Qatar’s former culture minister, who has disseminated anti-Semitic material, both in the course of his official duties and personally, is a leading candidate to succeed Irina Bokova as head of the UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, Ben Cohen reported for the Algemeiner on Monday.Despite protests from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) and other Jewish organizations, Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, then Qatari culture minister, allowed the display of what was described as “violently anti-Semitic literature” at the Doha Book Fair in Qatar in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Qatar has also promoted anti-Semitic texts in its stand at the international book fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
While he was still Qatar’s minister of culture, Al-Kawari, wrote the preface for a 2013 book, Jerusalem in the Eyes of the Poets, which was published by his ministry, and featured the statement, “The Jews control the media, newspapers, publishing houses in the United States and the West.”
Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC’s director of international relations, observed that the trope that Jews control the media recalls the language used by Nazi Germany’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.
In addition, the book quoted the late French Holocaust denier, Roger Garaudy, who was cited as an expert denying Jewish historic claims to the land of Israel. The book also charged, “Israel is responsible for the Lebanese Civil War; the first and second Gulf wars; the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the turmoil in Sudan and Egypt.”
Among the other contenders for the job to lead UNESCO are Qian Tang of China, who has been UNESCO’s assistant director-general for education for the past seven year, and Moushira Khattab, a former Egyptian minister. Khattab is backed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, all of whom are diplomatically opposed to Qatar due to its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and close ties to Iran.
In order to promote al-Kawari’s candidacy, Qatar has been “handing out cash all over the place, throughout Africa especially,” Samuels observed.
UNESCO has been suffering from funding shortfalls since it accepted Palestine for membership in 2011 and consequently, the United States and Israel stopped funding it. Al-Kawari has suggested that Qatar could replace the $400 million in funding lost by the withdrawal of the U.S. contribution.
In The Fruitful Game: How Qatar Uses Soccer to Polish Its Image, which was published in the October 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Cohen showed how Qatar used its wealth to win the bid to host the 2022 World Cup. It would appear that Qatar is again paying to gain legitimacy in the international arena.