NEW YORK (Oct. 12)
A $500,000 campaign by the United Nations Secretariat to “promote” Palestinian rights was denounced today by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as a “crude attempt to glorify Arab terrorism and the murderous PLO.”
Theodore R. Mann, chairman of the Conference of Presidents, called on UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young to “take no part in this blatant effort to attack the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”
Mann called the campaign–which includes a pro-Palestine Liberation Organization film starring Yasir Arafat to be premiered at the United Nations on Nov. 29–“an effort to distort the history of the Middle East, to justify the terrorist slaughter of innocent women and children and to canonize Arafat as a great hero of national liberation. It is a grievous affront to the cause of peace and an indignity to the American people, whose taxes are paying for 25 percent of it.”
The UN drive is based on a General Assembly resolution last December establishing a “Special Unit on the Palestinian People” with an appropriation of $500,000. It includes, in addition to the pro-PLO film, the publication of a newsletter and a series of pamphlets. The publicity drive will peak on Nov. 29, which will be celebrated as “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” That date, which marks the 31st anniversary of the UN Palestine Partition Plan, will be marked at the UN by a performance of a Palestinian dance troupe, a photo exhibition on Palestinian rights in the UN lobby and a series of speeches in the General Assembly.
Mann said the film “condones PLO terrorism by presenting ‘moderate’ Palestinians who say such attacks are necessary as a ‘last resort.'” He added: “At a time when the Camp David accords have brought about a new spirit, a fresh hope and the real promise of an end to old hatreds and antagonisms, it is particularly regrettable that the UN Secretariat should launch an effort that not only does violence to the UN charter but subverts the possibility of progress toward peace.”