THE NEW exhibit tracing the history of the Jewish people, on display at the UN headquarters in New York..
(photo credit: MAYA SHWAYDER)
NEW YORK – After a delayed opening in Paris last year due to concern from certain countries that such an exhibit would inhibit or derail the peace process, the new exhibit entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,”detailing the relationship between Jews and the Holy Land openedlast weekt at the UN headquarters.
The exhibit will be placed first in an exclusive delegates area, and later in a more public space so that UN staffers and tourists can peruse it, for one month in New York.
The exhibit, curated by Professor Robert Wistrich for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in partnership with UNESCO, consists of 25 brightly illustrated and highly detailed panels on the history of the Jewish people, from biblical times through today, tracing the tribe’s route through the Roman Empire, the Crusades, into Europe, the Shoah, and to the founding of the modern State of Israel.
“We wanted to make sure the historical record was straight,” Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post. “It’s important to make sure the facts of history are not overshadowed by the current political situation.”
New York City Councilman David Greenfield, who represents several Brooklyn neighborhoods with major Jewish populations, told the Post it was a “significant accomplishment” that an exhibit like this would be displayed at the UN.
Monday night’s opening event was co-sponsored by the UN missions of Israel, the US and Canada.
“This exhibit showcases 3,500 years of Jewish history,” said Israel’s ambassador Ron Prosor.
“That’s just a bit longer than it took to get this exhibit to open at the United Nations!” “This exhibit is important, not just because of the exhibit itself, but because of what it means [for it] to be shown here, at the United Nations,” said US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power.
“One panel reminds us that it was a vote by the United Nations 67 years ago that helped lead to the creation of the Jewish state.
Unfortunately it was also here 40 years ago in 1975 that the United Nations General Assembly issued its infamous resolution declaring that Zionism is a form of racism.”
The original opening of the exhibit was planned for Paris in January of 2014, but was postponed to June 2014 after 22 countries submitted a letter expressing concern that the exhibit might “endanger the peace process.”
“This exhibit does not deny that there are also others who have a connection to the land, nor does it change the United State’s deep commitment to a peace process in pursuit of a twostate solution,” Power said.
Canada’s ambassador to the UN, Guillermo Rishchynski, who delivered his remarks partly in French, paid homage to the efforts that the Simon Wiesenthal Center made to bring the exhibition to the UN.
“My country stands beside you and is proud to associate with the noble mission of the Simon Wiesenthal Center – to never forget the Holocaust and to learn from it. It is precisely for these reasons that Canada has sponsored this exhibition. We hope that all who view it will be motivate by the spirit of respect and mutual comprehension.”