UNESCO Reprimands Israel Over Israeli Newspaper Cartoon

That’s the cartoon that led to UNESCO’s reprimand. The cartoon was, according to the newspaper (Haaretz), “a riff on the government’s anger at UNESCO’s decision to accept Palestine as a full member,” and I’m pretty sure it didn’t seriously call on Israel to bomb UNESCO, or have any likelihood of leading Israel (or anyone else) to do so. In the words of the AP story on the subject, Haaretz is “known for its criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government,” and “[t]he cartoon was a jab at Netanyahu’s policies and his displeasure over [UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine].”

Yet UNESCO apparently thought it deserving of a formal protest:

The U.N.’s Paris-based cultural arm called in Israel’s ambassador, Nimrod Barkan, on Wednesday and handed him a protest note saying the cartoon “endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats,” according to the Israeli spokesman, Yigal Palmor….

“We’ve heard of Islamists raging against supposedly disrespectful cartoons, but U.N. officials going down the same road — that’s a whole new ballgame,” Palmor said.

Haaretz has more:

“A cartoon like this endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats, and you have an obligation to protect them,” [Eric Falt, UNESCO’s assistant director general for external relations and public information,] said, according to an Israeli source. “We understand that there is freedom of the press in Israel, but the government must prevent attacks on UNESCO.”

Barkan pointed out that the government has no control over editorial cartoons printed in the papers….

After Barkan reported the conversation to the Foreign Ministry, it cabled back: “What exactly does UNESCO want of us — to send our fine boys to protect UNESCO’s staff, or to shut down the paper? It seems your work environment is getting more and more reminiscent of ‘Animal Farm.'”

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes