Anti-Israel UNESCO caves in to Arab pressure

The Jewish exhibit, ready to be shown by UNESCO, but cancelled due to Arab pressure

We have become so used to the blatant anti-Israel bias at the United Nations that we hardly bat an eyelid any more when yet another anti-Israel resolution is passed, whether overtly critical of Israel or whether disguised as “pro-Palestinian”.  Yet the UN surpassed itself once again this week with a blatant caving in to Arab pressure.

Just mere days before it was about to take place, Arab League pressure persuaded UNESCO to cancel an event displaying the Jewish ties to the Land of Israel throughout history:

The exhibit, created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada, and Montenegro. SWC worked closely with UNESCO on the exhibit since 2011, when UNESCO accepted Palestine as a member state, the first UN body to do so.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova decided to cancel the event after Arab states in UNESCO protested, arguing it would harm the peace process. “We have a responsibility in ensuring that current efforts in this regard are not endangered,” Bokova wrote in a letter to the Wiesenthal Center.

The peace process is “at a delicate stage,” UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General Eric Fait wrote to the Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday, in a letter made available to The Times of Israel, “and UNESCO is keen to maintain an atmosphere conducive to the negotiations.” Therefore, wrote Fait, “we will have to postpone the exhibition to a later date.”

The event was scheduled to run from January 21 through January 30 at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters. It has been repeatedly delayed for the past two years, with organizers repeatedly bowing to UNESCO demands to make changes in the displays and literature at the event.

The Wiesenthal Center is slated to hold a press conference on Monday to discuss the cancellation.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s dean and founder, responded to Bokova in a letter expressing shock and dismay that the exhibition was being pulled. “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,” Hier wrote in his letter, which was also made available to The Times of Israel. “Failure to do so would confirm to the world that UNESCO is the official address of the Arab narrative of the Middle East.”

Hier added, “Madame Director General, we have now reached a crucial moment in which you must decide what UNESCO is all about. If you allow the bullying of the Arab Group to derail the presentation of our historical, cultural, and non-political exhibition, then UNESCO will be sending an unmistakable signal to the American people and its elected representatives and to the Canadian people and its elected representatives that it has defaulted on its historic mandate and is now allowing itself to be hijacked by those with a vindictive political motivation.”

[…]

Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, said that the excuse to shelve the event was “mean and stupid,” according to Israel Radio.

Here is the “reasoning” that the Arabs used to persuade UNESCO:

Abdulla al Neaimi, president of UNESCO’s Arab group, wrote in a letter to Bokova that the ”subject of this exhibition is highly political though the appearance of the title seems to be trivial. Most serious is the defense of this theme which is one of the reasons used by the opponents of peace within Israel. The publicity that will accompany… the exhibit can only cause damage to the peace negotiations presently occurring, and the constant effort of Secretary of State John Kerry, and the neutrality and objectivity of UNESCO.”

“For all these reasons, for the major worry not to damage UNESCO in its… mission of support for peace, the Arab group within UNESCO is asking you to make the decision to cancel this exhibition,” he concluded, according to Algemeiner.

No one from the Arab League or UNESCO has satisfactorily explained how or why such an exhibit, which is supposed to educate about historical facts, should harm the peace process or UNESCO.  In fact, as we all know very well, it is the very denial by the Arabs of the Jewish link to the Land of Israel which is at the root of the entire Middle East conflict.  They cannot bring themselves to admit to this Jewish link for it will undermine their entire cause, and in this denial of Jewish history they are aided and abetted by a compliant international community.

By now we are not surprised by any of these hypocritically weaselly moves by the Arabs, but it is a disgrace that a “respected” international institution such as UNESCO should connive at, and then cave in to such outrageous pressure.

On the other hand, UNESCO is not such a respectable institution after all, as UN Watch notes:

If the notorious UN Human Rights Council dedicates a full 50 percent of its resolutions to demonizing the Jewish state, at UNESCO the numbers are 100 percent.
That’s right: all of UNESCO’s condemnatory resolutions are against Israel.
First, consider the facts:
  • In 2009, the UNESCO Executive Board adopted eight resolutions against the Jewish state at its 181st session and 182nd session, and then another two resolutions against Israel at the 35th session of the General Conference.
  • In 2010, the UNESCO Executive Board adopted 10 decisions against Israel at its 184th session and 185th session.
  • In 2011, the UNESCO Executive Board again adopted 10 decisions against Israel at its 186th session and 187th session, and another two resolutions against Israel at the 36th session of the General Conference.

Astonishingly, during this same time period, an examination of all UNESCO decisions and resolutions — just click on the links above — shows that not a single other country was censured even once.

Why Israel allows UNESCO even the slightest foothold in the country is a mystery to me given this incredible antipathy and bias.

Compounding the outrage at the cancelled Jewish exhibit, it was revealed that the US State Department did not object at first to UNESCO’s cancellation of the exhibit. Even though they later corrected their diplomatic “error”, Liberty’s Spirit reports that:

However, the US State Department did not support the exhibit from the outset as a sponsor even though requested they do so.

Read the rest of Liberty Spirit’s article on the miserable behaviour of the State Department towards Israel. None of it is a surprise but seeing that list of so many recent events is terribly depressing.

UN anti Israel biasAdding insult to injury, the United Nations announced the launching of 2014 as a Year of Solidarity with the Palestinians:

Ron Prosor, Israel’s envoy to the United Nations condemned on Thursday the UN over its declaration of its International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“The UN is used as a tool in the service of Palestinian propaganda. Instead of trying to end the campaign of Palestinian incitement against Israel, the UN provides a stage for Palestinian productions for the media,” Prosor said.

“While the Palestinians seek UN solidarity, they continue to educate an entire generation to hate Israel and deny the connection between the Jewish people to their homeland,” he added. “It’s time to stop the hypocrisy and ask, where is solidarity with the victims of terrorism in Israel and their families?”

Earlier Thursday, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon launched the beginning of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinians.

“This will be a critical year for achieving the two-state solution, bringing an end to the occupation that started in 1967, and securing an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine living in peace and security with the State of Israel where each recognizes the other’s legitimate rights,” Ban said in a statement.

On November 26, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution A/68/12 that calls on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (UNISPAL) to “organize activities to be held during the year.” In the same week, the General Assembly passed six resolutions concerning Israel and marked the one-year anniversary of the recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.

I actually see a silver lining to this absurd cloud. The UN has declared only one year in solidarity with the Palestinians? I thought it was a built-in feature, made to last forever.

One year? I think we can live with that.  I wonder what will happen when the Year of Solidarity with the Palestinians draws to a close. Do you reckon it will be time for a Year of Solidarity with Israel? Answers on a postage stamp please.

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14 Responses to Anti-Israel UNESCO caves in to Arab pressure

  1. Betty says:

    The fact that the excuse is the patently absurd one that it is linked to the “peace process” and the other fact is that the US have distanced themselves from the exhibition makes one believe that this is just another little thorn in Israel’s back, ie cooperate with Kerry or we will deny you our protection and or support in any international forum .(nudge nudge wink wink) . ” Get the message you obstinate Jews! You need us!!”

  2. Reality says:

    Its blatantly clear that its time for Israel to remove itself from all theings to do with US UNESCO & all the other NGO’s. We should start looking for real friends elsewhere.

    • anneinpt says:

      Find us the real friends, besides Canada and Australia, and I’m with you.

      Actually it has been suggested many times that the real democratic nations of the world should make a new UN, and then Israel should leave the UN and join this new league. But it’s not going to happen. Not in our lifetimes anyway.

  3. ealha3 says:

    There is the possibility that suggests an over arching basis for the continued unobjectionable membership by Israel with the UN and any of the agencies that would accept it. There may be some super intellect working a program publicly exposing the stupidity and bigotry of the bamboozled Islamic union of UN Arabs and their sycophants with their relentless anti-Semitic bigoted attacks. The UN remains, although significantly in disrepute, a world-wide forum of international publicity of the character of its members. By now, much of the civilized international community, including, but not limited to Canada, Australia, France and even the US have had enough of the embarrassment of defending UN members that openly advocate genocide. UNESCO is just another self-defeating example of Arabs’ effort to shamelessly justify their anti-Semitic objective to kill Jews and Christians. Keep giving them rope and shhhh. don’t tell anyone…

    • anneinpt says:

      Indeed there “may” be some super intellect working at a huge double bluff to expose the UN’s hypocrisy – but somehow I doubt it. Nice try though. 🙂

      Seriously, even though it’s likely that the civilized world has had enough of the hypocrisy at the UN I don’t see these countries do anything, or not nearly enough, to fix it. They almost never condemn the anti-Israel resolutions, they hardly ever come to Israel’s defense – so their embarrassment notwithstanding, it’s obviously not enough to make them take real action. That in itself is part of the problem. They just exacerbate the hypocrisy.

  4. JudyPT says:

    I absolutely agree with Reality above Any organisation with the letters UN infront eg Unrra,Unhra Unesco, etc are automatically suspect as their sole purpose seemsto be to villify and delegitimise Israel. Why do we take any notice of them? We should get out of the UN completly as there is such a built in bias against us there. Talking of Unrwa why on earth is this disgusting agency still around? No other “refugees” have their own private protection agency keeping them to use as political pawns to harrass Israel.Have you not heard of their anti Israel school books which Unrha supplies? Time to close down this anti semitic group.

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree with you 100% about the UN. But for all we know there are some hidden advantages to our belonging to it.

      I wish someone in Israeli foreign politics would write a public report explaining to us the pros and cons of belonging and/or leaving the UN, and then put our membership to a domestic referendum.

    • anneinpt says:

      Ha, as I wrote my comment I spotted this article from the JPost, which says that the UK Parliament is now investigating the UK’s contributions to UNRWA. Hallelujah! Of course, they might come to the conclusion that it’s all OK, but it would be nice to think they’ll cut their funding to this corrupt organization.

  5. PeteCA says:

    “We should start looking for real friends elsewhere.”

    that will be the important step for Israel going forwards.
    establish real friends, and primarily just deal with them.
    don’t worry about other people.
    and to be quite honest, I am also seeing the same thing happening at a local level with peoples’ personal relationships. many people around the world are losing faith in large institutions. so they are just keeping the relations with their real friends alive.
    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree that it’s a nice and comforting thought for Israel to find and stick with “real friends”. The trouble is that in politics and diplomacy, there are no friendships, only interests (was that Churchill who said that?). So even though Canada and Australia are Israel’s best friends today, there’s no guarantee that they will stay this way after another election. And the opposite is true too. Maybe after the next elections Israel will find a true friend in the White House. It’s happened before.

      This being the case, Israel needs to mark out its own self-interests and red lines, and stick to them publicly and loudly, and not let itself be swayed by international pressure.

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