/ SPECIAL FOR THE AJT /
The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today that its joint exhibition with UNESCO, “Book, People, Land – The 3500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People With the Holy Land”, will open on June 11, 2014, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The date was confirmed today in an exchange of letters between Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“It was simply ludicrous for the 22-Arab states that belong to UNESCO to attempt to torpedo the exhibition, just days before its opening, on the grounds that it interferes with Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to jumpstart the Middle East peace process,” said said Rabbi Hier. “Our exhibition, vetted and approved by both the UNESCO and Wiesenthal Center’s teams, had nothing to do with the peace process,” he added.
Hier also said, “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. It is precisely that narrative that the Arab League did not want the world to know about.”
“It is ironic, that while the Arab League was trying to kill this exhibition and all the attention was focused on Paris, the UN headquarters in New York is hosting an exhibit entitled, ‘Palestine’, based entirely on the Arab narrative, which was not criticized as an interference with Secretary Kerry’s mission,” Rabbi Hier concluded.
The Center wishes to thank US Ambassador Samantha Power, Foreign Minister of Canada John Baird, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai Birth International, the CRIF, and our many supporters from all over the world for weighing in strongly.
The exhibition was written by Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich, and co-sponsored by the governments of Canada, Israel and Montenegro. Members of the exhibition’s honorary committee include: Elie Wiesel; Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury; Boualem Sansal, Algerian author; and Professor Irwin Cotler, former Canadian Justice Minister.
For more information, please contact the Center’s Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook,www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).