"Farouk Hosni's latest anti-Semitic outburst shows that UNESCO was right not to elect him to the head of an organization that is supposed to combat the epidemic of anti-Semitism around the world," a senior Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Hosni, who has served as Egypt's culture minister for the past 22 years, lost the race for UNESCO's top job to Bulgarian Irina Bokova in a Tuesday vote in Paris by UNESCO's executive board, amid accusations of anti-Semitism over his 2007 promise to burn Israeli books and multiple earlier statements against Israeli culture and Jews.
Speaking to reporters at the Cairo airport on Wednesday upon his return from Paris, Hosni said a Western conspiracy "cooked up in New York" prevented him from winning, and that "European countries and the world's Jews" wanted him to lose.
Israel had not opposed his candidacy after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reached a deal over the matter with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The details of the agreement have not been made public.
But, speaking anonymously, the Israeli official, who is part of Israel's diplomatic planning team, said that "the primitive notion that Jews are to blame for everything is not fitting for someone who competed for the job of UNESCO head."
The official added that it was Hosni's own statements, and European and international disquiet, rather than "the Jews," that cost him the job.
"It's only natural that anyone who examines his psychocultural mindset would be frightened. It's natural that someone who called for burning books - and who five minutes after failing to be elected blamed the Jews - should not be elected head of UNESCO," said the official.
"What is considered respectable in the Egyptian milieu apparently isn't so in the European context and elsewhere," he added.
Official Israel remains mum over Hosni's loss, seeking to avoid tension with Egypt.