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Israel Singled Out by UNESCO

Samara Greenberg

The UN body that lost U.S. funding after voting-in ‘Palestine’ as a member state has gone even further. Last week, a senior official at the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) handed Israel’s ambassador to the body, Nimrod Barkan, an official letter of protest from UNESCO’s director general, Irina Bokova, concerning a cartoon published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.

“A cartoon like this endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats, and you have an obligation to protect them,” Eric Falt, the UNESCO official, told Barkan. “We understand that there is freedom of the press in Israel, but the government must prevent attacks on UNESCO.” The cartoon in question, published on November 4, showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak sending an air force squadron to attack Iran, with Netanyahu saying, “And on your way back, you’re gonna hit the UNESCO office in Ramallah!” Falt told Barkan the cartoon constituted incitement.

Haaretz editorial cartoon disliked by UNESCO

There are many reasons why UNESCO’s complaint is absurd, including the UN body’s supposed support of freedom of the press, which Israel upholds. But even more, what about the plethora of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic cartoons that incite attacks against Jews in Arab publications that actually are run by their governments? In 2002, for example, Qatar’s Al-Watan published a cartoon which showed then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drinking from a goblet of blood. A label on the cup read, “The Palestinian Children’s Blood.”

Where was the UN’s opposition then to such anti-Semitic propaganda that invoked the age-old blood libel? Where is the UN today?