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March 4, 2015 6:41 pm

UNESCO Chief Condemns Second International Iranian Holocaust Cartoons Contest

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the rise of antisemitism in Europe and the Middle East. Photo: World Jewish Congress.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned Iran’s Second International Holocaust Cartoons Contest in a meeting with World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer in Paris on Tuesday.

The pair also discussed efforts to combat the rise of antisemitism in Europe and the Middle East.

“On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I would like to thank Director-General Bokova for both her stand against the Palestine-themed posters and her condemnation of Iran’s Holocaust cartoons contest,” Singer said. “I look forward to building a stronger partnership with UNESCO and continuing to work together to address issues of antisemitism.”

Bokova and Singer also spoke about the protection of Jewish cultural sites in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, and UNESCO’s stance on issues involving Israel. Both parties stressed the importance of addressing antisemitism through UNESCO and building a stronger relationship between the two organizations, according to a joint statement.

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“The World Jewish Congress has been a partner in UNESCO since 1962 and I hope to strengthen our ties and cooperation,” Bokova said. “Combating the recent rise of antisemitism in Europe through UNESCO is one of my top priorities and I believe that a strong partnership with the World Jewish Congress will be necessary to address this issue.”

Bokova recently vetoed the inclusion of Palestine-themed posters in UNESCO’s world heritage register, saying the documents could fuel antisemitic sentiments. In a letter written last month to Singer, who criticized the register’s initial acceptance of the Palestinian poster collection, Bokova wrote: “It is my conviction that UNESCO should not associate itself with such documents whose inscription could fuel hatred and antisemitic perceptions.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, both Bokova and Singer expressed appreciation for each other’s support on the issue.

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