Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Egypt's Hosni Loses UNESCO Secretary General Post

by David Bedein

Egyptian Culture Minister Hosni Farouk reacts as he returns for a hearing following a break at the UNESCO headquarters on Sept. 17 in Paris. Mr. Hosni, who is campaigning to be the next head of the U.N. office that promotes cultural diversity, outraged many Jews with his comments in April 2008 vowing to burn any Israeli books found in Egypt's famed Library of Alexandria. (Jacques Brinon/Associated Press)

Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, who was a candidate for secretary general of UNESCO, lost the sought-after post to former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Irina Bokova. Heavy lobbying against Mr. Hosni continued until the last moment.

Mr. Hosni earned the enmity of Jews around the world when he recently promised to burn Hebrew books and boasted that he would be the last Egyptian to visit Israel.

Mr. Hosni forbid Egyptian artists to display their works in Tel Aviv and supported the denunciation of journalists who visited Israel and returned to Cairo with the conclusion that “the monster is not so terrible.”

In addition, Hosni opposed translation of Hebrew literature in Egypt, and refused to open to the Jews the records of the Jewish communities in Egypt, for fear that they would lead to property lawsuits. More than 100,000 Jews were expelled from Egypt during the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars, without being able to sell their property and without being able to take most possessions with them, while Egyptian Jewish assets in Egyptian banks have been frozen.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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