Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Controversy About the Candidacy of Farouk Hosny for UNESCO Director General

Source: :"Very, Very Lost in Translation," by Raymond Stock, Foreign Policy, August 24, 2009.

The UNESCO Executive Board is to meet in September to consider the eight active candidates who have been nominated for the post of Director General of UNESCO. It is expected that their selection will be endorsed by the General Conference in October, and the new Director General is to take office in November. One candidate, Farouk Hosny, has proven to be especially controversial. He has been campaigning for the position for two years, and was considered the early leader, but the race has more recently been seen as open.

This new article in the influential journal, Foreign Policy, is very negative with respect to Farouk Hosny. I quote extensively:
To say that Farouk Hosni doesn't much like Israel is putting it lightly. According to the Anti-Defamation League, he has called it "inhuman," and "an aggressive, racist, and arrogant culture, based on robbing other people's rights and the denial of such rights." He has accused Jews of "infiltrating" world media. And in May 2008, Hosni outdid even himself, telling the Egyptian parliament that he would "burn right in front of you" any Israeli books found in the country's libraries......

Should Hosni's bid to be head of UNESCO succeed, as is likely, it could obscure the truly virulent prejudice that passes for cultural understanding among the Egyptian intelligentsia. Despite his apology for offering to burn books, Hosni told the Egyptian station Dream TV in July that he will oppose normalization with Israel until "two states exist" and the "Palestinian people get their right." And whatever the United Nations decides in the end, his gut feelings about Israel and the Jews are not likely to change.
This follows a widely read open letter by Bernard-Henri Levy, Ellie Wiesel and Claude Lanzman titled "UNESCO: The Shame of a Disaster Foretold." It also focuses on anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish statements by Hosny.

You might also find this exchange of interest:
Americans for UNESCO has neither endorsed nor opposed any of the eight candidates for UNESCO Director General. This posting should not be so construed, but rather seeks to share two influential publications on the race.

For more information on the election and the candidates, try:


John Daly said...

"More on the Farouk Hosni/UNESCO debacle" by M.A. Orthofer is a critique of the article by Raymond Stock

John Daly said...

There is a website, managed by a group of French students, titled "Save UNESCO: Why Farouk Hosni Cannot Become the UNESCO's Next Director General".