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Christian Leaders Denounce UNESCO Resolution which Denies Jewish and Christian ties to Old City of Jerusalem

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — For the second time this month, the UNESCO [1] World Heritage Committee is meeting in Paris this Wednesday to vote on a resolution which denies Christian and Jewish connections with the Old City of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount compound.

The resolution, titled “The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” calls for the State of Israel “to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City.” If carried, this resolution will deny historically evidenced Christian and Jewish heritage in Jerusalem.

The Philos Project [2] strongly urges UNESCO to oppose this resolution, which ignores Jewish and Christian claims to Jerusalem,” Philos Project Executive Director Robert Nicholson said. “UNESCO was created to bring nations together through culture, not to deny certain cultures for political reasons. Peace in the Middle East will live or die on mutual respect between peoples. Now more than ever, Christians and Jews must stand together in opposition of this attempt to rewrite history.”

The Philos Project has collected statements from leaders of the Christian community denouncing the resolution:

Russell Moore

President Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention [3]

“Denying the historical Christian and Jewish connection to the old city of Jerusalem is a self-defeating and senseless move and furthers neither the pursuit of truth nor the cause of peace.”

Rev. Mark Chavez

General Secretary of the North American Lutheran Church [4]

“The ancient city of Jerusalem is the cradle of the Christian faith. Jesus walked there, taught there, and performed miracles there. The Temple Mount is one of the most important heritage sites for Christians and Jews alike. UNESCO’s consistent attempts to deny Jewish ties to the Old City are an affront to Jewish and Christian tradition, and an obstacle to any attempt at peace in the region. This resolution must not prevail.”

Robert George

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and Former Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom [5]

“I deplore UNESCO’s transparent effort to deny the deep and profound connection of the Jewish people to their holy sites in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall. Jews, Christians, and Muslims must strive to live together in peace, and the state of Israel—and all states in which persons of different faiths reside together—must honor the rights of all. It dishonors Jews and their rights for international agencies to attempt to obscure the memory and erase the significance of Jewish religious life in the Holy Land. I call upon UNESCO to respect the Jewish heritage of the holy sites just as it respects, and should respect, legitimate Christian and Muslim claims pertaining to the sites.”

Jeff Jeremiah

Stated Clerk, Evangelical Presbyterian Church National Leadership Team [6]

“When UNESCO affirms the uncontested historical facts of one religion to the exclusion of the uncontested historical facts of two others in the Old City of Jerusalem, ideology has trumped reality and embraces political expediency based on bias and falsehood.  It makes one wonder if UNESCO members understand the meaning of the terms ‘educational,’ ‘scientific’ and ‘cultural’ when they take such an action… The resolution denies the religious importance and historic primacy of the Temple Mount as the holy site for the ancient religion of Judaism; long before Christianity or Islam ever existed.  The resolution also completely ignores Christianity.  We respectfully ask that you reconsider this resolution and find a way of “peace” that respects all persons and religions in this sacred place.  Whatever your political persuasion, to deny the Temple Mount as inherently belonging to Judaism is a denial of reality, and creates yet another roadblock to peace in the region.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference [7]

“At a time when the world is literally unravelling, the United Nations and UNESCO can’t help but wander down yet another path toward anti-semitism. That’s exactly what this is—anti-Semitism, sponsored and endorsed by the international community.  The fact that this resolution is even under consideration is astonishing. It’s also appalling, and I join with hundreds-of-millions of Christians in opposing it. I’m also paying very close attention to every political leader in this country whose silence on this issue will be perceived as cowardice or complicity, and rightly so.”

Dr. Michael Youssef

Leading The Way Global Ministries [8]

“The UNESCO World Heritage Committee resolution seeks to delegitimize the historical connection Jews and Christians have to the Old City of Jerusalem. This resolution is a major obstacle to peace and a shocking revision of history. Excluding recognition of Christian and Jewish connections in the city of Jerusalem is a clear attempt by Muslim nations to delegitimize both faiths and expand the influence of Islamists. The resolution must be opposed.”

For more information about the resolution, visit: www.philosproject.org/unesco-vote-jewish-christian-ties-old-city-jerusalem [9]