The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today that its joint exhibition with UNESCO, “Book, People, Land - The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People With the Holy Land”, will open on June 11, 2014, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The date was confirmed in an exchange of letters between Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Photo: UNESCO Director-General Bokova and Rabbi Hier at UNESCO Headquarters in 2011, just days after the vote to admit Palestine into UNESCO.
“It was simply ludicrous for the 22-Arab states that belong to UNESCO to attempt to torpedo the exhibition, just days before its opening, on the grounds that it interferes with Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to jumpstart the Middle East peace process. Our exhibition, vetted and approved by both the UNESCO and Wiesenthal Center’s teams, had nothing to do with the peace process,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier.
“It is ironic, that while the Arab League was trying to kill this exhibition and all the attention was focused on Paris, the UN headquarters in New York is hosting an exhibit entitled, ‘Palestine’, based entirely on the Arab narrative, which was not criticized as an interference with Secretary Kerry’s mission.”
The Center wishes to thank the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, Foreign Minister of Canada John Baird, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ira Forman, Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism to the US State Department, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai Birth International, the CRIF, and our many supporters from all over the world for weighing in so strongly.
The exhibition was written by Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich, and co-sponsored by the governments of Canada, Israel and Montenegro. Members of the exhibition’s honorary committee include: Elie Wiesel; Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury; Boualem Sansal, Algerian author; and Professor Irwin Cotler, former Canadian Justice Minister.
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).