UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova with Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier, next to a panel announcing the exhibit in 2012..
An exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel that had been canceled due to pressure from Arab states will open at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
“Book, People, Land — The 3,500-Year Relationship of the Jewish People With the Holy Land,” a joint exhibition of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the cultural arm of the United Nations, will open Wednesday. The US State Department, Israel, Canada and Montenegro are official co-sponsors.
The exhibit consists of 30 illustrated panels and explanatory text.
Complaints by Arab member states of UNESCO led to the exhibit’s indefinite cancellation in January. UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said at the time that the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The talks ended in April.
“It was not a political statement that belongs to an individual or a party, but simply the collective narrative of the Jewish People — religious, secular, left and right — and their three-and-a-half millennia relationship to the Holy Land,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement at the time of the cancellation. “It is precisely that narrative that the Arab League did not want the world to know about.
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