On June 11, 2014, the U.S. Mission participated in the launch of People, Book, Land — The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land, a joint project by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The exhibit, co-sponsored by the United States, Canada, Israel and Montenegro, retraces 3,500 years of history of Jewish life in the Middle East, from Biblical times to the present.
Speaking at the launch, Director-General Irina Bokova declared that “UNESCO is the first United Nations’ agency to host an exhibition on the links between the Jewish people and the Holy Land.” She also noted that the exhibit is part of UNESCO’s broader ongoing efforts to combat anti-Semitism abroad, including through its Holocaust Education program.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, expressed appreciation to UNESCO for hosting the exhibit, which he described as “historic.” Rabbi Hier also stressed the importance of the exhibit in raising awareness about the long and rich history of the Jewish people in Israel.
In her remarks, Charge d’Affaires Beth Poisson hailed the exhibit as a continuation of UNESCO’s tradition of bringing people together, breaking down the barriers of misunderstanding and building the defenses of peace. She noted that, for the United States, “there is no more critical role that this organization can play than to foster mutual understanding and the creation of a culture of peace and non-violence based on tolerance, mutual respect, and interfaith dialogue.”
People, Book, Land — The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land will remain on display at UNESCO heaquarters until June 20, 2014.