Daily Israel Report

US Condemns PA 'Doublespeak'

The United States has condemned Palestinian Authority "doublespeak" and bluntly called on UNESCO to ensure no funds reach the entity.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/26/2011, 8:39 PM

PA at UNESCO
PA at UNESCO
UNESCO/Doug Matar

The United States has condemned Palestinian Authority "doublespeak" and bluntly called on the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization to ensure no funds reach the entity.

U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO David T. Killion made the statement following a report by the Palestinian Media Watch which exposed the glorification of Hitler by the Palestinian magazine Zayzafuna, funded by UNESCO.

The news was further reported by Arutz Sheva and other Israeli and Jewish media, and finally made international headlines, which led to international condemnation of UNESCO's funding of the PA.

Describing the February 2011 issue in which a teenage Palestinian Authority Arab girl wrote an essay "applauding Hitler for murdering Jews," Killion noted the U.N. agency "supplied some funding" to the magazine.

But, "Membership of UNESCO... comes with rights and responsibilities," the agency's director-general, Madame Irinia Bokova, said in a speech on December 13 in the presence of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"It means sharing values - the values of tolerance, respect for others," Killion quoted from Bokova's speech, reminding her in a letter written on December 22, 2011, "You also said that you 'dream of joint educational textbooks on the history of shared ties to the land where Israelis and Palestinians live.'

"If you believe, as you told the audience, that '... Human dignity is our starting point and the measure of our success,' then you must take action imeimmediately to let the Palestinians know that the kind of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel venom their educational system and media is introducing to young Palestinians is not the way forward towards tolerance, respect and peace."

"UNESCO must let the Palestinian Authority know that this double-speak, using a message of peace for the international community, and another message for domestic consumption that teaches hatred, is unacceptable," wrote Killion. "I count on you to investigate whether UNESCO funding is, in fact, still being used to sponsor this Palestinian magazine; and, if so, to take the appropriate steps to end the international community's financing of such hatred through this organization."

In response to Killion's letter, UNESCO said it was "shocked and dismayed by the content of the February issue [of Zayzafuna] and has requested more detailed information and clarification from the editors of the magazine and to the Palestinian Authority. "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," the agency promised in a statement on its website dated December 23, 2011.