UNESCO sponsored a book fair at which Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” were for sale.
By United with Israel Staff
At the 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), held from October 30 to November 9, a United Nation-sponsored event, anti-Semitic material including “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler were sold.
Though the theme of this year’s fair was “Open Books, Open Minds,” the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC) sent a letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay condemning the gathering on Thursday.
SWC Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels stated on the organization’s website, “The Centre annually monitors hate on the shelves of Arab international book fairs.” He credited the latest event as being “arguably, the most vicious” and pointed out that it is “held under the auspices of UNESCO,” the UN’s cultural and educational agency.
The letter explained, “‘The initiative aims to promote peace, cultural enrichment, and intercultural dialogue through education’…The reality is that, stand after stand [promoted] Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ [and] the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ forgery and countless titles referring to Jewish conspiracies.”
The letter stressed, “The organizers are known to carefully vet all titles on display for Islamophobia, but leave [books filled with] Jew-hatred [in] place!”
Samuels pointed out that books such as these promote “bigoted stereotypes of Jews-as expounded by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran” to young Arab readers. “This is particularly damning at a time of reconciliation between Gulf States and Israel, now facing common enemies,” he wrote.
The Centre called on Director-General Audrey Azoulay “to publicly condemn this outrage and to launch an immediate inquiry as to those responsible, to result in your applying appropriate disciplinary measures.”
Calling the books “obsessive-compulsive vomit of hatred,” Samuels wrote, “We urge you to publicly condemn and, forthwith, to strip the SIBF of the title, ‘UNESCO Book Capital of the Year.’ We consider as a more appropriate title, ‘World Book Capital of Antisemitic Hate,’” he concluded.
The letter was distributed to UNESCO member-states
Over 2.23 million people visited the Sharjah book fair last year. Of these, 230,000 were students.
According to an article in the Khaleej Times promoting the event, its “primary goal [is] to foster an environment of knowledge and innovation built on the foundations of books and reading…[with] discussions [that] shine a spotlight on the book’s ability to ignite people’s minds, appreciate cultural differences and bring them closer.”
It seems that UNESCO, once again, missed the mark.