MEXICO CITY (Jul. 29)
Israel’s war with the Palestine Liberation Organization flared at the international conference on cultural rights convened here by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Bitter anti-Israel speeches by Arab delegates and their Communist bloc and Third World allies dominated the sessions despite a plea by Mexico’s Minister of Education and Culture, Fernando Solana, to the delegates not to “politicize” the conference.
Arab charges against Israel were answered by equally fierce counter charges by the Israeli delegate, Eliezer Shmueli, and the representatives of international Jewish organizations attending the conference as non-governmental consulting agencies. The angry exchanges are widely covered by the Mexican news media and televion which have been sharply critical of Israel’s actions in Lebanon.
PLO FALSIFIES BIBLICAL HISTORY
UNESCO is being asked by the PLO to endorse a massive falsification of Biblical history in order to “legitimize the unchanging PLO objective of destroying the State of Israel,” charged Philip Lax of Maplewood, N.J., chairman of the International Council of B’nai B’rith, one of the non-governmental agencies with official status at the conference. He told a press conference that his delegation was distressed to find “a measure of support for this massive fraud” among delegates, including some from Latin American countries.
Lax said one of the claims being made by the PLO is that Jesus and St. Paul were not Jews but Palestinian Arabs. The PLO has also transformed the ancient and long extinct Amorites, Hittites and others into Palestinian Arabs, he said. “In the guise of promoting Palestinian Arab culture, the PLO appears intent on wiping out official intergovernmental reference to the historic culture of the Jews,” Lax said.
He noted that in contrast, Israel has just increased its requirements for the study of Arabic. “Israel is virtually unique in that its Arab teachers teach the Arab minority their own language, culture and history and their first language and culture,” he said. He urged the delegates not to submit to “cultural piracy” or to PLO efforts to rewrite history.
REJECTS ‘PALESTINIAN LIES’
Shmueli categorically rejected “Palestinian lies” about “genocide and Nazi tactics” used by the Israeli army against civilians in Lebanon. He claimed the Israeli army is the most humane in the world and makes special efforts to save civilian lives and provide medical care and food for children. He justified the war in Lebanon, declaring that “Israel has the right and power to combat terrorism … No country in the world, nor Mexico nor Venezuela, would tolerate terrorist acts against its civilians.”
The Israeli delegate’s assertion that “There is not one word of truth in (PLO chief Yasir) Arafat’s declarations about UN resolutions regarding Israel’s right to exist” seemed to be confirmed by the PLO delegate, Omar Massalma, who told reporters “We will never recognize Israel, our executioner.”
In addition to the B’nai B’rith, other delegations fighting the Arab charges include the World Jewish Congress, the International League for Human Rights and the Central Jewish Committee of Mexico.