Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The ZF today slammed the decision by UNESCO to cancel a scheduled exhibition on the historic connection between Israel and the Jewish nation as a ‘dismal capitulation.’ The exhibition, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” was, after several years of preparation and research by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, scheduled to open this week – until it was shelved at the behest of the 22 members of the Arab Group.

ZF chairman Paul Charney elaborates

“The decision by UNESCO – a body that purports to be concerned with educational, scientific and cultural matters – to cancel the exhibition is both a dismal capitulation and nakedly political. To shelve an exhibition after invites have been sent out is grossly insulting to all those who spent years preparing it. But the reason, and reasoning, behind the shelving goes beyond bad manners. It provides us with a microcosm of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The official explanation given was that the Arab members were concerned that the subject matter might harm the chance of a successful outcome to the current peace talks. The opposite is true – the acceptance by Palestinians and the Arab world in general that Israel is not a foreign body, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish nation’s longstanding connection to the land of Israel, is crucial to peace. But instead of defending its principles, the UN is once again paralysed between those unwilling to stand up for Israel in case they rock the boat, and those that just want to throw Israel off the boat altogether. It’s particularly striking given that the UN has just declared 2014 a year of solidarity with the Palestinians – with nary a word about the risk of partiality."