Nixed Jews in Israel exhibit to open at UNESCO

(JTA) — 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.

 

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