Press Release

ADL Calls On Executive Board of UNESCO to Choose a Director General Who Best Exemplifies the Values of the Institution

New York, NY, October 9, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the Executive Board of UNESCO to choose a new Director General “who best exemplifies and champions the values and ideals of the institution,” and who will be a strong and constructive voice against discrimination, including ongoing efforts to isolate and denigrate Israel, and who continues UNESCO’s important work on Holocaust education.

ADL expressed concern that the front runner after UNESCO’s first round of voting on Monday, former Qatari Culture Minister, Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, has overseen or endorsed projects that propagate base anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. These include a forward he wrote in a book that includes charges of Jewish domination of the media, as well as his endorsement of Culture Ministry-organized book fairs that included anti-Semitic speakers and texts, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

“The UNESCO constitution calls for the body ‘to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms,’” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Regrettably, there are too many among UNESCO’s members who have seen the body as a vehicle to further divisive and denigrating campaigns directed at Israel. It is important that UNESCO be led by a Director General who best exemplifies and champions the values and ideals of this institution and works for peace, respect and fundamental freedoms.”

The 58-member UNESCO Executive Board is meeting now in Paris to nominate a candidate for the next Director General. There are currently seven individuals vying for the position. The Executive Board’s nominee will be voted on by the entire UNESCO membership in November and the new Director General will assume office on November 15. ADL has commended outgoing Director General, Irina Bukova on numerous occasions for her forthright efforts to counter campaign that unduly targeted Israel and demeaned the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.