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February 4, 2015 1:47 pm

Head of UNESCO Vetoes Palestinian Posters, Citing Concerns Over Antisemitism

avatar by Ben Cohen

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UNESCO expressed fear that some of the Palestinian posters would 'fuel hatred and antisemitism.' Image:

The head of UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, has a rejected a collection of Palestinian propaganda posters  submitted to the organization’s world heritage register on the grounds that the images and words they contain fuel antisemitism.

The decision marks the first time that UNESCO has vetoed a nomination for inclusion in its “Memory of the World” program. In a letter to World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, declared: “It is my conviction that UNESCO should not associate itself with such documents whose inscription could fuel hatred and anti-Semitic perceptions.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish NGO which holds consultative status with UNESCO and has forged close relationships with Bokova and her predecessors, hailed the move. “We’re grateful that Mrs. Bokova intervened under the rules of UNESCO,” Cooper told The Algemeiner. “This episode also reflects the fact that the cultural front remains one of the most important battlegrounds for the Palestinians and their supporters.”

Cooper pointed out that the Palestinians, who were admitted to UNESCO as a full member in 2011, have sought not only to achieve recognition of their independent statehood, but to delegitimize Israel in the process. “What UNESCO says and does absolutely has an impact on world politics as well as culture,” he observed.

Many of the Palestinian posters submitted to UNESCO endorse violence or echo antisemitic themes. One poster features an image of Dalal Mughrabi, the female Palestinian terrorist who in 1978 carried out the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history, in which 38 Israelis were murdered on a hijacked bus near Tel Aviv. Another, from 1982, commemorates the massacre of Palestinian civilians by Christian militiamen in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon by showing a bleeding body suspended on a yellow Star of David.

In January 2014, UNESCO courted controversy when it canceled an exhibition at its Paris headquarters on the 3,500 year relationship between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. After an outcry, the exhibition opened in June last year with the title, “The 3,500 year relationship of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Cooper singled out Bokova’s role in enabling the exhibition to go ahead. “She not only ensured that the exhibition was presented, she also spoke at the launch,” he pointed out.

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  • I don’t have any other dream, but I’m so sure that Israel will live forever !
    Even if like it or not.

  • The world terror leaders in the world is : Al Kaida, Isis, Hizbullah, the Muslim brother hood, Boko el haram, P.L.O & Hamas ( they are with ISIS), and some others organization.

  • It’s nice to know there is still some sane people in a world of insanity.

  • The PA would like the world to believe the Jewish connection to Eretz Israel began post World War II (as President Obama implied inadvertantly in his famous Cairo speech) They tell the world Jews never lived in Jerusalem and that no Jewish Temple stood on the Temple Mount, forgetting that two billion Christians read a Bible, whose Old and New ‘Testaments’ mention Jerusalem more than 600 times, while the Koran embarrassingly mentions Jerusalem not even once. PLO / PA propaganda posters should not be part of World Heritage any more than Soviet or Nazi posters.

  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    why do Unesco exist?

  • Helena

    A very courageous woman. What a world we live in , to be called courageous by telling the truth.
    I really do not envy the Israeli’s for having the Arabs as enemy.

  • Carl

    I’m shocked! Kudos to Ms Bokova for a very rare moral decision on behalf of a UN agency.

    • Lynne T

      Yes, well when the Palestinians submit material that is as blatant in its bigotry and as lacking in any merit, they made her decision fairly easy and clear cut.

      The question is how long it will take for the Palestinians to digest the rejection and how many other rejections they will face over the obvious path they are on to sabotage the two state solution.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    How can anyone consider the PA and Hamas as legitimate advocates for a peaceful solution. What these posters show is that PA is not to be trusted and should be carefully vetted before even considering giving them the West Bank. To surrender the West BAnk to them is to invite further war and strife. Peace will never come until the Palestinians are made to see reason as the road to peace or that they are to be completely eliminated from the West Bank area and sent elsewhere to make trouble as they have done in the past in Lebanon and Jordan.


    Congratulations to Irina Bokova for her courage and integrity.

  • Fred

    The UN organising bodies curry to the anti Semitic propaganda flavour of the Arab membership, thus following faithfully the Hitler NAZI path of hatred.

    • Julian Clovelley

      It is a matter of history that without the UN there would be no Israel.

  • Brian F

    Ms. Bokova said: “It is my conviction that UNESCO should not associate itself with such documents whose inscription could fuel hatred and anti-Semitic perceptions.” She did not say that the documents were actually hateful and anti-semitic. She is soft on this issue, but at least moving in right direction.

  • Historian

    what do you expect from those terrorists animals If course they are antisemitic (they were told by ABBAS to Kill Jews, Not Israelis but Jews)