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Unesco’s Anti-israel Bias Scored by 23 Nobel Prize Winners. 125 Artists, Scientists and Educators

March 18, 1975
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The organizers of the conference "For the Universality of UNESCO," which met in Paris over the weekend, today released the names of 23 Nobel Prize winners and more than 125 artists, writers, scientists and educators who have announced their support for the conference and protested UNESCO’s anti-Israel discrimination.

The intellectuals, who did not attend the conference but had written to announce their support, included writers Simone de Beauvoir, Frederick Durrenmatt, Josef Kessel, Graham Green and Gunther Grass; cinema director Federico Fellini; and conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein.

The conference also announced that a group of artists and architects who had participated in the construction of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris have decided to stop cooperating with the international organization until it stops discriminating against Israel. The artists, who include Alexander Calder and Joan Miro, called on UNESCO "to remain a vision of hope and not to become a symbol of tragedy."

Eighteen Nobel Prize winners have joined the five who attended the conference in expressing their support For The Universality of UNESCO and in calling on it to rescind its anti-Israel resolutions.


The conference, which held a one-day session with the participation of nearly 100 intellectuals from 19 countries, voted a resolution calling upon all UNESCO member states to convene a special UNESCO Assembly to reconsider and change its anti-Israel resolutions. The participants also unanimously voted to continue working in this spirit after their return to their respective homes and organize national committees whose task will be to ensure that UNESCO’s principles and especially the one dealing with its universality be henceforth respected.

Among those who took an active part in the conference were musicians Arthur Rubinstein and Isaac Stern; writers Eugene Ionesco and James Michener; and five Nobel Prize winners. The conference’s chairman, Nobel Prize winner Andre Lwoff said that UNESCO must remain true to its cultural and scientific spirit and "be kept away from the game of power politics."


Earlier, Lwoff told a French news magazine, Israel Observateur, that Israel’s exclusion from the European regional group of UNESCO was political, and therefore contrary to the existence of the organization. Refuting the theory that Israel was excluded from the UNESCO regional group only on the question of archaeological diggings in Jerusalem, Prof. Lwoff said:

"The problem…is not that of the diggings in Jerusalem….The problem is that by refusing to include Israel in the European group…UNESCO failed seriously in the mission which belongs to it. This is an act of political discrimination which the member states, for diverse reasons, believed good or useful to commit."

"This political action is contrary to the meaning of the organization," the Nobel Prize winner affirmed. "An organism dedicated to education and to culture, cannot, under pain of grave regression, become the closed pasture for political rivalries."

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