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June 12, 2014 3:39 pm

UNESCO Jewish Connection to Israel Exhibit Opens Without ‘Israel’ in Title

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Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, stand by a poster for the Wiesenthal Center exhibit that was pulled by UNESCO before its scheduled Jan. 20 opening. Photo: Simon Wiesenthal Center. The title of a once-delayed United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) exhibit on the Jewish connection to the land of Israel was changed to exclude the word “Israel” before the exhibit opened Wednesday in Paris.

Currently, the display is titled “People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land.” The exhibit was authored by Robert Wistrich, a leading expert on anti-Semitism, for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It consists of 24 panels showcasing the Jewish people’s connection to Israel. UNESCO was originally scheduled to open the exhibit on Jan. 20, but postponed the opening due to objections from the Arab League and received heavy backlash for that decision.

In addition to removing the word “Israel” from the title, UNESCO removed an image of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the invitation to the exhibit’s opening. That image was present in the original invitation from January.

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Wistrich called the ultimate holding of the exhibit a “breakthrough,” but stopped short of expressing praise for UNESCO.

“I’m not praising them. I think they’re doing what they should have been doing in the first place. And I’m very happy that they’re doing it now. That’s not praise. It’s a fact,” he said, reported the Times of Israel.

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