Mexico’s new ambassador to UNESCO in Paris Andrés Roemer Slomianski, 52, the grandson of Ernesto Roemer, a Viennese conductor who escaped from the Nazis, walked out of the hall on Friday because he couldn’t bring himself to obey his government’s instructions to support the blatantly anti-Semitic, Arab-drafted resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the Western Wall, UN Watch reported Monday. Mexico was one of 24 states that supported the resolution, casting its vote via one of Roemer Slomianski’s deputies.
It looked bad for a while, as Mexico’s foreign ministry ordered Roemer Slomianski home “for consultations,” after appointing him only last May. According to Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-HaCohen, the Mexican diplomat, political analyst, attorney, economist, think tank founder, and author of 16 books and two award-winning plays was at risk of being “sent home and fired.” Roemer Slomianski said he thought about quitting, but after consultation with ambassadors from other countries decided to stay in office.
Now Mexico has decided to change its vote and triggered a special clause allowing it to demand a recast vote in order to change its decision. This turnaround has come amidst mounting pressure from the sane countries making up the agency, as well as a rebuke from UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who said she intends “to fight intolerance and contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, including those which seek to delegitimize the State of Israel,” and criticism from departing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who reaffirmed “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions” and stressed “the importance of the religious and historical link of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian peoples to the holy site.” As a result of all of the above, UNESCO’s executive board will revisit the resolution at 11 AM Tuesday.
A senior official in Jerusalem told Haaretz that Mexico’s changed position was the result of strong protests from Mexico’s Jewish community. Apparently the vote in favor came despite an explicit promise from Mexican President Ennrique Pena Nieto to Mexican Jews and to Israeli officials that Mexico would not support the UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem.
Even though the new vote is probably going to resemble the Friday version, it will give non-Arab countries an opportunity to change their vote, leaving the anti-Israel countries isolated. Regardless of the outcome, opposition voices in Israel, such as former PM Ehud Barak, who blamed Netanyahu’s government for the failure Friday will have to praise it now for its competence as it quickly turned world opinion around on the resolution and actually forced a new vote.JNi.Media