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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO’

ISIS Prompts State of Emergency in Tunisia, Declaration of ‘War’ in Egypt

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi has declared a state of emergency in the wake of ISIS (Da’esh) attacks on its soil, according to the state-run TAP news agency. The president made the move in response to the massacre by Da’esh terrorists of dozens of tourists on a hotel beach in the town of Sousse a scant week ago, according to TAP.

Not since the 2011 Jasmine Revolution that deposed former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has the country’s government declared a state of emergency. At least 38 foreign tourists were slaughtered during the attack, most of the British and more than a hundred others were wounded.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Sunday (July 5) the UK will erect a permanent memorial in Britain to honor the victims of that horrific attack. A second monument will be created to honor victims of other terror attacks overseas as well, he said.

Da’esh followed up the massacres – which also included additional murders in France, Kuwait and Kobani, Syria – with massive attacks by affiliates in the Sinai Peninsula and an announcement of executions at the ancient ruins of Palmyra.

Last week the ISIS-linked “Sinai Province” terror group formerly called Ansar Bayt al Maqdis launched attacks on Egyptian soldiers and police in 15 locations in the Sinai Peninsula.

Making it clear the government views the attacks by Da’esh as an existential threat, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi cut short a visit to Ethiopia and flew home to take command of what he has called the “war” on terror.

El-Sisi also called on Israel to cooperate with Egypt in any battle against Da’esh that might flow over the Gaza border. Israel has agreed to allow Egypt to beef up its troops in Sinai beyond the restrictions of the current peace treaty between the two nations. In addition, the Israel Defense Forces went to high alert last week along the southern border and has closed Highway 12, which traverses the southern Negev from the coast to Eilat, indefinitely.

The precautions were well advised: On Friday, Da’esh launched a triple rocket attack from the Sinai Peninsula against southern Israel; miraculously, none of the Grad Katyusha missiles reached residential areas.

On Saturday, Egypt launched air strikes against the group’s stronghold at Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai, eliminating 12 terrorists and destroying caches of weaponry and explosives, according to security sources. El-Sisi visited the province to inspect the site where some of the bloodiest battles in years have taken place.

Sinai Province is hoping to oust the Egyptian president who removed the Muslim Brotherhood-backed former President Mohamed Morsi two years ago after a year of constant street protests against his Islamist regime.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization was also spawned by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood; IDF sources told journalists last week there is evidence proving that Hamas has been actively helping Sinai Province in its battles against the Egyptian government forces.

Da’esh also released a video Saturday (July 4) showing the mass execution of at least 27 Syrian Army soldiers in the ruins of the Roman Theater in the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Experts who viewed the video estimated that the executions had taken place shortly after Da’esh seized control of the site, sometime in late May.

UNESCO Director Rejects Palestine Entry to ‘Memory of the World’ Program

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

In a surprising turn of events, the director-general of UNESCO herself, Irina Bokova has blocked the approval of a collection of posters entered to the agency’s Memory of the World program.

The 1,700-poster collection passed its initial review by an advisory board, despite inclusion of numerous posters extolling the virtues of terrorism, suicide bombings and even one praising the 1978 coastal road massacre – known as the bloodiest terror attack in the history of the reborn State of Israel.

The International Memory of the World Register was created to preserve archival holdings of “world significance and outstanding universal value.”

An international advisory board reviews nominations, which then are sent to the director-general.

For the first time, however, Irina Bokova said she would reject the collection sent by “Palestine.”

“In my capacity of Director General of UNESCO, I will oppose any such proposal for inscription,” she wrote on December 23, 2014, to Helena Asamoah-Hassan, chair of the advisory board.

She explained that a number of the posters were “totally unacceptable and run counter to the values of UNESCO and its aspirations to build peace in the minds of men and women.”

A similar response was sent to the Palestinian Authority representative to UNESCO, Elias Sanbar. Inclusion of the collection in UNESCO’s Memory of the World, said Bokova, could promote “hate and anti-Semitism.”

The World Jewish Congress had also protested the nomination, and to its CEO, Robert Singer, Bokova replied, “Some of these posters are offensive. It is my conviction that UNESCO should not associate itself with such documents whose inscription could fuel hatred and anti-Semitic perceptions.”

Some of the posters featured the universal themes of struggling for liberation and peace; there were motifs with white doves and barbed wire, for instance.

But not all of the collection is about art and not all of it was generated by Palestinians, for that matter, despite a claim of “the Palestinian poster” by Dan Walsh, owner and curator of the Palestine Poster Project Archives.

“The significance for the genre is that it’s been recognized by an international body,” Walsh said last fall, while UNESCO’s advisory board was reviewing the collection. “Up until now, the Palestine poster has sort of existed in the shadows, it hasn’t really been legitmated. The artwork – the art of the Palestinian revolution, of the Palestinian liberation struggle – has not been legitimated in the West. It’s been considered anti-Semitic, or anti-Israeli, or patently unacceptable for mainstream consumption. I think this nomination has the potential to change that.”

The collection nominated for the program was described as having been created by Palestinian and international artists “in solidarity with the quest for Palestinian self-determination,” according to the UNESCO website.

The Liberation Graphics Collection of Palestine Posters that was submitted for inclusion to the program can be viewed here.

The vast majority of the collection is comprised of posters relating to hatred of Israel and Jews, and which glorify terrorism, murder and violence. Many include pictures of weapons and some depict scenes of Israel or Jews having been destroyed.

One interesting poster was that from an ad campaign rejected by the New York City Mass Transit Authority (MTA) in 2011, which was not created by a Palestinian at all. Nor was it specific to “Palestine.”

Paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (Atlas Shrugged), the poster reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The MTA said at the time that its standards required it to reject ads that contained language that demean individuals or groups of individuals, citing Section 5.05(B)(11) of the MTA’s advertising standards handbook.

Beit Guvrin

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Long before Hamas, there were caves and underground cities in Israel, which the Jews used to fight against the invading Romans.

This is a video of Beit Guvrin, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Battir بتير – Ancient Jewish Heritage Site

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

UNESCO has declared the village of Battir, south of Jerusalem, with its 2000 year old stone terraces and irrigation system, as a World Heritage Site. The Arabs are claiming this as a victory for “Palestine” and calling it a “Palestinian Heritage Site”.

“Battir”, of course, is an Arab bastardization of the original name, “Betar”, best known as Bar-Kochva’s last stronghold against the Romans in the Jewish Revolt, the battle for Jewish re-independence from the invading Roman Empire, 2000 years ago.

It gets better.

The Arab village is built around an ancient site the Arabs call, “Khirbet el-Yahud“. In English that translates into… wait for it… “The ruins of the Jews”.

That’s right.

The Arabs, with their own naming, acknowledge their settlement is illegally occupying land that belongs to the Jewish People.

An ancient city and fortress of the Jews.

The town is also the burial site of the Tanna, Rabbi Elazar HaModai.

As you know, when the ancient terraces and irrigation system were built 2000 years ago, there were no “Palestinians” in the Land of Israel. Just us Jews and the Roman invaders.

The Romans are long gone. We Jews are still here.

UNESCO Exhibition to Detail Jewish History in Land of Israel

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will launch an exhibition entitled “People, Book, Land: The 3500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land  tomorrow at the organization headquarters in Paris.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to run last winter, but was cancelled in response to Arab pressure. UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said at the time that the decision to censor the show “arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

The show is curated by Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich, a leading international historian, the head of the Hebrew University Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the author of numerous award-winning books. It tells the history of the Jewish People in the Middle East, from the biblical patriarch Abraham to the present-day State of Israel.

According to a statement released today by Hebrew University, the main thrust of the show is cultural-historical, with a strong emphasis on the centrality of education, culture and science in the Jewish heritage – values which are part of UNESCO’s credo. It shows the uninterrupted presence of Jews in the land of Israel for nearly 3,500 years, and the fidelity of Jews to their original homeland through centuries of persecution both in Israel and abroad.

UN Group Compares Boycott of Israeli Academics to Nazi Practice

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Of all the surprising opponents of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the American Studies Association, perhaps the most surprising is one that has not yet received any attention.

A small but official organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) came out with an unabashedly strong criticism of the ASA boycott in one of the very first waves of condemnations.

And, unlike most of the university presidents’ condemnations, this one aimed its spear directly at, and through, the double standard towards the Jewish State, otherwise known as anti-Semitism, that really is the foundation upon which the boycott movement in general, and the ASA’s boycott in particular, rests.

The statement comes from the Board of Trustees of the American Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, also known as the American Bioethics Culture Institute.

This diverse board was created three years ago. Its purpose is “to explore and develop materials based upon an understanding of the psychology of clinical and ethical decision making under conditions of uncertainty when there is great moral and personal hazard.”

The statement was issued on Dec. 27, immediately after the ASA stated its boycott intentions.

These ethical pillars did not softly and safely mumble a mere no-vote. The statement expresses the views of the group directly, succinctly and without artifice, starting with being “appalled” by the boycott as “contrary to the fundamental principles of academic freedom.”  It continues:

In many of Israel’s academies, Israeli and Palestinian students of all ages continue to learn and study together. Rather than promoting peace, the ASA’s action promotes further isolation for all peoples in the region and negates the importance and vitality of academic discourse. Their action is to be condemned by all those advocating for stabilization and peace in the Middle East. While ASA may make the misleading claim that its actions are an exercise of academic freedom, in singling out Israeli academics for such a boycott, our Unit’s work indicated that this immoral boycott, though not intended, is far more akin to actions of prominent Nazi academics in the early 1930’s, such as those German physicians who took leadership positions in the Nazi party and singled out their Jewish colleagues for boycott and expulsion from academic life and professional societies.

There are critics who will reflexively leap to a particularly noxious standard response to defending Israel. That position dismissively claims that all criticism of Israel elicits a reference either to anti-Semitism or to the Holocaust. Its ridicule is meant to silence all such references, even when the comparison is apt.

How much more apt is the case here, where the authors of the statement are experts on bioethics in general, whose focus is making sure that marginalized groups are not subject to discrimination, whether in genetics or in academia.

One of the ABCI board members, Dr. Omar Sultan Haque, is the lead author of an academic analysis of why such a large percentage of German physicians entered the Nazi party.

Haque, a medical ethicist, physician and psychologist at Brown University Medical Center, is also on staff at Harvard Medical School. Haque, in responding to a query from The Jewish Press, said that “drawing an analogy between American academics and the German physicians is not too much of a stretch, as both suggest deep anti-Semitism.” He also believes it appropriate to apply a term to today’s academics that was coined by his colleague, Dr. Harold Bursztajn.

The term Bursztajn coined is “ethicogenesis,” and it means “the ability of human beings to rationalize even the most unethical behavior in the name of ‘ethics.'”

Bursztajn is the co-director of ABCI. He is a faculty member of Harvard Medical School and is the co-founder of the program on Law and Psychiatry at the School. A remarkably accomplished man, Bursztajn is closer to the issue of the Shoah than are his colleagues, because both his parents were resistance fighters in the Lodz Ghetto during World War II.

UNESCO: Postponing ‘Jewish Connection to Israel’ Exhibit to June

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

A brouhaha broke out last week after UNESCO summarily canceled the opening of an exhibit it had long-promised to co-sponsor with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

UNESCO’s reason for the last-minute cancellation was that it had been told by the Arab League that the exhibition might adversely impact the ongoing “peace process” negotiations intended to achieve peace between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21 – the day after the scheduled opening – UNESCO posted a notice on its website:

Following numerous requests for information regarding the Exhibition, “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land,” UNESCO wishes to reaffirm that the exhibition has not been cancelled but postponed.

UNESCO is in discussions with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to finalize the last points and inaugurate the exhibition in the month of June.


This announcement might lead one to think that the exhibit wasn’t quite ready.  You certainly would not know, although it is true, that at the time of the original “postponement,” the exhibition materials had already been hung on the walls, thousands of invitations had been sent out, and people were already arriving in Paris in anticipation of the opening event at UNESCO’s headquarters.

This is what actually went down:

Last Tuesday, Jan. 14, the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sent a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that despite having agreed two years ago to co-sponsor an educational exhibition, which was vetted by UNESCO-sponsored academics, about the relationship between the Jews and the Holy Land, UNESCO was summarily cancelling the exhibition opening, scheduled for the following Monday, Jan. 20.

Two years in the planning? Two years of paying academics, gathering materials, flying internationally acclaimed historians and other experts in and out, restoring the materials so that they could be displayed. But on the very day that the very first peep was heard from the Arab League, and on the basis of the League’s position – without any room for discussion, negotiation or representation – the exhibit was cancelled.

The leaders of the Wiesenthal Center, dean and founder Rabbi Marvin Hier, and associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, immediately dashed off a letter to Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director-general.

They started out reminding the good madam that the SWC had followed every request and condition laid down by UNESCO in order to ensure a smooth process and a successful event. Then they reminded her that she was the one who put her own signature on the agreement to launch the joint undertaking. And then they told her what they expected of her:

we insist that you live up to your responsibilities and commitments as the co-organizer of this exhibition by overturning this naked political move that has no place in an institution whose mandate is defined by education, science, and culture — not politics. Failure to do so would confirm to the world that UNESCO is the official address of the Arab narrative of the Middle East.

Rabbi Cooper spoke with The Jewish Press on Thursday, Jan. 16. In Cooper’s view, the exhibition was not pulled because of the content. It is a purely historical body of work. And if there are critics out there who cannot believe the SWC could be trusted to ensure absolute honesty and partiality about the topic, surely the UNESCO-appointed academics made sure that was the case.

“No, pulling the exhibition had nothing to do with the content, it was simply the very idea – truth or not – that Jews have had a 3,500 years long relationship with the Holy Land” that the Arab League could not permit and the League’s displeasure was not something UNESCO could abide for even a single day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/unesco-postponing-jewish-connection-to-israel-exhibit-to-june/2014/01/22/

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