Readers will recall in January this year, with no advance warning UNESCO pulled the Jewish exhibit two years in the planning and making, entitled
“People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,”
after a last minute protest from the Arab League. Please read here:
The exhibit, was created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) together with UNESCO and was scheduled to open on January 20th, 2014, at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters. The invitations had been sent out and exhibition was already in place. The display was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada and Montenegro.
The show is curated by Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich, a leading international historian, the head of the Hebrew University Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the author of numerous award-winning books.
It tells the history of the Jewish People in the Middle East, from the biblical patriarch Abraham to the present-day State of Israel.
According to the Hebrew University, the main thrust of the show is cultural-historical, with a strong emphasis on the centrality of education, culture and science in the Jewish heritage – values which are part of UNESCO’s credo.
It shows the uninterrupted presence of Jews in the land of Israel for nearly 3,500 years, and the fidelity of Jews to their original homeland through centuries of persecution both in Israel and abroad.
An exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel that had been canceled due to pressure from Arab states will open at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
“Book, People, Land — The 3,500-Year Relationship of the Jewish People With the Holy Land,”
a joint exhibition of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the cultural arm of the United Nations, will open Wednesday. The U.S. State Department, Israel, Canada and Montenegro are official co-sponsors.
The exhibit consists of 30 illustrated panels and explanatory text.
Complaints by Arab member states of UNESCO led to the exhibit’s indefinite cancellation in January. UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said at the time that the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.; the talks ended in April.
“It was not a political statement that belongs to an individual or a party, but simply the collective narrative of the Jewish People — religious, secular, left and right — and their three-and-a-half millennia relationship to the Holy Land,”
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement at the time of the cancellation.
“It is precisely that narrative that the Arab League did not want the world to know about.