(Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad)
Evangelical Christians plan to inundate the United Nations' Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization with Bibles in response to the passing of an Arab-sponsored resolution last month that opponents claim denies Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.
After UNESCO's executive board approved the Palestinian-drafted resolution to condemn Israel for its "mishandling" of holy sites in Old Jerusalem in mid-October, it angered Jews and Christians, who claimed that the resolution is "ignorant" and attempts to bolster a revisionist history that erases Jewish and Christian bonds to the Temple Mount.
Twenty-four UNESCO members voted in favor of the resolution, 26 abstained, and six voted against the proposal that was put forth by the Palestinians, along with Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan. The resolution also condemns Israel on several issues related to Jerusalem and its holy sites, according to i24News.
"The draft resolution, a copy of which was obtained by Ha'aretz, acknowledges that the city of Jerusalem is holy to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity but says the Temple Mount holy site is sacred only to Muslims."
The International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, an organization established by evangelicals in 1980 "in recognition of the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem and its unique connection with the Jewish people," launched an appeal on its website calling on Christians from around the world to flood UNESCO offices with Bibles to prove the biblical significance of the sites.
"We are asking Christians all over the globe to take a Bible, use a highlighter and mark some of the many passages where it speaks of 'Jerusalem' and the 'Temple,' and then mail it to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris," the appeal states. "Make sure to include a short letter expressing your disapproval of the recent vote."
The website provides an example letter, which argues that "Jews and Christians have a much more genuine, historic connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount than Muslims."
"In fact, the city is never mentioned even once in the Quran, whereas Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are mentioned over 1,000 times throughout the Bible and are central to both the Jewish and Christian faiths," the sample letter asserts. "So this omission is either a deliberate rewriting of history or a case of ignorance by those we would otherwise expect to be educated and informed."
"Most of us view these diplomats as being principled and well-educated. But apparently, some of them forgot their history lessons and we are sending them Bibles to refresh their memory," ICEJ Executive Editor Jürgen Bühlert said in a statement. "Even worse, some of these representatives are deliberately trying to erase the Jewish and Christian bonds to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and other revered sites in the Land of Israel. Hopefully, our campaign will give our nations' envoys at UNESCO the courage to stand up to the anti-Semites in their midst."
The embassy advises supporters to send Bibles to Michael Worbs, the chair of the UNESCO executive board, who has already issued an apology for the resolution and says that he understands the Jewish and Christian ties and he would never deny them.
Additionally, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova voiced her opposition of the resolution.
"The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city," she said in a statement. "To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site."