Exhibition will be ‘tool to combat prejudice’
AN EXHIBITION detailing the millennia-long links between the Jewish people and the land of Israel is due to open next week in the House of Commons.
But as Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre — which has brought the exhibition to London — explained, People, Book, Land is no ordinary exhibition. Instead, Dr Samuels says, it is part of “the fightback against the theft of the Jewish narrative” by the Palestinians. Since the Palestinians joined the Parisbased Unesco in 2011, he says they have made consistent attempts to “reclaim” world heritage sites.
The Wiesenthal Centre is the only Jewish organisation accredited to the Unesco World Heritage Committee, and has repeatedly lobbied against Palestinian bids to redesignate Jewish and Christian heritage sites, from Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity to the designation of Rachel’s Tomb and Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs as mosques.
The latest move — due to be debated People, Book, Land exhibition in April — is to claim the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Qumran caves where they were found, as Palestinian heritage.
Dr Samuels says People, Book, Land, whose content was written by the late Professor Robert Wistrich in 2010, traces the 3,500-year relationship between the Jews and the land of Israel.
“It is a tool to combat prejudice and identity theft,” he explains. Its 24 panels tell the Jewish story, from Abraham and Moses to Israel as the “start-up nation”.
After a week in Parliament, the exhibition will move to London’s JW3 centre.
Telling the Jewish story: examples of the panels from the