Introduction by Wolff Bachner
Perhaps no recent incident illustrates the unrestrained bias towards the Jewish people better than last week’s shameful actions by UNESCO, when Director-General Irina Bokova cancelled a major exhibit about Jewish history in Israel; “People, Book, Land – The 3,500-year relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land.” After 22 Arab states insisted the exhibit would disrupt the Peace Process, UNESCO shamelessly caved-in to tyranny, giving the boot the truth and honor.
Our world has witnessed more than four decades of constant harassment of Israel by the United Nations, illustrating a culture of prejudice and hypocrisy that is aimed directly at the hearts of the Jewish people. To give our readers some useful insight into the seriousness of this bigoted and evil conduct, we begin with an introduction by The Inquisitr’s political columnist, Wolff Bachner, and then we will be joined by our colleague Nidra Poller, who has been following this odious story since it began.
It is a sad and shameful fact that the human race prefers to memorialize dead Jews instead of celebrating a vital and thriving Jewish people. While much of the world makes a splendid show of Holocaust remembrance, they certainly have not shared the same enthusiasm for the rebirth of the State of Israel.
At the end of World War Two, Europe realized if they supported Israeli statehood, they might wash away the stain of genocide, and at the same time, finally get rid of their remaining “pesky Jews.” The United States attempted to cover the shame of doing too little, too late by begrudgingly supporting Israeli statehood in the fledgling United Nations, after closing America’s borders to Jewish immigrants during the war. Britain was only interested in preserving what she could of her dying empire and subsequently broke every promise made to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration.
After the UN voted to partition the Holy Land into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, on November 29 1947, the Arab nations made it clear they would never accept the existence of Israel. The only agreement the Arabs would even consider meant that Israel would never be re-established, the land set aside for the Jewish homeland would become part of an Islamic state named “Palestine”, and Jews would only be permitted to remain alive under Muslim rule as long as “they paid the Jizya with willing submission, and felt themselves subdued.”
From the first moment of that blessed day on May 15, 1948, when the land of Zion was resurrected from the ashes to become modern Israel, the attempt to destroy the Jewish state began. Unable to defeat the out gunned and outnumbered IDF after invading Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, the Arabs began a propaganda war, rewriting history in an attempt to deny the truth of 35 centuries of Jewish life in Israel. Using tools and techniques perfected by Hitler and his Nazis, the Jew haters of the world united to demonize Israel, and like all persistent liars, they are beginning to succeed.
The reasons for the latest assault on Israeli’s sovereignty are easy to understand. The Arabs can not allow any proof that Jews have lived in Israel for the last 3500 years to be revealed or their imaginary narrative that Arab land was illegally given to European Jews as payment for the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust will crumble to pieces.
There is much more to this story than the cancellation of an historical exhibit. This is a struggle for the survival of Israel, cloaked in a vicious campaign of incitement to rob the Jewish people of their history, their identity, and their very soul. We turn to the wisdom of Nidra Poller, who will shed more light on another shameful attempt to steal the heritage of the Jewish Nation Of Israel and crush the spirit of her people.
Only one thing is certain. They will never succeed. Am Yisrael Chai – The People Of Israel Are Forever.
A Slap In The Face To Every Jew – The UN’s Latest Insult To Israel by Nidra Poller
Not surprised but shocked. That’s how Shimon Samuels, Director of International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, described his reaction to the abrupt cancellation on the eve of the exhibition “People, book, land / The 3,500 year relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land.” The exhibition, co-sponsored by the SWC and UNESCO, had been elaborated over a two-year period under the watchful eyes of a series of more or less knowledgeable scholars appointed by UNESCO to weed out any word, image, idea or pebble that might “offend.” For example, “Israel” in the title had to be changed to the “Holy Land.” This and countless other painful concessions granted in the interest of harmony were not enough to spare the sensitivity of the 22 Arab delegations. In a letter addressed to UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova six days before the scheduled opening, they demanded cancellation of the exhibition on the grounds that the “eminently political” theme, which is the “warhorse of the anti-peace camp” in Israel, is detrimental to the negotiations currently spurred by Secretary of State John Kerry. Lacking the courage to oppose the injunction but apparently ashamed of obeying it, Madame Bokova postponed the exhibition… indefinitely.
They had come to Paris for the January 20th inauguration; instead of which they spoke their minds to a slim audience of journalists and members of civil society in a meeting room of a hotel near the Champs Elysées.
“A slap in the face to every Jew,” declared Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. And not only to Jews, attested by the presence of two members of the Honorary Committee, the Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal and the Archbishop emeritus of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton. Sansal is not surprised by the last-minute attack mounted by the Arab delegations. “They did the same thing to me.” Initially awarded the prize for the Arab novel, created by Arab ambassadors to France, Sansal was rejected at the last minute because he had attended the International Writers Festival in Jerusalem. He is calling for an investigation into the shameful behavior of Irina Bokova, an insult to UNESCO, to the authors and sponsors of the exhibition, to French authorities who were supposed to attend the inauguration, and to Arab nations for giving in to their worst impulses.
Rabbi Cooper outlined the meticulous vetting process imposed on the distinguished Hebrew University scholar Robert Wistrrich, author of the exhibition. He held up photos of some of the panels: beginning with “Children of Abraham,” “Biblical Prophets,” “If I forget thee ô Jerusalem: Science, Technology & Human Values,” and ending with “A People of Hope.”
There has been an outpouring of messages of support from individuals and groups, including members of the U.S. Congress. The American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, objects to the cancellation and wants to bring to the UN headquarters in New York. However, the State Department had declined an invitation to join the sponsors—Israel, Canada, and Montenegro—on grounds strangely similar to those expressed by the Arab contingent of UNESCO, namely that the exhibition could somehow disturb the ongoing peace negotiations.
On the contrary, says Rabbi Cooper, telling the truth about the history of the Jewish people is necessary. “Diplomats sign treaties but people make peace. They have to respect each other’s narratives.” He reminds us of a credo shared with Shimon Samuels and inspired by the example of Simon Wiesenthal: we are prepared to stand in ceremonies of remembrance of dead Jews if we are shown respect for living Jews. Rabbi Cooper concluded forthrightly: “UNESCO blew it big time!”
In those difficult times, says Shimon Samuels, when synagogues in France were torched and Jews were brutally attacked “UNESCO helped us create a major venue, the Director General [Koichiro Matsuura] took note of protests from the Arab delegations, and went on with the project. Now it is clear: the very idea of presenting the Jewish narrative is anathema to the Arab countries. And UNESCO capitulates.
The admission of “Palestine” to UNESCO was accompanied by a ravenous hunger for heritage. One of the first operations was seizure of the patrimony of the Church of the Nativity. Simon Wiesenthal said it starts with the Jews but doesn’t end with the Jews. A Museum of Heritage is under construction in Ramallah. The shocking cancelation of this exhibition is another step on the way to erasing our existence.
The Archbishop emeritus of Canterbury expressed his dismay at the disrespect for those who gave so much time and money to creating the exhibition. “We have to get to the bottom of this. What are they objecting to?” Paying tribute to the “enormous gift of the Jewish people to humanity,” Lord Carey asks why Jews shouldn’t be able to show pride in their history, and hopes that UNESCO will soon admit they made a mistake.
Richard Rodier, Paris director of the SWC, spoke almost plaintively of the school visits that had been scheduled, including a Muslim school. What will they think when they learn it was cancelled at the last minute? Rabbi Cooper deplored the “tragedy of Palestinian leadership that feels so threatened by the facts that they launch a campaign to deny the ties… this campaign goes to the heart of Jewish identity… We are waiting for European leaders to speak out.” Shimon Samuels expressed the hope that no Opening [of the exhibition] may be an opening of the eyes of the world.
And there’s the rub. European leaders are not speaking out. Non-Arab delegations at UNESCO have not come forward. The American position is not yet clear. Generalist media, with a few notable exceptions—J.P. Lledo in the Huffington Post France, Claudio Rosett in Forbes—are not shocked, surprised, or interested in this slap in the face. And the usual laconic agency releases hardly convey the enormity of what has occurred.
That UNESCO, following in the path of its mother organization, does the bidding of the OIC is not exactly breaking news. The revelation lies in the unashamed admission by the Arab pressure group that the current peace negotiations are jeopardized by the fact that the Jewish people are bound to the Land of Israel for 3,500 years and forever. Because the negotiations are not stalemated by the lack of factual information. There is not some kind of all too human misunderstanding of the Other. The purpose of the negotiations is precisely to deny the ties between Judaism, the Jews, and the land of Israel. The purpose of the negotiations is to abruptly, at the last minute, cancel Jewish Israel the way the pressure group canceled the exhibition.
Their action at UNESCO is perfectly logical. Two years of painful concessions, chipping away at the intellectual sovereignty of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the author of the exhibition and his collaborators, the sponsors and honorary committee, two years of conciliation, compromise, and swallowing small insults did not lead to UNESCO and the SWC inaugurating side by side in peace and security an exhibition that expresses a Jewish view of history. It led to its real destination: elimination.