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October 16, 2016 12:38 pm

Petition Calling on UNESCO to Recognize Jewish Ties to Jerusalem Garners Tens of Thousands of Signatures

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Western Wall and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Outrage over UNESCO’s approval on Thursday of a resolution that omitted the Jewish people’s ties with Jerusalem continued to grow over the weekend. As of Sunday morning, more than 65,000 people had signed an online petition calling on the UN cultural body to “recognize the deep historic, cultural and religious connection between the Jewish people and holy sites in the land of Israel.”

The Change.org petition, authored by the International Legal Forum and the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs, focused on the Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism, as it is where the two temples once stood — which the UNESCO resolution referred to as the “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and its surroundings.”

“By UNESCO deliberately ignoring the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, UNESCO violates the basic human rights of Jews everywhere, as well as those of other religions whose beliefs and heritage include the spiritual and historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem,” the petition said.

Furthermore, the petition stated, “UNESCO’s denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its holy sites violates UNESCO’s own mandate by erasing the heritage of millions of people and violating their religious and cultural rights. It also hurts any prospect of peace and vicariously supports a radical ideology that denies the Jewish connection to the land of Israel and its holy sites. This type of religious intolerance effectively leads to violence around the world.”

As reported by The Algemeiner, a wide array of American Jewish groups, Israeli politicians and US Christian leaders have condemned the UNESCO resolution.

David Kornbluth, who served as Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO between 2005 and 2009, told The Algemeiner on Thursday that the passage of the resolution was “truly scandalous” but will have “absolutely no real-world impact.”

On Friday, as reported by The Algemeiner, UNESCO Director-General Irina Borkova criticized the controversial resolution.

“Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” Bokova said in a statement. “It is in recognition of this exceptional diversity, and this cultural and religious coexistence, that it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”

“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 continued. “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”

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