.

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