'UNESCO funds Palestinian magazine glorifying Hitler'

Simon Wiesenthal Center asks UN cultural agency to halt its sponsorship of the Palestinian childrens' magazine.

By JORDANA HORN, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
December 22, 2011 02:33
2 minute read.
36th session of UNESCO

36th session of UNESCO. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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NEW YORK – 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.”

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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.

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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.”

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