A Christian Zionist organisation has urged members to flood UNESCO with Bibles after the United Nations cultural body passed a resolution that only referred to Jerusalem's Old City by its Arabic name.
The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) called on followers to "inundate UNESCO with tens of thousands of Bibles". The campaign hoped to "drive home...that Jews and Christians have a much more genuine, historic connection to Jerusalem and the Temple than Muslims."
The appeal comes after UNESCO's World Heritage Committee passed a new resolution to approve the walled area of the Old City on the list of endangered sites.
The motion caused outrage among pro-Israel groups because it referred to the site, which is in Palestine, only by its Arabic name.
The area holds key holy sites forJudaism, Christianity and Islam. Muslims refer to it as al-Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, and it includes the al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. It is regarded as the third holiest site in Islam.
The site is known as Temple Mount by Jews and Christians and is the location of the ancient temple.
Although it is in Palestinian territory, Noble Sanctuary / Temple Mount is under Israeli occupation. The annexation since 1967 is not recognised by the international community and Jordan's ambassador to UNESCO said the committee approached it from a "technical point of view" rather than politicising it.
The body also criticised Israel for its continued refusal to let its experts into the area.
But the ICEJ said the motion was an "appalling decision" and urged Michael Worbs, the Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, to ensure no ever votes "for such a shameful resolution again".
The appeal on its website said: "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."
ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler said: "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.
"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."
Jeremy Moodey, chief executive of Embrace the Middle East, told Christian Today it was an "overreaction" by the ICEJ.
He said the UNESCO resolution "explicitly affirms the importance of Jerusalem to all three Abrahamic faiths" and added: "UNESCO is right to highlight the issues arising from Israel's ongoing occupation and annexation of the Old City and its holy sites, which is illegal under international law and itself inflaming religious tensions.
"ICEJ supporters would be better advised to use their highlighters to mark the many Biblical commitments to justice, which is in desperately short supply in Israel/Palestine."