UN Probes Bookstore Over Claims of Books Targeting Jews and Israel
The U.N. announced on Thursday that it would examine the selection at a bookstore operating within its jurisdiction in Geneva after a watchdog group claimed the shop was displaying books targeting Jews and Israel.
The U.N. Office at Geneva wrote in a letter to the group that it would conduct an “administrative review” of its concession agreement with the bookstore and its products, following a request by U.N. Watch.
The office said it “has reaffirmed to the vendor the requirement that varied viewpoints be presented on the shop’s bookshelves.” It said it required the selections of books to be “diverse and balanced, as befits an outlet affiliated with the United Nations Organization.”
Among the books on sale at the shop, which had a concession agreement with the neighboring Human Rights Council, was “How I stopped Being a Jew” by Shlomo Sand, in which the author describes the “genocidal Yahwestic tradition” within the Jewish religion, and “The Punishment of Gaza,” by Israeli left-wing journalist Gideon Levy, among books by revisionist Israeli historians such as Ilan Pappe and American linguist and outspoken critic of Israel Noam Chomsky.
In a letter to the acting director-general of the U.N. Office at Geneva, Michael Mollerto, U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer wrote: “We unflinchingly support the freedom of expression and full exchange of ideas, good and bad. Yet the unmistakable pattern of anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish books is a matter that requires your attention.”
“At a time when Jews across Europe are being targeted by violent attacks and incitement, it is deeply distressing that the United Nations Headquarters in Europe would promote books on ‘how to stop being a Jew,'” said the letter.