Earlier this year a disturbing story apparently appeared in Zayzafuna, an educational magazine for children funded by the Palestinian Authority. A young girl describes a dream in which she meets four people she admires. These are the Persian mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi, Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, Saladin Al-Ayoubi, the twelfth century leader – and Hitler:
I turned to the next door; there Hitler awaited me. I said, ‘You’re the one who killed the Jews?’
He [Hitler] said: ‘Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world. And what I ask of you is to be resilient and patient, concerning the suffering that Palestine is experiencing at their hands.’
I said [to Hitler]: ‘Thanks for the advice.’
Apparently the magazine is sponsored by UNESCO and the MDG Achievement Fund, a UN humanitarian foundation funded by the Spanish government.
As there doesn’t appear to be much independent confirmation of this story, or indeed much further online information about the magazine Zayzafuna, more information would be welcome.
Thanks to davem for tracking down the original magazine (in Arabic). The story is apparently on page 19. It is of course the case, as some noted in the comments, that the publication of this story will come as no huge surprise to most HP readers. So it’s worth pausing on the issue of funding. First of all though, here is a further extract from the account of Zayzafuna offered by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik. The two authors offer an apparently measured report of the magazine, noting that some of its messages are perfectly positive. However they make it clear that the dream story, though extreme, is hardly anomalous:
In addition, the magazine portrays a world where “Palestine” has replaced Israel by referring to Israeli cities such as Haifa and Jaffa as places in “Palestine” or as “occupied” cites. It denies Israel’s right to exist by saying that Israel is on “stolen” or “occupied” land, and demonizes Israel and Jews. Approximately one fourth of the children’s submissions are on nationalistic topics, and among them are expressions of hatred and delegitimization against Jews and Israel that mirror the messages transmitted by the PA leadership through official media, PA education and other structures under their control.
Here is their account of the bodies which sponsor Zayzafuna. Their involvement postdates the dream story issue, but clearly any decision to support the magazine should have been based on a careful evaluation of its contents:
Since August 2011, the magazine is also sponsored by UNESCO and the MDG Achievement Fund (MDG-F), a UN humanitarian foundation funded by the Spanish government. [Zayzafuna, August 2011.] In the October 2011 issue a note appears: “Opinions expressed in this magazine don’t necessarily express UNESCO’s views.”
Here is a page from the website for MDG-F. Supporting Zayzafuna hardly seems compatible with their emphasis on ‘conflict building and peacework’. And here’s the UNESCO website – ‘building peace in the minds of men and women’ – but hate in minds of boys and girls? Ironically there’s an interview with the coordinator of the educational workshops at the Shoah Memorial in Paris on the front page of the website, featuring questions such as ‘How can you teach the Holocaust to young children without upsetting them?’
Alan A adds:
Also see this New York Times piece