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November 4, 2016 4:37 pm

Leading Jewish Group: UNESCO Chief Must Condemn Antisemitism on Display at UAE Book Fair at Which Her Organization is Guest of Honor

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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A stand at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Photo: Simon Wiesenthal Center.

A stand at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Photo: Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The head of UNESCO must condemn the antisemitism on display at a major international book fair currently taking place in the United Arab Emirates, a leading US-based Jewish human rights organization said on Friday.

The ten-day Sharjah Interantional Book Fair — at which the global cultural body is the official guest of honor — features an “unprecedented number of antisemitic titles,” Dr. Shimon Samuels — the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations — said in a letter to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

“This massive ‘low-tech’ injection of Jew-hatred at Arab government-sponsored fairs creates a vicious circle of incitement to violence, targeting Jews and Jewish institutions,” Samuels wrote. “The circle continues with Arab governments — now captive to the hate they have instigated — relentlessly pressing UNESCO resolutions to delete Jewish heritage in the Holy Land… the circle ends with the cajoling and even the intimidating of member-states to support these outrageous resolutions.”

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Samuels praised Bokova — who criticized the recent UNESCO resolutions that ignored Jewish and Christian history in Jerusalem — for her “firm stand against hate, especially antisemitism.”

“We thus urge you to condemn these dangerous displays at Arab book fairs and remove UNESCO from the current Sharjah fair,” Samuels concluded.

The Sharjah International Book Fair began on Wednesday and runs through Nov. 12.

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