An online petition has been launched calling on UNESCO to reverse its recent "insulting" resolutions which deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or Western Wall.
Last Thursday the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provoked outrage when it adopted an Arab-sponsored resolution in which the holiest sites in Judaism – the Temple Mount and Western Wall – were labeled as Muslim sites. In the resolution, the Temple Mount was referred to as "Al Aqsa", while the Western Wall was labeled the "Al-Buraq Wall," the latter a reference to a relatively recent Muslim legend that claims Mohammed once tethered his mythical winged horse at the wall.
The shocking decision followed a similar move to deny Jewish heritage at two other holy Jewish sites – the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.
Now, the International Legal Forum and StandWithUs are asking people throughout the world to sign an online petition in protest of the latest move to erase Jewish heritage in Israel.
As of the publication of this article, the recently-launched petition has garnered more than 1,700 signatures.
The petition notes that the UNESCO decision goes directly against the organization's own self-proclaimed role as a guardian of world heritage sites.
"UNESCO was created with the clear mandate to build networks among nations and intercultural understanding by protecting heritage and supporting cultural diversity," it reads. "In accordance with these values, we call upon UNESCO to recognize immediately the deep historic and religious connection between the Temple Mount and Judaism.
"According to the Jewish religion, the Temple Mount is the holiest site in the world to the Jewish people. Throughout history, Jews all over the world have prayed facing the Temple Mount. According to Jewish tradition, the world was created from the Foundation Stone located on the Temple Mount, and the two Jewish Temples stood on the Temple Mount at two different times in history (an internationally and historical known and accepted axiom, backed by numerous archaeological findings).
"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.
"Moreover, UNESCO is obligated to promote and educate about religious tolerance. 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."
The petition adds that the call to recognize Jewish ties to the site does not in any way exclude others.
"It should be emphasized that this petition does not wish to question or deny any other culture or religion's connection to this site," it continues. "We recognize UNESCO's responsibility to promote culture and religious diversity by respecting the heritage of all nations. Therefore, we call upon UNESCO immediately to recognize the deep historic and religious Jewish connection as well.
"It is our belief that the Temple Mount, being a significant holy site for multiple religions, can exemplify UNESCO's principle of inclusiveness, uniting nations, and respecting diversity, instead of omitting and dividing people of different faiths and narratives."