Sadly, UNESCO’s vote shows no understanding of this reality. Regardless of their views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Christians together with all other believers in the freedom to worship must protest UNESCO’s irresponsibility. The opposition voiced by the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian and the Roman Catholic Churches, three of the denominations with custodial responsibility for the Church of the Nativity, was to no avail.
Although America opposed entrusting the PA with custodial authority, nonetheless the Obama administration has recently attempted to restore U.S. taxpayer funding of UNESCO. Thankfully, a bipartisan congressional group has been a bulwark against the administration’s misguided effort.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has opposed the State Department’s move to restore UNSECO funding. Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman, Eliot Engel, Carolyn McCarthy and Steve Israel as well as Republican Reps. Allen West, Steve Chabot, Robert Dold and Ann Marie Buerkle have joined her. They deserve our support.
Once a site of religious, cultural or historical importance is destroyed, it is lost forever. Today, UNESCO finds itself powerless to stop the destruction of World Heritage sites by Islamist terrorists in Timbuktu. For UNESCO to empower an “authority” without moral qualms about desecrating such sites is the height of irresponsibility.
Cheryl Halpern, the former chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is a council member at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum, and chair of the Queen of Sheba Foundation.