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Home > Secteur-English > General > UNESCO director general to Livni: We’ll fight delegitimization of (...)

UNESCO director general to Livni: We’ll fight delegitimization of Israel

Irina Bokova, responding to a letter from the former Israeli foreign minister, distanced herself from her cultural agency’s controversial decision and affirmed their commitment to fighting anti-Semitism.
Bokova’s letter, addressed to Livni in her capacity as "Former Foreign Minister of the State of Israel," begins by emphasizing that "such decisions are discussed and taken by the Member States and not by" the director general herself. She added that, as such, she transferred Livni’s letter to Michael Worbs, the chairperson of the executive board.

Bokova repeated her statements from April, July and this week that "the Old City of Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and that Jewish (sic), Christians and Muslims have a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city."

The director general continued, in apparent opposition to the draft resolution as approved by her executive board, "I firmly believe that to deny or conceal any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site."

Bokova pointed out some of the Israeli sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and some of the organization’s projects that "attest to our commitment to Jewish culture and bear witness to our knowledge and respect for the ties between the Jewish People and the Holy Land, including Jerusalem."

She also touted UNESCO’s being "the only UN agency with a dedicated programme on Holocaust education."

In Livni’s letter to UNESCO on Thursday, she warned that the member states’ adopting the draft resolution was likely to incite religious conflict and undermine the sensitive status quo in Jerusalem.

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