U.N. agency disavows TV campaign


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A United Nations agency has disavowed its involvement with a television campaign to address women’s issues that glorifies a female Palestinian terrorist.

The United Nations Population Fund, an international development agency that promotes a life of health and equal opportunity, disassociated itself from the campaign late last week following the surfacing of media reports about the contents of the campaign.

The "White Hands Campaign," which was produced by the Arab Producers Union for TV, is being aired on more than 50 Arab television stations, including the official channel of the Palestinian Authority.

The population fund "had no involvement in the selection of women profiled in the ‘White Hands Campaign’ of the Arab Producers’ Union for TV (APUTV), and has asked for its logo to be removed from the site," according to a statement posted on the fund’s website.

The statement said that in 2008, the fund provided information and data on reproductive health and youth issues to the Arab Producers Union, but no funding.

"More importantly, UNFPA was neither consulted nor involved in the selection of Arab women to be featured by the initiative, and it condemns any acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people," it said. "The Fund therefore disassociates itself from the campaign activities."

One of the model women introduced in the campaign is Palestinian Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 directed the hijacking of two buses on Israel’s Coastal Road between Haifa and Tel Aviv, which led to the murder of 38 Israelis, including 13 children.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, a watchdog agency that has been monitoring the campaign, Mughrabi “was venerated in the clip as a role model for ‘martyrdom’ and ‘victory over enmity.’ "

"We are pleased the UN Population Fund has clarified its role by publicly disassociating from the TV ad campaign and condemning violence,” American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris in a statement. “Clearly this campaign contravenes the fund’s noble mission of empowering women.”

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