Commentary Magazine


Hosni’s Apology

What a relief. Farouk Hosni, the Egyptian Culture Minister and candidate to head up UNESCO, has apologized for saying he would “burn Israeli books” if he found them in an Egyptian library.

It’s a relief because Israel had just dropped its objection to Hosni’s candidacy, as an apparent goodwill gesture to Egypt. That would have been very embarrassing, no? For Israel to agree to having an outright Judeobibliophobe heading up the UN’s leading educational and cultural body. Just think of all those books in Hebrew the UN might have to consider burning — beginning with the Bible. Olaf Zimmermann, the head of Germany’s Culture Council, told Der Spiegel that ”Choosing Farouk Hosni as the new director of UNESCO would be a mistake… UNESCO is on the verge of putting into practice the Convention on Cultural Diversity. A responsibility like that shouldn’t be trusted to someone who hasn’t fully internalized the ideals of UNESCO.”

But now that he’s apologized, we can wipe the slate clean and start over. Hosni has now fully internalized UNESCO’s values, and now the reverse can happily happen as well. Isn’t the UN great?