The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation UNESCO has decided to postpone opening a Jewish exhibition at its headquarters in Paris after Arab states protested.
UNESCO’s director general Irina Bokova, who previously signed an agreement with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre to fund the exhibition ‘Jews and the Holy Land,’ decided to put it off after the invitations were distributed. She sent a letter to Simon Wiesenthal Centre about the postponement.
The exhibition was named “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land.”
Bokova said that UNESCO is supporting peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. She said: “We are committed to not spoiling the negotiations.”
The Arab states, members of UNESCO, filed a complaint against the exhibition and said it spoils the ongoing peace negotiations.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that the US criticised the decision and called it “wrong.” The US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power urged UNESCO to rethink the decision on the exhibition. “UNESCO’s decision is wrong and should be reversed,” she said in a statement.
The Wiesenthal Centre is to hold a press conference on Monday to speak about its position.