U.S. chides UNESCO for putting Jewish exhibit on hold

UNITED NATIONS Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:29pm EST

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks in Washington, September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX13A23

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks in Washington, September 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX13A23

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States on Friday criticized UNESCO, the U.N.'s cultural arm, for postponing an exhibition about Jews and the Holy Land due to complaints from Arab member states.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, based in Paris, issued a statement saying it would hold off on the exhibition, which was to be called "People, Book, Land -- The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land," because of concerns that some aspects "might be perceived by member states as endangering the peace process."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, urged UNESCO to rethink the decision on the exhibition, which UNESCO was organizing in cooperation with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"UNESCO's decision is wrong and should be reversed," she said in a statement. "The United States has engaged at senior levels to urge UNESCO to allow this exhibit to proceed as soon as possible."

"UNESCO is supposed to be fostering discussion and interaction between civil society and member states, and organizations such as the Wiesenthal Center have a right to be heard and to contribute to UNESCO's mission," Power said.

UNESCO said its secretariat received a letter from 22 states -- the Arab Group -- expressing their concern that "the planned exhibition could impact negatively on the peace process and current negotiations underway in the Middle East."

"In this context, regrettably, UNESCO had to postpone the inauguration of the exhibition," UNESCO said.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a "two-state solution" in which Jewish and Palestinian states would exist peacefully side-by-side broke down in 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement construction. Peace talks have shown little sign of progress since their revival last year.

The Israeli U.N. mission did not have an immediate reaction.

The Wiesenthal Center said on its website that it would hold a news conference in Paris on Monday to "show the media the exhibition UNESCO didn't want the world to see."

The U.S. position within UNESCO has been weakened since it lost the right to vote last year.

The U.N. organization suspended the voting rights of the United States and Israel in November, two years after both countries stopped paying dues to UNESCO to protest its granting full membership to the Palestinians.

The White House has urged U.S. Congress to resume paying dues in order to regain its vote.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Comments (21)
Serg193 wrote:
Last time I checked, the US hadn’t paid its bill to UNESCO and it so happened that it lost its vote.

Jan 17, 2014 8:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tergen wrote:
the Arab Group — expressing their concern that “the planned exhibition could impact negatively on the peace process and current negotiations underway in the Middle East.”

You can bet that the Truth could completely undermine the false information and propaganda that has been coming from the Arab and Persian Muslims.

Six million Jews on a small piece of land were no threat to the Middle-East until the KKK…excuse me, the Muslims decided killing all the Jews was better than peaceful co-existence.

That plan failed and so now the only hope is misinformation and the rewriting of history.

Jan 17, 2014 8:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
72mgb wrote:
Once again the retrograde barbarians show the world how backwards they are. Can’t deal with the truth…Jews have been in Israel for 3500 years. And the UN, through UNESCO, the most anti-Semitic org in the failed UN, proves that it is time to close the doors of this useless totally arab influenced waste of time and money. It should go just like the League of Nations into the dustbin of history.

Jan 17, 2014 8:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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