UNESCO Chief Urged to Take Action to Rescind Anti-israel Actions

Dr. Ahamdou M’Bow, director general of UNESCO, was urged by groups of prominent American scholars, artists and writers in two separate meetings at UN headquarters yesterday and today to take action that will lead his agency to rescind its resolutions aimed at the isolation and censure of Israel. Both groups indicated that they would not cooperate with UNESCO as long as its purposes continue to be distorted and compromised by politicization.

M’Bow was visited yesterday by an academic group headed by Prof, Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Laureate in economics and professor of econom- ics at Harvard University. Arrow told a press conference after their two-hour meeting with the UNESCO chief that they were impressed with M’Bow’s commitment “to the universality of UNESCO.”

He said M’Bow was confident that the next general conference of UNESCO, to be held next year, would accept the recommendation made by its executive board two weeks ago, to rescind the resolution barring Israel from the agency’s European regional grouping. But the director general was less optimistic about the prospects that UNESCO would lift its censure of Israel for its archaeological excavations in Jerusalem that allegedly altered the character of that city, Arrow said.

URGE ELIMINATION OF SANCTIONS

This morning, M’Bow received a delegation of writers and artists, headed by playwright Arthur Miller, which included author James Michener; actress Shelley Winters; the Black civil rights activist Bayard Rustin; jazz musician Lionel Hampton; and composer Cy Coleman.

Miller told a press conference later that the purpose of his group, by standing up for Israel’s rights at UNESCO, is to “prevent the unravelling of UNESCO” because “if this takes place, the unravelling of the UN itself is on the agenda.” He said they appealed to M’Bow to “take the required steps to eliminate the sanctions against Israel and thereby restore UNESCO to its constitutional principles and purposes.”

Rustin, who heads the newly formed Black Americans to Support Israel Committee (BASIC), told the press conference that his committee sent letters to all African delegations at the UN before the Third Committee’s vote last Friday urging them not to support the Arab-inspired resolution equating Zionism with racism. Rustin said that only eight delegations replied and those abstained in the vote. The delegations that supported the resolution did not even bother to reply, Rustin said.

The scholars who accompanied Prof. Arrow at yesterday’s meeting told M’Bow they would not cooperate with UNESCO as long as any member state is excluded from its activities.

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