JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed UNESCO, the cultural arm of the UN, for canceling the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel.
”The explanation given was that it would harm the [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations,” Netanyahu said Sunday, Jan. 19, at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. ”It would not harm the negotiations. Negotiations are based on facts, on the truth, which is never harmful.”
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said Jan. 15 in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the exhibit, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” would be postponed indefinitely.
Netanyahu added, ”The one-sided and unfair attitude toward the State of Israel does not advance the diplomatic process.”
Complaints by Arab states led the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to cancel the exhibition organized by the Wiesenthal Center along with the governments of Canada and Montenegro. It was scheduled to open Jan. 20 at the Paris UNESCO headquarters.