Netanyahu refuses to attend UNESCO antisemitism forum

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to accept an invitation to attend Wednesday night’s antisemitism forum that is sponsored by UNESCO and will take place on the sidelines of the .

It will be attended by heads of state and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. But Israel’s Prime Minister will be absent to underscore the country’s opposition to the organization’s biased treatment of Israel, including it annual resolutions disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

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“While I commend all efforts to combat antisemitism, I have decided not to participate in this week’s UNESCO conference on antisemitism due to the organization’s persistent and egregious bias against Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Since 2009, UNESCO has passed 71 resolutions condemning Israel and only 2 resolutions condemning all other countries combined.”

He added: “This is simply outrageous.”

The premier continued, “The mark of antisemitism was once singling out the Jewish people for slander and condemnation. The mark of antisemitism today is singling out the Jewish state for slander and condemnation.”

His statement comes in advanced of Israel and the United States’ planned departure from the organization at the end of this year. UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay has worked to neutralize the cycle slew of anti-Israel resolutions, including texts that spoke solely of the Muslim identify of Judaism’s most holy site, the Temple Mount.

Netanyahu said however, “If UNESCO wants to remove this mark of shame, it must do more than host a conference on antisemitism. It must stop practicing antisemitism.

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“And it must stop the absurdity of passing resolutions which deny the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, between the Jewish people and our eternal capital Jerusalem.

“No matter what UNESCO says, the Western Wall is not occupied Palestinian territory and the Cave of the Patriarchs – the burial site of Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah – is not a Palestinian Heritage Site.

“In withdrawing from UNESCO in 2017, Israel and the United States made a clear moral statement that UNESCO’s antisemitism will no longer be tolerated.

“If and when UNESCO ends its bias against Israel, stops denying history and starts standing up for the truth, Israel will be honored to rejoin.

“Until then, Israel will fight antisemitism at UNESCO and everywhere else,” Netanyahu said.

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