UN seeks to censor Jerusalem references out of Knesset exhibit

Ambassador accuses UN of “seeking to rewrite history.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Israel is seeking to display at the UN headquarters a historical exhibition about the Knesset, but UN officials are conditioning it on the removal of references to Jerusalem, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported on Thursday.

The exhibit, titled “The Knesset Celebrates 70 — Parliament Shaping Israeli Society,” features some 50 photos of historical events that took place in the Israeli parliament as well as images associated with certain laws. It was created to mark the Knesset’s anniversary and was first displayed in Ben Gurion Airport in 2019.

According to Channel 12, when Israel’s delegation first proposed the exhibit, the UN responded that a number of references to Jerusalem would have to be removed. Most of the international community refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The UN objected to an item about the Jerusalem Law of 1980, which annexed the city’s eastern neighborhoods and declared Jerusalem as Israel’s “complete and united capital. Israel reunited Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967.

The UN also balked at a caption referring to Jerusalem as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people and their holy city” that accompanied a photo of the Knesset building.

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“This quote is not relevant to the picture and its erasure will help prevent contradictions with international law and political sensitivities,” the UN reportedly told the Israel delegation.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan responded with a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describing the requested revisions as “rude” and “seeking to rewrite history.”

Erdan demanded that the exhibit be displayed without any alterations. “A body that speaks of freedom of expression cannot demand censorship of an exhibition,” he wrote.

Channel 12 added that the development will add tension to Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy’s visit to the UN next week, where he is scheduled to meet with Guterres.