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Report: UNESCO cancels Israel exhibit following Arab pressure
Published Saturday 18/01/2014 (updated) 19/01/2014 21:54
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(MaanImages)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The cultural arm of the United Nations has cancelled the opening of a controversial Israel-themed exhibition at its Paris headquarters after coming under pressure from a number of Arab states, according to Israeli media.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that a UNESCO exhibition focusing on the "3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel" was cancelled by the cultural body after a letter of condemnation was sent by representatives of a number of Arab states.

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said on Wednesday in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the exhibit's main organizers, that the exhibit would be postponed indefinitely out of "support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority."

On January 14, the president of the opposing group Abdullah Elmealmi sent a letter to Bokova saying they were "deeply disturbed by the exhibition" and "condemned" it.

"The media campaign accompanying the exhibition will inevitably damage the peace talks, the incessant efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UNESCO's neutrality," he added in the letter.

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member in 2011, after which Israel and the United States pulled their support for the cultural body and stopped paying their dues in protest.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the exhibition's main sponsors, is currently trying to build a "Museum of Tolerance" by bulldozing an ancient Muslim cemetery in West Jerusalem that was in active use for 1,000 years until the 1920s.

Israeli authorities frequently use narratives of a millenia-long uninterrupted Jewish presence or connection to Palestine in order to undermine present-day Palestinian connections and legal rights to their land.

The topic is particularly sensitive given that members of the Israeli settlement movement often point to the previous existence of ancient Jewish towns on the site of currently existing Palestinian villages in order to dispossess them of their lands and build illegal Israeli settlements atop them.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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1 ) Johnny benson / USA
18/01/2014 17:01
Shameful.......like nobody knows that the Jews have a history in Israel...

2 ) Maureen / Australia
18/01/2014 17:51
Zionist "Musem of Tolerance!" Zionist hypocrites!

3 ) Chimp / USA
18/01/2014 18:24
Talk about racism and intolerance! The Jews have had a presence in the holy land for 3500 years and the lousy Arab countries are once again trying to rewrite history by denying any Jewish connection to the land of ISRAEL ! Yes ISRAEL, not the fictional Palestine who's history has been made up as they go along, or stolen from the Jews. Not one settlement should be abandoned, Israel should maintain their grip on whatever territory they control. Don't ever give it back to them

4 ) Amir / UA
18/01/2014 18:58
well-done UNESCO the whole world says Nooooooo ,israel is out Palestine is in.

5 ) 3500 Years (Last & Next) / Truth
18/01/2014 19:02
It is Not surprising the Arabs are so threatened by the Truth about - "3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel," but the truth is still the truth, and the next - "3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel" are like to be just like the last 65 years !!

6 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/01/2014 19:29
More Arab racism. And, of course, we know the racist policies of the current Palestinian government. Does the world really need another racist Arab dictatorship?

7 ) David Child / U.S.A.
18/01/2014 19:35
Bravo! The world must do everything it can to stop this type of Israeli Zionist hatred.

8 ) Maisie / UK
18/01/2014 19:37
Why did UNESCO even consider such a divisive, not to mention distorted, exhibition? While The Simon Wiesenthal Center is not to be confused with the Nazi Hunter whose name the centre bears, the efforts of that deceitful eponymous group to build the ironically named Museum of Tolerance over grounds of a muslim cemetery dating back to a time and possibly containing bodies of those who were with Saladin. Could it be UNESCO's effort to woo back Israeli/US dosh? I jest, of course.

9 ) Harry Tojoloya / Nigeria
18/01/2014 19:45
These Arab states, need to concentrate more on killing each other.

10 ) Sara Lee / B
18/01/2014 19:48
that's justice keep it up UNESCO more condamnations and pressure of Arab states, more BDS, SANCTIONS on them and send the Zios back to Europe or otherwise they come from. available.... starting with sanding them to the history books - Maybe then they will have a non-fictional not fabricated history and realistic connection to Palestine that they can put on exhibition.

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/01/2014 20:10
To Chimp #3: 'The Jews have had a presence in the holy land for 3500 years' 'The Jews' have only existed in recognizable form for 2500 years. A few might argue for 2800 years -- but no serious scholar would hold out for 3500 years. Therefore, 'the Jews' have not had a presence ANYWHERE for 3500 years -- much less in the Holy Land. The only alternative is to define 'the Jews' genetically -- in which case, you are talking about the Palestinians, and if they want to stage a show, fine.

12 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/01/2014 20:11
To Brian #6: 'More Arab racism. And, of course, we know the racist policies of the current Palestinian government. Does the world really need another racist Arab dictatorship?' Boy, sure sounds racist, Brain. You must have a pretty good point.

13 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/01/2014 20:15
To Maureen #2: 'Zionist "Musem of Tolerance!" Zionist hypocrites!' Sometimes I think Zionists lie as a matter of principle. They really don't seem to pass up a chance. Witness the location of the museum. Who else would site that particular structure where it was sited?

14 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/01/2014 20:16
'UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member in 2011, after which Israel and the United States pulled their support for the cultural body and stopped paying their dues in protest.' Key phrase, there. What UNESCO does or doesn't do is no longer Israel's business.

15 ) Vera Brigstock / Wales
18/01/2014 21:43
UNESCO, this is the way forward, other institutions should take note & stop pandering to Israel until the peace process is complete. Palestine is a member of UNESCO & deserves recognition, whereas Israel & US have stopped paying their dues & have therefore effectively suspended or terminated their membership by default. As for the proposed 'Museum of Tolerance', UNESCO should declare the cemetery a heritage site & preserve it for future generations, noting the historical connection with Saladin.

16 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/01/2014 22:00
Hey Maureen and Colin - what about the "Australian Museaum of Tolerance" and the "American Museum of Tolerance". Those are two great examples of how to discover "tolerance", but only after a few hundred years of land theft and genocide by your "tolerant" governments! How about "The Australian Museum of How we Stole an Entire Continent From the Aborigines". Ditto for you, Colin, but hey...instead of giving them back their land you gave them welfare and a passport. Mighty white of you.

17 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/01/2014 22:06
Hey Colin. Wonderfel that you are a student of history. So go back 2500 years and please tell us where those Jews were: Poland? Los Angeles? Germany? Siberia? New York? Every history book I check shows that 2500 years ago the Jews were in the Middle East, not Poland or Germany or America. And where in the Middle East did they happen to establish a country? What do your english language history books say, Colin? (you don't speak Arabic or Hebrew, so doubt you're any good with Aramaic or Greek).

18 ) Harry Tojoloya / Nigeria
18/01/2014 23:31
I would title the exhibition ''Closer to four thousand years ago'', it’s actually 3,826 years ago, from the time of Abraham in the year 1812 BCE. But you Aussie and Yank stolen land settlers, do not care to admit that. Do you have any Palestinian connections from that period to throw forward?

19 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/01/2014 00:39
To Brian Cohen #17: ' Every history book I check shows that 2500 years ago the Jews were in the Middle East...' And those Jews are still there, and today, since they have come to practice different religions, they are called 'Palestinians.' We've been over this before -- and of course, over 'ye olde Indian argument.' Do you ever have anything new to say?

20 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/01/2014 00:43
To Brian Cohen #17: 'What do your english language history books say, Colin? (you don't speak Arabic or Hebrew, so doubt you're any good with Aramaic or Greek).' It's amazing how much you know about me, Brain. Just now, on another thread you revealed that I'm an Andrew Jackson fan. Hey -- even I didn't know that. Now it turns out you're aware of what languages I do and don't know. How do you do it?

21 ) ian / australia
19/01/2014 04:35
#17 "Every history book I check shows that 2500 years ago the Jews were in the Middle East..." Fair enough, Brian. In 500 BC, while the Levites, the priestly sect of Judah, were in Babylon compiling the Bible and inventing what G-d told Moses on Sinai...back in Canaan, the Judahite/Canaanite remnant had in all likelihood continued to worship the tribal deity Jehovah. They weren't exactly "Jews" because Ezra only "returned" to read them "the Law" in 458 BC (when "all the people wept....")

22 ) ian / australia
19/01/2014 04:37
(contd.) which is the beginning of recognisable "Judaism". Before that, "the Jews" were a Canaanite tribe, one of many, with a cultic deity and possibly a high holy place on Mount Moriah. (I note you drop the "3500 years ago" claim in favour of "2500 years ago" which is very wise.) But so what. The display is still a transparently propagandistic attempt to use "history" to undermine Palestinian claims to THEIR ancient home and it was a gutsy move by UNESCO to shut it down.

23 ) ian / australia
19/01/2014 04:40
Jews love the confusion this creates because it distracts from the fact that you don't have to go back 3,500 years to determine who owns Palestine. The 1940's will do, when International Law recognised that people have a right to self-determination in the land they inhabit and that it constitutes a massive crime to invade and expel them. And show me, Johnny benson, Chimp (sic), Brian et al. the law which states that a claim of ancient ancestry is a valid title to an INHABITED region.

24 ) Mel / USA
19/01/2014 05:17
Whether Judaism & Israel have history in the Holy Land,is NOT THE POINT. It's the fact that for 67 yrs,radical politico-ideo-revisionist Nazi-ZIONISM has abused the name "Israel" to inflict 1/2 a century of war crimes(under UKG&USG patronage),human rights abuses&cruel,unusual,indecent °rading punishment upon MILLIONS of indigenous Muslim&Christian CIVILIAN Palestinians.JUST because of that FACT alone,the "Israel" does not deserve to be honored as long as RADICAL ZIONISM is its flagship!BDS!

25 ) Dimi / Germany
19/01/2014 09:53
What about a joint exhibition on the same subject. Both sides should explain the history from their poi8nt of view.(left Israel/right Palestine or vice versa if you want). Let the visitors decide whom they will give their sympathy.

26 ) Rene / US
19/01/2014 10:16
Simon Wiesenthal was a proved liar and a fraud and the center named for him continues his legacy.

27 ) Rene / US
19/01/2014 10:27
@ 17, There were some Jews in Palestine and many more were scattered about the Mediterranean. And not one of them was named Cohen.

28 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
19/01/2014 11:49
Good grief, Colin - you yourself posted on Maan a week ago that you do not speak Arabic or Hebrew. I can't be responsible for your lack of short-term memory. As well, the problem you have with "ye olde Indian argument" is that it happens to be the factual truth. You Yanks can't escape the fact that you are colonization champions. You beat the Indians, stole their land and subjugated the ones you didn't kill. 150 years later you give them citizenship. Morally bankrupt, yet you preach to us?

29 ) Robert / US
19/01/2014 13:09
#17 Brian , those Palestinians you hate so much are directly decended from the Jews you speak of... the Jews there now are related to converts to Judism from much later on, Khzars from Europe... no ties to the land .about 80% or more should not be there stealing land .

30 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
19/01/2014 13:16
Sure Ian, I like your style "it constitutes a massive crime to invade and expel them." Let's use your Australian model. Not a crime to just stick with invasion, right? 200 years after you killed off 90%, you say "gosh, sorry Aborigine blokes, here's some more welfare". You belatedly gave them citizenship and the vote, and finally some rights. But how many settlers now dominate Australia? Ian. Just admit the truth - you are a successful colonizer preaching from your dubious moral highground.

31 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
19/01/2014 13:30
Rene - My great uncle Shimon Ben David HaCohen who was murdered by Arabs in Hebron in 1929. They didn't even call themsevles Palestinians back then - just Arabs. My surviving family fled to Jerusalem. How is it that thousands of people named Cohen were among the million Jews illegally expelled from Arab countries? What kind of colonist (and racist) are you, Rene? On whose stolen land do you live? Apache? Navajo? Mohawk? Go back to Europe where you came from.

32 ) Sure thing / Usa
19/01/2014 18:12
Truth hurts let's censore Israeli history and hope it will all disapere .. Fools.

33 ) Rebekkah / USA
19/01/2014 22:48
#25 Dimi -- I think that is a brilliant idea actually -- to have representatives of both people putting on an exhibit side by side. Like marriage counseling. Think of the scene in Annie Hall when we see Woody and Diane Keaton answering the same question in two completely different ways. It could conceivably give people something to think about. Certainly better than anything that is going on now.

34 ) Robert / US
20/01/2014 01:25
#25 Dimi, no media involved right ?...how exactly would your idea work ?. Media is one sided towards the bad guy, guess who ?

35 ) ian / australia
20/01/2014 06:38
#30 "Just admit the truth - you are a successful colonizer preaching from your dubious moral high ground." Is it ALWAYS pilpul night at Yeshiva with you, Brian? You just ignore the bits you don't like. Brutal dispossession of indigenous people was not per se ILLEGAL in colonial times. It was how great powers behaved. Laws proscribing it only appear in the mid twentieth century with the codifying of universal human rights. And when they appeared, the rout of the American Indians and Australian

36 ) ian / australia
20/01/2014 06:39
(contd.) Aborigines was complete. "We" had gotten away with it because "we" were too entrenched to reverse it. Though thoroughly ILLEGAL, Israel seems to want to emulate this and also "get away with it", the theft of Palestine and the crushing of its owners, by stealth, by being too enmeshed to leave. But your attitude to "our" brutal past remains ambivalent. You condemn it (when you want to get out the big stick) but aspire to it as the best way to cement your hold on stolen Arab land. Neither

37 ) ian / australia
20/01/2014 06:42
(contd.) is the "two-states for two-peoples solution" which you "personally prefer" convincing. Offering the Palestinians absolutely nothing, which I suspect is your idea of "two states", and bludgeoning them into accepting it is NOT peace with your Palestinian brothers and sisters, it's maintaining the status quo, AKA endless war...except at pilpul night at Yeshiva.

38 ) Willaim Wallace / Scotland
20/01/2014 14:52
@25: Dimi- It's not about sympathy, it's about what's right. However, an exhibition would be a good idea, explain the conflict from both sides & allow people to draw their own conclusions. Should peace eventually come to both sides, your idea would become an even better concept; joint history sharing & reconcillation in a public space.

39 ) Outlier / USA
20/01/2014 19:47
UNESCO cannot rewrite history, but with this dumb move it hopes to edit history. Sad.

40 ) ian / australia
21/01/2014 05:51
#25, #33, #38 Of course, if a fair, balanced "joint exhibition", with equal time for "both sides" to explain "history from their point of view", "side by side" was ever proposed Israel WOULDN'T be remotely interested. Their whole point in displays like this showing "3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel" is propaganda. The cunning dissemination of known lies to make the case for EXCLUSIVE Israeli ownership. Archeological or historical TRUTH doesn't come into it.

41 ) ian / australia
21/01/2014 05:52
(contd.) Palestinians, however, have every reason to pursue historical reality because the truth is on their side. They have NOTHING to fear. It would show their unbroken link to ancient Canaan and their genetic identity as Canaanites regardless of having worshipped El, Baal, Yahweh and Allah variously along the way. Jews have EVERYTHING to lose. History debunks ALL their myths, inc. NON-Canaanite origins through the Mesopotamian patriarch Abraham (not to mention the slavery in Egypt,

42 ) ian / australia
21/01/2014 06:01
(contd.) Moses, Exodus, Revelation on Sinai etc.) (also the Covenant and conquests of Joshua) Yes, I think a fair fight, "side by side" is "a brilliant idea" too, Dimi, but it's never gonna happen. (Of course, if Palestinians set up a display showing "Jews" as another Canaanite tribe and Yahweh-worship as one of many monolatristic cults and the Bible as etiological pseudo-history written after-the-event in Persia and the myth of the non-existent United Kingdom under David and the true nature of

43 ) ian / australia
21/01/2014 06:02
(contd.) Solomonic Jerusalem as a primitive hilltop fort and Palestinians as the descendants of supposedly exiled Judeans who converted to Islam...it would be howled down as "delegitimisation", the new, virulent form of Global Anti-Semitism! But what are you gonna do?)
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