Wiesenthal citing PMW - challenges UNESCO funding of kids' magazine
"We call on you to suspend UNESCO sponsorship
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Following publication of Palestinian Media Watch's book Deception, exposing glorification of Hitler in the Palestinian children's magazine Zayzafuna which is funded by the PA, UNESCO and the the Spanish government (through MDG-F), the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on UNESCO to halt its funding.
Wiesenthal Center wrote: "How was it possible that your patronage could be abused despite the Ramallah office's responsibility to vet all projects endorsed by UNESCO?"
UNESCO responded, "thank you for drawing our attention to the information reported by Palestinian Media Watch... Allow me to underscore that UNESCO takes this matter extremely seriously and it cannot but strongly deplore and condemn the statements you are referring to... We will bring this matter to the attention of the concerned Palestinian authorities..."
The Wiesenthal Center called UNESCO's response "inadequate."
The following is the Jerusalem Post story on these events, followed by excerpts of letters between the Wiesenthal Center and UNESCO and the Wiesenthal Center's press release :
by Jordana Horn
Simon Wiesenthal Center asks UN cultural agency to halt its sponsorship of the Palestinian childrens' magazine.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center asked UNESCO's director-general Wednesday to suspend its sponsorship of a Palestinian children's magazine, saying the magazine applauded Hitler for murdering Jews.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, the educational children's magazine, Zayafuna, "includes terms glorifying jihad."
The PMW report references an essay in the magazine by a teenage Palestinian girl. The girl wrote about meeting Adolf Hitler in a dream, who tells her that he killed the Jews "so you would all know that they are a nation who spreads destruction all over the world." In the essay, Hitler tells the child to be patient regarding the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Jews.
In a letter to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center's director for international relations, wrote that the editors of Zayafuna "endorse Adolf Hitler as a role model for Palestinian children," noting that a quarter of the children's submission selected for publication by the magazine "express hatred for Jews and reflect messages transmitted through PA official media."
"Apparently, the magazine's positive messages on coexistence and peace apply to all but Jews and Israelis," Samuels wrote. "Through a young girl, the Holocaust is presented as an act for the benefit of humanity."
The Palestinian Authority's deputy minister of education and its former minister of education are both on the magazine's advisory board, Samuels noted.
UNESCO, Samuels said, has sponsored Zayafuna since August. The Hitler essay ran in the magazine's February 2011 issue.
While Samuels noted the October edition states that "opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily express UNESCO's views," Samuels wrote that this disclaimer was "hardly a fitting response to the discovery of the repugnant Holocaust celebration in the February issue."
Samuels recalled the Simon Wiesenthal Center's suggestion last month "when 'Palestine' was welcomed into UNESCO, that the new member be tested by being held to the declared values of UNESCO."
"Until Zayafuna publicly apologizes for its anti-Semitism, Palestine will have already failed that test," Samuels wrote, and urged UNESCO to demand that PA President Mahmoud Abbas rescind funding for the magazine.
PMW head Itamar Marcus said his organization welcomes the Wiesenthal Center's call to UNESCO to stop funding the magazine Zayafuna.
"UNESCO's continued funding of a hate magazine makes them a participant in the hate promotion it disseminates," Marcus said. "It would be a violation of basic moral principles to fund a Palestinian magazine that glorifies violence and jihad, and presents Hitler as a role model for children.
"The only way, it seems, the Palestinian Authority will ever stop its repeated hate promotion is if there are financial consequences to their hate promotion," Marcus said. "Let us hope that UNESCO takes the morally decent route and stops the funding, and not the politically expedient route of turning away in the face of Palestinian hatred."
The following are excerpts from the letter of Simon Wiesenthal Center's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels:
"In a letter to UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed astonishment to discover that 'a UNESCO-sponsored and Palestinian Authority (PA)-funded children's monthly magazine expresses reverence for Hitler 'because he murdered the Jews.'
According to the respected Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the educational magazine, Zayzafuna, ostensibly 'promotes family values, encourages children to read and to participate in building a modern democratic society ...when it comes to portraying Israel and Jews, Zayafuna changes its tone and includes items glorifying Jihad...'
PMW had highlighted an extreme example of Zayafuna's antisemitism in its February 2011 edition: 'an essay by a teenage girl who, in her dream, asks Hitler : 'you are the one who killed the Jews?' Hitler responds : 'Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation who spreads destruction all over the world'... Samuels asked 'how was it possible that your patronage could be abused despite the Ramallah office's responsibility to vet all projects endorsed by UNESCO?'...
The Center urged that UNESCO, 'under your mandate to vet educational materials for incitement to hatred and violence, demand that PA President Abbas stop all funding of this magazine.'
'Until then, we call on you to suspend UNESCO sponsorship of Zayafuna and to condemn its odious hatemongering,' concluded Samuels."
To view the full letter, click here
UNESCO responded to the Wiesenthal Center:
"...thank you for drawing our attention to the information reported by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), concerning the educational youth magazine Zayafuna...
Allow me to underscore that UNESCO takes this matter extremely seriously and it cannot but strongly deplore and condemn the statements you are referring to... We will bring this matter to the attention of the concerned Palestinian authorities."
To view the full response, click here
WIESENTHAL CENTER CALLS ON UNESCO
Ten-year old describes dream in article that she meets Hitler who tells her that he killed the Jews "...so you would all know that they are a nation who spreads destruction...."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on UNESCO to cut all funding for a Palestinian youth magazine for publishing material exalting Hitler. Zayafuna, a magazine which supposedly promotes democracy and tolerance, published an article by a ten-year-old Palestinian girl who said that in her dreams, Hitler told her, "Yes. I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation who spreads destruction all over the world." The article was brought to the public's attention by Palestinian Media Watch.
Responding to the Wiesenthal Center's protest, the office of the Director General of UNESCO wrote the Center's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, and said in part, "Allow me to underscore that UNESCO takes this matter extremely seriously and it cannot but strongly deplore and condemn the statements... We will bring this matter to the attention of the concerned Palestinian authorities."
"This response is inadequate," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, who added that it was not the first time that this type of hate material has been presented in Palestinian schools. "Can you imagine the audacity of a magazine that supposedly promotes tolerance and democracy using Adolph Hitler as a model? We call on UNESCO to immediately end funding to the Zayafuna magazine," he added.
"Let us remember that the US is the largest funder of UNESCO and it is largely the American taxpayer who made the UNESCO grant to this magazine possible. It is exactly this kind of behavior by the Palestinians in the educational and cultural domain that makes such a mockery of UNESCO's recent admission of Palestine as a full member," Rabbi Hier concluded.