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January 19, 2014 3:29 pm

Simon Wiesenthal Center Welcomes U.S. Support for Exhibit Pulled by UNESCO

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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U.S. Ambassador to United Nations Samantha Powers speaking at the ADL annual conference in New York City, on October 31, 2013. Photo: David Karp / ADL.

U.S. Ambassador to United Nations Samantha Power speaking at the ADL annual conference in New York City, on October 31, 2013. Photo: David Karp / ADL.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said it welcomed a statement from U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power who condemned UNESCO’s abrupt cancellation of its exhibit last week.

The exhibit, two years in the making, was a joint project of UNESCO and the SWC to show the 3,500 year relationship of the Jewish people to the Holy Land. It was cancelled because of a last minute protest by the 22-nation Arab Group at UNESCO.

“The exhibition was already positioned in the UNESCO exhibit hall, and invitations were mailed out, when it was cancelled because the Arab Group claimed it would interfere with Secretary of State Kerry’s Middle East mission,” the SWC said, in a statement. “The fact that Ambassador Power issued her statement shows that the United States feels that the exhibition in no way interferes with Secretary Kerry’s mission.”

According to Reuters, Ambassador Power said:  “UNESCO’s decision is wrong and should be reversed […]. The United States has engaged at senior levels to urge UNESCO to allow this exhibit to proceed as soon as possible. UNESCO is supposed to be fostering discussion and interaction between civil society and member states, and organizations such as the Wiesenthal Center have a right to be heard and to contribute to UNESCO’s mission.”

The SWC said it would hold press conferences on Monday, January 20, 2014, in both Paris and Los Angeles.

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