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French Jews hold protest against France's decision to abstain in key UNESCO vote on Jerusalem

France's Jewish umbrella bodies on Thursday rallied opposite the French Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest France's failure to vote against UNESCO resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

CRIF, the political lobby group representing French Jewish communities, and the Consistoire, French Jewry’s organ responsible for religious services, called to join a protest rally on Thursday at the Quai d'Orsay. The gathering came in reaction to the passing of two resolutions on Jerusalem this month by UNESCO committees.

France was among 26 countries that abstained from voting during the first resolution, at the UNESCO Executive Board last week. It refers to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount only by their Arabic-language names. Similar language was used in a decision adopted this Wednesday by the World Heritage Committee, a UNESCO body.

In an article, CRIF President Francis Kalifat, who is also a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote: "France decided to abstain. But to abstain when the choice is between truth and a lie, between honoring history and the infamousness of revisionism is not worthy of France and its values."

Kalifat added: “We were shocked by the anti-Israeli obsession of UNESCO and are now revolted by its disavowal of its own values."

Noting that the street protest was not initiated by CRIF, he wrote: “Other groups decided to take this indignation to the street and I salute their initiative.”

Kalifat also called on “all of CRIF’s member groups to join [the protesters] to make audible a loud voice, faithful to historical veracity.”

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