— by Sharon Bender
B’nai B’rith welcomes the cut-off of funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the Palestinian children’s magazine Zayzafuna after a deeply disturbing story came to light that glorified Hitler. We also praise the U.S. mission to UNESCO for taking swift, strong action in its condemnation of this hateful publication, one which UNESCO should never have funded in the first place.
More after the jump.
Since August 2011, UNESCO has financially supported the magazine. Once this hateful message was revealed, UNESCO issued a statement saying: “UNESCO is shocked and dismayed by the content…UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns the reproduction of such inflammatory statements in a magazine associated with UNESCO’s name and mission and will not provide any further support to the publication in question.”
In a statement today from the U.S. mission condemning the story’s blatant anti-Semitic nature, Ambassador David T. Killion, U.S. permanent representative to UNESCO said: “The decision that UNESCO took today to condemn this magazine’s hateful content will, I hope, be a strong signal to the Palestinian leadership that its messages to the international community and the messages it teaches to its young must be the same, and must move towards peace.”
As reported in the Palestinian Media Watch’s new book “Deception: Betraying the Peace Process,” the Palestinian children’s magazine Zayzafuna included an essay by a teenage girl who portrays Hitler as a role model. In her dream, the girl asks Hitler, “You’re the one who killed the Jews?” Hitler says: “Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world. And what I ask of you is to be resilient and patient, concerning the suffering that Palestine is experiencing at their hands.” The girl responds: “Thanks for the advice.”
While the Palestinian Authority touts its readiness to be a member of this U.N. agency, it simultaneously violates the organization’s founding principles through appalling actions like this magazine article.
“We praise U.S. mission officials for swiftly bringing this to the attention of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and welcome the U.N. agency’s announcement that it will cut off the funding to this publication,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “This is yet another promotion of hate-filled messages that only serve to undermine the peace process. Not only is the story itself despicable, but equally deeply disturbing is the fact that the magazine found it a suitable message to publish.”
B’nai B’rith also calls upon the director-general to fully investigate the situation to ensure that procedures are in place to prevent a repetition of such hateful behavior.
“This is an extreme example of contemporary anti-Semitism. Notwithstanding the promises Palestinians made 18 years ago when they signed the Oslo Accords, incitement against Israel and Jews continues. UNESCO should never have funded this to begin with, and we urge it to look into all other Palestinian publications that they may be funding,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
B’nai B’rith, accredited as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations since 1947, swiftly raised this issue with officials of both the U.S. mission and UNESCO as soon as we became aware of the article in the magazine.