Roskam, Lieu Urge Opposition to Anti-Israel UNESCO Resolution
Wheaton, IL — Today, U.S. Representative Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) wrote to Rev. Thomas J. Reese, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), urging him to condemn the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) recently passed resolution which denies Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem’s holiest sites.
USCIRF, created by Congress to monitor and defend international religious freedom, must strongly oppose UNESCO’s drastic violation of international religious freedom as the international body attempts to erase history.
“Your commission, tasked with the critical issue of defending the freedom of religion, can send a strong message by taking a firm stand against such bigoted resolutions,” the lawmakers wrote. “We hope you will join the many Members of Congress, from both parties, in speaking out against Item 25.”
Last week, Rep. Roskam sent a letter to incoming U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging him to denounce UNESCO’s attacks on religious freedom.
Read the full letter here.
October 21, 2016
Chairman Rev. Thomas J. Reese
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Dear Chairman Reese:
We write to urge the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to take a firm public stand against a controversial revisionist resolution passed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This resolution, Item 25 of the Executive Board’s 200th session, titled “Occupied Palestine,” contemptibly denies Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City of Jerusalem and its holiest sites, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
The State Department made its disapproval clear last week, when spokesman Mark Toner affirmed that such actions and resolutions “do nothing to advance constructive results on the ground. And we don't believe they should be adopted."
UNESCO’s very own Director-General, Irina Bokova, in condemning the action of her member states, said “the heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible” and “to deny, conceal, or erase any of the Jewish, Christian, or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also rejected the resolution, saying "any perceived undertaking to repudiate the undeniable common reference for these sites does not serve the interests of peace and will only feed violence and radicalism."
Your commission, tasked with the critical issue of defending the freedom of religion, can send a strong message by taking a firm stand against such bigoted resolutions. We hope you will join the many Members of Congress, from both parties, in speaking out against Item 25.
PETER J. ROSKAM TED LIEU
Member of Congress Member of Congress