"Film's misuse of resources and misrepresentation violate UN Standards of Conduct."
Paris, 28 November 2011
In a letter to United Nations Development Programme Administrator, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels pointed to "a case of apparent misuse of UNDP resources and misrepresentation under the UNDP Legal Framework for Addressing on-Compliance with UN Standards of Conduct."
This refers to the film "'Travel Palestine - Rediscover Your Senses', posted last week on Youtube:
which acknowledges that 'This production was made possible with support from the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP/PAPP)'".
The letter quoted the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP)as making grants "towards reducing poverty" in both the West Bank and Gaza of "over US$ 600 million, focussing on...water, health and education facilities, social services, infrastructure and rural and agricultural development."
Samuels stressed that "the film sponsored by your agency, however, portrays a 'Palestine' of wealth and luxury for the well-heeled tourist" continuing, "if the film reflects the truth, then UNDP largesse paid for by the taxpayers of the international community, should be reassigned to truly impoverished populations in Africa and Asia."
The letter argued that "'Travel Palestine' is even more offensive as an exercise in identity theft. In depicting the Holy Land as Islamic and, secondarily Christian, it delegitimises its indigenous Jewish heritage, misrepresents the region's reality and demonstrates threatening intent to a UN member - the State of Israel."
This UNDP-financed travelogue is in violation of your website mission masthead : 'Promote accountability, integrity and provide impartial and reliable information'" claimed Samuels.
The Centre urged the UNDP Administrator "to publicly condemn 'Travel Palestine' and launch a full enquiry by UNDP Office of Audit and Investigation, resulting in the disciplining of those responsible."