UNESCO prior to the opening of 2013 General Conference in Paris, France.
Days before it was scheduled to open, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization cancelled an exhibit in Paris entitled, “The People, The Book, the Land: The 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.”
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.
Read More: timesofisrael
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