NEW YORK – One of the leading candidates to head the UN cultural agency UNESCO is a Qatari official accused of being an anti-Semite.
Former Qatari culture minister Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari is standing for election along with six other candidates as a result of Monday’s preliminary vote in Paris.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), warned that Kawari has spearheaded programs promoting anti-Semitic ideas. According to Samuels, during Kawari’s tenure as culture minister he allowed his country to display a stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair with texts that “fomented conspiracy theories against Jews.”
A 2013 book published by Qatar’s Ministry of Culture entitled Jerusalem in the Eyes of the Poets included a preface written by Kawari. The book is replete with anti-Semitic statements such as: “The Jews control the media, newspapers, publishing houses in the United States and the West.”
This is a calumny that is reminiscent of the anti-Semitic invective of Nazi Germany’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, Samuels told the Algemeiner.
The book claims “Israel is responsible for the Lebanese Civil War; the first and second Gulf wars; the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the turmoil in Sudan and Egypt.”
The book also quotes the late French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, who rejects any historical connection between the land of Israel and the Jewish people.
Kawari has remained tight-lipped about the accusations of anti-Semitism, something Samuels charges is “at best indifference, at worst endorsement.”
Kawari, who now serves as palace adviser, has been campaigning hard to become UNESCO chief.
One of the other six candidates for UNESCO chief is French Jew Audrey Azoulay, who is the daughter of André Azoulay, a special adviser to Moroccan King Mohammed VI.