B’nai B’rith International is dismayed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) indefinite postponement of an exhibition at its headquarters in Paris detailing the Jewish people’s 3,500 year history in the land of Israel.
B’nai B’rith has contacted UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to express our dismay with the situation. After the exhibition (which was organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center) was called off, Bokova said it was out of concern of disrupting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. However, by postponing the exhibition, UNESCO is enabling bias and succumbing to pressure exerted by the bloc known as the Arab Group. B’nai B’rith has non-governmental organization status at UNESCO.
UNESCO’s acquiescence to the Arab bloc’s demand is a sign that the organization has once again become politicized, very much contrary to its stated mission. Additionally, notwithstanding the indefinite postponement of the exhibition, this action betrays the Arab Group's real intention, which is to continue to deny the Jewish people's millennia-old connection to the land of Israel.
We urge UNESCO to proceed with the program as planned for Jan. 20.