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Paris, 23 March 2010

In a letter to UNICEF Executive Director, Ann Veneman, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed consternation at a UNICEF-supported programme that published an advertisement replete with hate. The ad was made known by the Palestine Media Watch,

Samuels noted that “the Palestinian youth organization, PYALARA, has placed its ad, featuring the UNICEF logo, under a Star of David composed of the Stars and Stripes, cracked open by an axe with the inscription ‘BOYCOTT!’.”

He added that, “apparently, PYALARA (Palestine Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation) has received UNICEF funding for over eight years. The website claims that ‘PYALARA has been chosen by UNICEF as a major strategic partner in Palestine’.”

The letter explained that “the ad urges youth to watch a Palestinian Authority television programme, entitled “Speak Up” which campaigns for “a boycott of Israel in all ways”. The ad describes this programme as “produced in cooperation with PBC (PA TV) with the support of UNICEF…a weekly two-hour TV programme called “Speak Up”. An average of 3,00,000 Palestinian children and teenagers watch every episode”.

Samuels stressed that “UNICEF can be construed as arguably in violation of the United Nations Charter and provisions of the World Trade Organization by endorsing and facilitating a discriminatory boycott against a United Nations member-state”.

The Centre called on UNICEF “to publicly condemn this ad and to disassociate the United Nations International Children’s Fund from a campaign designed to inculcate hatred among children. It behooves UNICEF to immediately announce a stop on funds, direct or indirect, to PYALARA”.

“Your inaction on this matter would make UNICEF complicit in boycott and co-responsible for potential violence inspired by the ad’s threatening sub text”, concluded Samuels.