The Obama administration is “deeply disappointed” with a decision by UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural arm, to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel and is seeking its placement “as soon as possible.”One can almost see the crocodile from which the Arab League's tears emerge:
Complaints by Arab states led UNESCO to cancel the exhibition, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center along with the governments of Canada and Montenegro. It was scheduled to open Jan. 20 at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“The United States is deeply disappointed and has engaged with senior levels at UNESCO to confirm that the action to postpone does not represent a cancellation and to underscore our interest in seeing the exhibit proceed as soon as possible,” a State Department official said, speaking on customary anonymity. “We trust that UNESCO will approach this issue fairly and in a manner consistent with the organization’s guidelines and past precedent.”
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said Wednesday in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the exhibit, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” would be postponed indefinitely. She said the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The cancellation followed a letter sent to Bokova on Jan. 14 by the Arab group at UNESCO. “The Arab group is deeply disturbed by the exhibition, which it condemns,” said the letter from the group’s president, Abdullah Elmealmi.If peace talks are so fragile such that acknowledging Jews have a connection to Israel will damage them, surely we are doomed. Though I suppose that all depends on what terms one expects "peace" to occur on.
“This cause is championed by those who oppose peace efforts,” Elmealmi said. “The media campaign accompanying the exhibition will inevitably damage the peace talks, the incessant efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UNESCO’s neutrality.”
UPDATE: UNESCO's statement is here.
UPDATE 2x: It now appears that the exhibit will open in June after a six month delay.