The Simon Wiesenthal Center has been working for two years with UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, to prepare an exhibit on Jewish history which was to open at the Organization’s Paris headquarters on 20 January 2014.
At the last minute, UNESCO has decided not to go ahead with the exhibit. The Algemeiner published an exclusive report on this today (since confirmed in the Jerusalem Post). And with due respect to reporter Dovid Efune for his good work, I believe he has buried the lede.
His piece emphasizes that UNESCO dropped the Jewish exhibit after an objection was lodged by the Arab League. What I would emphasize is that 10 days ago, the Barack Obama State Department withdrew U.S. sponsorship of the exhibit, on grounds virtually identical to those given by the Arab League.
Here’s the Arab League:
“The publicity that will accompany… the exhibit can only cause damage to the peace negotiations presently occurring, and the constant effort of Secretary of State John Kerry, and the neutrality and objectivity of UNESCO.”
And here’s the Obama State Department:
“At this sensitive juncture in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and after thoughtful consideration with review at the highest levels, we have made the decision that the United States will not be able to co-sponsor the current exhibit during its display at UNESCO headquarters,” wrote Kelly O. Siekman, Director at the Office of UNESCO Affairs of the State Department, in an email seen by The Algemeiner.
Elder of Ziyon highlights this in his post on the cancellation (emphasis in original):
Let this sink in for a moment: The official United States position is that publicly acknowledging that Jews have deep historic ties to Israel is a threat to the “peace process.”
But he too emphasizes the Arab League angle.
It’s time to stop giving the Obama administration a pass on these things. Of course the Arab League lodged an objection to the exhibit. The story here is that Obama has betrayed the sentiments of his own people by withdrawing U.S. sponsorship.
What’s so damaging to the peace process, incidentally, about a Jewish history exhibit? According to the Arab League, it’s the evidence it would present of the Jewish people’s long association with the land of Israel. The campaign to suppress that evidence is a new lie, dating only to about the 1960s as a coherent political endeavor. It started with Yasser Arafat and other Arab politicians, and continues today with such grotesqueries as the assertion – made on occasion by Mahmoud Abbas – that “Jesus was a Palestinian.”
The appalling thing, however, is that the U.S. government is throwing in with this campaign, by tacitly agreeing that the historical truth about the Jews and Israel is inimical to “peace.” Elder of Ziyon pretty much sums it up here:
This is beyond disgusting. If the truth must be hidden then you end up with lies, and peace cannot be built on lies. If the US cannot publicly acknowledge that Jews have a deep relationship with their land, then there is no reason for Israel to trust the US. Talking about the “special relationship” rings hollow when basic truths become censored.
It doesn’t even matter why Obama is doing this. What matters is that this is gross misrepresentation of the United States of America.