What an amazing coincidence! The UNESCO Executive Board’s selection of Audrey Azoulay, a Jewish woman, over a Qatari candidate came the day after the United States announced that it intends to pull out of UNESCO because of its alleged anti-Israel bias!
A former French culture minister, Audrey Azoulay was among nine candidates seeking to succeed Irina Bokova as Director-General. She ran against Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in an unusually heated vote that was overshadowed by Middle East tensions.
The news rocked a weeklong election already marked by geopolitical resentments, concerns about the Paris-based agency’s dwindling funding and questions about its future purpose.
Audrey Azoulay was selected as Director-General of UNESCO, and her candidacy will be presented for approval at the UN General Assembly on November 10.
French Culture Minister Azoulay was born in Paris to a Moroccan Jewish family from Essaouira, the city of Mogador. Her father, André Azoulay, is the current adviser to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Her mother, Katia Brami, has written two books about Mogador, the Moroccan city of her birth.
In a shocking move, UNESCO’s Executive Board voted 30 to 28 in favor of the Jew Azoulay against the Arab Abdulaziz al-Kawari!
At one point during her career as a French diplomat, she served as Minister of Culture and was called a “Zionist collaborator” by her Arab adversaries for her sympathies for the State of Israel and her expressed pride in her Jewish-Moroccan heritage.
As the first Jew in the highly controversial position of UNESCO’s director general, it is hoped she will change the organization’s cultural map from anti-Israel attitudes to unbigoted fairness. After all, she has spoken several times against the rise of anti-Semitism and with passion about her Jewish heritage.