Photo Credit:
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova

Complaints by Arab states led the United Nation’s cultural arm, UNESCO, to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel.

The exhibition, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center along with the governments of Canada and Montenegro, was scheduled to open Jan. 20 at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova on Wednesday said in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the exhibit, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” would be postponed indefinitely. She said the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have a responsibility in ensuring that current efforts in this regard are not endangered,” she wrote.

The cancellation followed a letter sent to Bokova on Jan. 14 by the Arab group at UNESCO, which admitted the Palestinian Authority as a member in 2011. “The Arab group is deeply disturbed by the exhibition, which it condemns,” said the letter by the Arab group’s president, Abdullah Elmealmi.

“This cause is championed by those who oppose peace efforts,” Elmealmi said. “The media campaign accompanying the exhibition will inevitably damage the peace talks, the incessant efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UNESCO’s neutrality.”

In an email, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director of international affairs, Shimon Samuels, wrote that the center was outraged by Bokova’s decision. He called for an email campaign opposing cancellation.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Another example of why the United Nations begs to be abolished. It is a totally bigoted international group with one agenda — cleanse the Earth of Jews. After they are done with Jews, who is next?

  2. Dear Mrs Bokova,

    As you are so supportive of these talks between Israel and the Palestinian representatives, I suggest you retract your decision to postpone and cancel this exhibit. You are quoted as claiming, “We have a responsibility in ensuring that current efforts in this regard are not endangered.” Why do you think that your biased actions against Israel are anything BUT blatant endangerment of these "current efforts"? Do you for a moment think that because Israel actually wants peace, that they will come to the table at all costs, while the Palestinians have to be coerced and appeased before they are PERSUADED to consider that peace MIGHT be in their interests. Maybe it is time that you and your cronies paid some attention to the reality of the world and made some effort to stop brown-nosing to the terrorists and their war mongers and try and appease Israel for a change! Unless, of course, you have other ulterior motives and hidden agendas for discriminating against Israel, as is now the norm for the Organization which you represent… (and still claims to be "neutral")

  3. It's not enough for some people to deny Jewish existence in the present and future. They want to erase you from the past as well. How is this a neutral stance to deny history, whatever that history is? I thought UNESCO was about preserving history and culture, not destroying it.

  4. It's not enough for some people to deny Jewish existence in the present and future. They want to erase you from the past as well. How is this a neutral stance to deny history, whatever that history is? I thought UNESCO was about preserving history and culture, not destroying it.

  5. 500 hundred million Arabs are Semites which include most of the Lebanese and those in the occupied territories. Thus the term anti-Semitism as it only applies to the Jewish people is nonsense.

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