Thursday, September 17, 2009

UNESCO is warned against electing Farouk Hosni

Photo: EJP
Today, voting begins to elect the next director-general of UNESCO. Will it be the Egyptian candidate Farouk Hosni, who once said he would burn 'Israeli' books in Egypt? The leading US-based organisation fighting antisemitism, ADL, has weighed into the fray, the European Jewish Press reports. (With thanks: Desi)

(EJP)---A leading Jewish organization fighting anti-Semitism has urged UNESCO member states to reject the candidacy of Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni for the UN bodu top post, calling him “unfit for the position.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued an open letter in advance of this week’s vote for the next head of UNESCO. ">Hosni, who is a leading candidate for the post of director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has a history of rejecting cultural relations with Israel and once advocated the burning of Hebrew books in Egyptian libraries , ADL stresses.

A first-round vote by the 58 member-states of UNESCO’s Executive Board is set for September 17 in Paris where the organization is headquartered.

“As Egyptian Culture Minister for over two decades, Mr. Hosni has a long history of expressing hotility toward Israeli culture and opposing cultural exchanges with Israel,” the open letter says. It is signed by Glen S. Lewy, ADL’s national chairman and Abraham H. Foxman, national director.

“These views are emblematic of the rampant anti-Jewish sentiment that pervades Egypt’s cultural elites and is a trend UNESCO is meant to counter, not to legitimate,” they add.

"The letter cites several examples of Mr. Hosni’s past rhetoric vis-à-vis Israel and Israeli culture where he openly expressed hostility toward Israeli culture and Jews.

“Given the hatred which Mr. Hosni has promoted, it is not surprising that, as Minister of Culture, he has refused to permit any Israeli participation in Egypt’s major cultural events, such as the annual Cairo Book Fair and Film Festival,” it says.

“His banning of Israeli culture is just the tip of the iceberg. During his 22-year tenure, Mr. Hosni has restricted freedom of expression and used censorship to stifle cultural and intellectual freedom. His role in banning books from the Cairo Book Fair, films from the Alexandria Film Festival, and television shows from being broadcast has come under fire from artists, journalists and intellectuals from Egypt and around the world.”

The ADL letter also notes that Faruq Hosni reportedly said that the US Ambassador to UNESCO was working against his candidacy because the ambassador is Jewish.

Read article in full

Farouk Hosni, minister who threatened to burn Hebrew books, set for UN post - Times

No comments: