Badwill Ambassador: Honorary Chair of Israeli Fund for UNICEF Wants Palestinian Children to “Suffer”

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The Electronic Intifada

Badwill Ambassador: Honorary Chair of Israeli Fund for UNICEF Wants Palestinian Children to “Suffer”

Palestinian rights campaigners are demanding the removal of Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes from the position of honorary chairwoman of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund, over racist and violent comments she has made.

“During the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza, Shalom Nir-Mozes made several shockingly racist comments about Palestinians and Palestinian children,” the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) said in an action alert, urging people to write to UNICEF “asking them to remove Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes as the chairwoman of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF (IFU) and censure IFU for selecting someone so poorly suited to represent their work for children around the world.”

As MECA notes, Shalom Nir-Mozes, who is the wife of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, has recently said:

  • “How is it possible to make peace with people whose children are fed hatred towards Israel from the moment they are born? How is it possible to make peace with people who have it as part of their DNA to hate us? I am willing to make real peace at any price. The problem is that there is no partner. I wish I was wrong.”

  • “Bibi [Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister], is right, I liked when he said ‘They shoot at our children and hide behind their children,’ the miserable losers. Bad enough they ruin our kids’ childhoods, I don’t understand how parents of children in Gaza allow those murderers to destroy their children.”

  • She additionally spoke out against a ceasefire saying “I really hope Bibi will not surrender to the pressures of our enemies and their lobby and will continue the operation until the murder of the last terrorist in Gaza. It is time that life in the [Israeli] south will start to be normal.”

Earlier this year, during a previous Israeli upsurge of killing in Gaza, Shalom Nir-Mozes demanded that “It’s time even for the passive residents of Gaza to suffer the way the residents of the south are suffering.”

UNICEF distances itself but fails to take action

In recent days, UNICEF has responded to an outcry over the appointment of Shalom Nir-Mozes, who will be perhaps the most prominent face associated with the organization in Israel. In response to a letter from an Israeli activist, UNICEF wrote, according to Haaretz:

“These views do not reflect the views of UNICEF. Judy Shalom Nir Mozes has recently been appointed by the Board of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF (IFU) as the ‘Honorary Chair of the Annual General Meeting.’ This is a voluntary function and as such, Ms. Mozes is not an employee of the IFU. The IFU is an independent non-governmental organization, which helps mobilize funds to support UNICEF programs around the world. The Chairman of the IFU is Moriel Matalon.

This is clearly not enough. A woman who incites violence and hatred against children anywhere has no role in an international organization whose mission is to fight for the rights, well-being and health of children everywhere.

UNICEF is famous for its celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors who include actors Mia Farrow, Susan Sarandon and footballer David Beckham.

Perhaps UNICEF can now create a new category of Badwill and Incitement Ambassadors especially for Ms. Shalom Nir-Mozes?

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah is the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and a fellow with the Palestine Centre in Washington, DC.  Abunimah is Executive Director of The Electronic Intifada.

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