NEW YORK (Dec. 30)
Eighty world renowned personalities in the fields of music, dance. and opera signed a petition today declaring that they “refuse to participate” and “disassociate” themselves from the activities of UNESCO. “Our withdrawal will continue until UNESCO rescinds its politicizing resolution directed against Israel.” they said in their petition which was in the form of a letter to Amadou Mahter M’Bow, UNESCO’s Director General in Paris.
The action of protest against UNESCO’s anti-Israel resolutions was announced in a press conference on the stage of Carnegie Hall, with many of the artists attending personally, among them Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Rubinstein and Isaac Stern. Today’s meeting was organized by the Musician’s Committee of Concern for UNESCO, jointly chaired by Bernstein. Stern and other musicians. In explaining their decision to disassociate themselves from UNESCO activities, the artists said:
“UNESCO has utterly discredited itself in the eyes of musicians and dancers the world over by its recent political actions. According to its constitution UNESCO’s aim is to promote cultural collaboration among the nations. This aim is ill served, to say the least, by assigning one nation–Israel to a pariah status.
“Contrary to the report of UNESCO’s own fact-finding committee on excavations in Jerusalem, the General Conference of UNESCO has condemned Israel unjustly, thereby weakening the universal respect for justice.”
Continuing, the artists said: “Contrary to your (M’Bow) own report, the General Conference has misrepresented Israel’s encouragement of cultural growth in such areas as the West Bank, thus crippling the search for truth. Contrary to UNESCO’s constitution, the General Conference has acted as a political tool, thus ignoring its professed aim of promoting the rule of law.”
Last month in Paris UNESCO decided to cut off Israel’s cultural allocation for 1975 and also passed a resolution denying Israel’s request to join the European regional group of UNESCO. Stern, addressing the meeting said, “We are here to express our outrage” against UNESCO’s politicized decisions which are “perversion from its own charter.” He emphasized, however, that the action was taken against UNESCO and not against UNICEF. which has suffered because people confuse the two names.
Bernstein, who introduced the artists and called on them to sign the letter, said that the worst aspect of UNESCO’s resolutions was that it was a “harbinger of worse things to come.” The “eliminating culturally,” he said, is the beginning of “eliminating physically.” He said that he and his friends came to “protest and scream” because “screaming is what has to be done.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Rubiestein said, regarding the anti-Israel resolutions of UNESCO: “They bowed down to oil. They sell the blood of Israel for oil.” Among those who signed the petition were: Marian Anderson, David Bar-Illan, Pierre Boulez, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Vladimir Horowitz, Zubin Mehta, Valery and Galina Panov, Giorgio Tozzi and Richard Tucker.