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By David Bedein, (Jerusalem) and Rhonda Spivak

Reconsiders Partnership with Palestinian NGO after Winnipeg Jewish Review brings the matter to UNICEF’s attention

Most recently, Palestinian Media Watch revealed that an advertisement that ran on official Palestinian Authority TV by a Palestinian youth organization, PYALARA, which is funded by UNICEF, shows an axe destroying a Star of David.
The organization PYALARA (Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation) has been funded by UNICEF since the year 2000. According to PLAYARA’s website, "PYALARA  has been chosen by UNICEF as a major strategic partner in Palestine."

On the axe that destroys the Star of David is the word: "Boycott!" in the imperative tense. Youth are invited to watch the PA TV program calling for a  boycott of Israel.

The TV program started as follows: "The program Speak Up has decided to dedicate this program to a theme which is a national obligation upon each of us - the topic of boycotting Israel in all ways."  [PA TV March 21, 2010]

The ad read that the weekly youth program Speak Up is "produced in cooperation with PBC (PA TV) with the support of UNICEF."

PYALARA’s  website says:
"PYALARA is registered as an NGO at the Palestinian Ministry of Interior Affairs. We work closely with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, as well as with Palestinian universities and colleges, a wide national network of schools, and a good number of other NGOs in implementing projects with a national and comprehensive outreach. PYALARA has been chosen by UNICEF as a major strategic partner in Palestine... Since December 2000, PYALARA has produced, with the support of UNICEF and the cooperation of Palestine TV, a weekly two-hour TV program called Speak Up. An average of 300,000 Palestinian children and teenagers watch every episode."


The editor of the Winnipeg Jewish Review brought this hateful advertisement to the attention of  David Bedein in Jerusalem, who in turn brought this advertisement to the immediate attention of UNICEF.  UNICF did not take more than one day to issue an immediate condemnation of PYALARA.

In a statement dated March 23, UNICEF president, CARYL M. STERN, denounced  the "incorrect use of  the  UNICEF logo." The following is Stern’s   complete statement:

NEW YORK, NY; MARCH 23, 2010-UNICEF does not endorse the use of violent imagery and abhors the inappropriate use of its logo to suggest otherwise. The use of violence runs counter to UN values and principles.

UNICEF was not consulted by PYALARA about the use of its logo in a poster announcing a youth broadcast and it condemns the use of its logo to imply endorsement of political opinions. Neither the poster nor the television program it advertises reflect UNICEF's policies or its views.  UNICEF's partnership agreement with PYALARA ended in January 2010.

As soon as this incorrect use of the logo came to its attention, UNICEF contacted PYALARA to demand an explanation and to seek rectification. UNICEF has also demanded clarification as to the actual process and context in which the logo was used.  

UNICEF's policy is clear on the use of its logo. Standard agreements with partners require prior approval in writing for the use of the UNICEF brand. PYALARA did not follow this process and UNICEF approval was not sought or granted.

PYALARA has since presented its apologies to UNICEF and has given us assurances that it will conduct an enquiry to avoid similar incidents from occurring.

Prior to this, UNICEF had worked with PYALARA from 2000 to provide children and young people with a forum to voice their ideas and reach out to their peers. UNICEF's support was for media training, video documentation and peer-to-peer counseling, both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

Until this year, UNICEF provided approximately US$100,000 a year to PYALARA.  In light of the latest development, UNICEF will be carefully reviewing any proposed future partnerships with PYALARA."

On being contacted by the Winnipeg Jewish Review, Emily Milroy, spokesperson for  the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) wrote in  an email that CIDA's disbursement to UNICEF in  the fiscal Year 2007/2008 was $148 million , and went down to $131 million in the 2008/2009. “These figures include UNICEF and UNICEF CANADA,” she wrote.

When asked by the Review whether CIDA has ever funded or had any dealings with PYALARA, Milroy responded in an email thatIn 2004-05, CIDA provided direct funding to PYALARA ($54,500) through the Canada Fund. CIDA has not directly funded PYALARA since then.”

Regarding the PLAYARA advertisement that was run, Milroy added, “CIDA does not condone any activity that promotes the hatred of one group against another.   CIDA takes this matter very seriously.  CIDA is not currently providing direct or indirect funding to PYALARA.” 

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.