UNESCO pulls Simon Wiesenthal Center exhibit after Arab League objection

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, revealed that UNESCO pulled the center's exhibit on the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. Credit: Maxine Dovere.

(JNS.org) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) pulled a Simon Wiesenthal Center exhibit on the Jewish connection to the land of Israel after the Arab League objected to the display, The Algemeiner reported Thursday. 

“People, Book, Land—The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel” was a project initiated by the Wiesenthal Center after the Palestinian Authority was unilaterally accepted as a UNESCO member state in 2011. Invitations had already gone out for the Jan. 20 opening of the exhibit at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, but “the Arabs protested and they kicked us out,” Wiesenthal Center Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier told The Algemeiner. 

UNESCO broke the news to the Wiesenthal Center in a Jan. 14 letter that said the exhibit “could create potential obstacles related to the peace process in the Middle East.” Abdulla al Neaimi, the president of the Arab group within UNESCO, in a letter to UNESCO President Irina Bokova had expressed “deep worry and great disapproval” about the exhibit, writing that the display’s theme—the age-old Jewish connection to Israel—is “one of the reasons used by the opponents of peace within Israel.”

“The Arabs don’t want the world to know that the Jews have a 3,500-year relationship to the Land of Israel,” Hier said. UNESCO “is not supposed to deny one nation the right to their history,” he said. 

Read the full report by The Algemeiner here.

Posted on January 17, 2014 .