Of course, UNESCO would have never pulled the plug on funding had it not been for the diligent translation work of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which keeps tabs on all things in that region, coupled with the lobbying efforts of the Wiesenthal Center. Not that losing UNESCO's purse strings will make much difference since the magazine is funded by the Palestinian Authority and others.
The Director-General of UNESCO had this to say about the whole situation:
UNESCO is shocked and dismayed by the content of the February issue, and has requested more detailed information and clarification from the editors of the magazine and to 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."
And well they should be. But what about the Palestinian people? No-one had any problem with a young teen writing about Hitler in such a positive manner? No, because they abhor the Jews and they still cleave to the hope that some day Israel will be wiped off the map, though they're not the only ones.
According to the PMW book Deception: Betraying the Peace Process that exposed the article:
The Zayzafuna magazine chose to publish an essay written by a girl in 10th grade in which Hitler is admired because he killed the Jews - an act that is presented as a positive accomplishment for the benefit of humanity. The girl describes a dream in which she meets four historical figures, all of whom are presented as admired role models, and each one's special accomplishment is the topic of a short conversation with the girl. Three of them are the ninth-century Muslim mathematician Al-Khwarizmi; Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz; and Saladin, the Muslim leader who defeated the Christian Crusaders and conquered Jerusalem in the 12th century. The fourth and only non-Muslim role model in the dream is Adolf Hitler.
All four are presented as positive figures and each one offers advice to the young girl, which she accepts. Hitler is admired because he killed the Jews "so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world." Hitler advises the girl to "be resilient and patient" in facing the suffering the Jews are causing. The girl thanks Hitler for his advice.Not that this is the first time a Palestinian has praised Hitler. To many in the Arab and Muslim world he is a hero, and what the Nazis did to the Jews is something they aspire to. What PMW found most troubling was the fact that the rest of the magazine is actually very positive- encouraging a democratic society, family values, and unity & coexistence between everyone in Palestine except the Israelis and the Jews.
As expected, the director of the magazine, Shareef Samhan, claimed she wasn't actually praising Hitler, but rather "accusing" him, and then launched into the whole free speech thing:
"We depend in the content of our magazine on the participation of school students, and it's not our job to prohibit the freedom of speech."
Freedom of speech when it suits them. In response, Ghassan Khatib of the Palestinian Authority said,
"We educate young people in our textbooks about the Holocaust and the massacres of Hitler against Jews and against others, and we refer to these massacres as crimes against humanity. This instance is exceptional, and the editor will try to be more careful in the future."I'd like to see those books.