Mexico fires envoy, but changes its vote
Mexican Ambassador Andrés Roemer (who is of Jewish descent) was removed from his post for protesting against his country’s decision to vote at a Unesco meeting last Thursday for a resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
But, to Jews everywhere he is today’s hero for throwing himself on his sword, unable to stay quiet in the face of the duty he had to perform for his country last Thursday – to vote in favour of the Unesco bill which the body’s board adopted on that day and ratified by consensus at this morning session at the Paris-based body. Israel says the resolution in essence denies the deep historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem and this has angered Israel’s government and many Jews around the world.
RIGHT: Mexico’s Ambassador to Unesco Andrés Roemer was removed from his post for protesting his country’s decision to votelast Thursday for a resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem. The Jewish diplomat left the room and asked his deputy to cast the vote.
Israel last week suspended its ties with Unesco over the draft resolution, which uses only the Islamic name for a hilltop compound sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The site includes the Western Wall, a remnant of the biblical temple and the holiest site where Jews can pray.
In an act of personal protest, Roemer walked out of last week’s vote in Paris, leaving his deputy to cast the country’s vote.
He also apparently contemplated resigning his post, but was urged not to by Israel’s ambassador Carmel Shama HaCohen, who wrote him a personal letter praising him as a friend of the Jewish state.
LEFT: Israeli Unesco Ambassador Carmel Shama HaCohen praised his Mexican counterpart as “a friend of the Jewish State”.
Alas, it was too late. No ambassador can survive a protest to a decision of the government they represent. They withdrew him from the post.
However, this action marked for the first time since 2010 that Mexico will oppose a proposal by the Palestinian-Arab bloc in Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Mexican Ministry put it thus on Monday:
“For not having informed diligently and with meticulousness of the context in which the voting process occurred, for reporting to representatives of countries other than Mexico about the sense of his vote, and for making public documents and official correspondence subject to secrecy,” read the official statement released on Monday October 17.
Despite this slap-on-the-hand for his diplomatic faux pas, Mexico did change its vote this morning from being “in favour” to “abstain” on the proposal concerning the preservation of cultural heritage and religion in eastern Jerusalem.
The resurgence was too little, too late. There were no changed positions from any other countries – including South Africa.
“Changing the vote reiterates the recognition that the government of Mexico gives to the undeniable link of the Jewish people to cultural heritage located in East Jerusalem. It also reflects the deep appreciation that this government has for the Jewish community and in particular for their significant contributions to the welfare and economic, social and cultural development of Mexico,” the statement also said.
- “Sadly, the ambassador to Unesco was sacrificed, but it meant a change to the perennial tradition of following the vote of the Latin American bloc, which passed an absurd and biased resolution by a majority,” wrote popular Jewish Mexican news portal Enlace Judio.