On December 22, the U.S. Mission to UNESCO contacted the Organization’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, to express its grave concern over press reports regarding the Palestinian youth educational magazine, Zayzafuna, and its publishing of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content in particular a student essay that praised Hitler’s murder of Jews. UNESCO took quick action to disassociate itself from the magazine, and has assured the U.S. Mission to UNESCO that all funding of the publication has stopped. U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO David Killion asked Director-General Bokova to investigate the circumstances of this event, to ensure it does not happen again in the future.
Ambassador Killion said, “Director-General Bokova was very clear in her message to the Palestinian Authority when they joined UNESCO. She told them that ‘…membership in UNESCO goes beyond raising the flag. It comes with rights and responsibilities. It means sharing values – the values of tolerance, respect for others.’
The decision that UNESCO took today to condemn this magazine’s hateful content will, I hope, be a strong signal to the Palestinian leadership that its messages to the international community and the messages it teaches to its young must be the same, and must move towards peace.”