Were hypocrisy an Olympic sport, UNICEF would qualify for the top ranks of the UN’s star-studded team. Recently, UNICEF cut all ties to an Israeli businessman, Lev Leviev, because of what Reuters described as his “suspected involvement” in building settlements on the West Bank. Now the Gulf News reports that following UNICEF’s blacklisting of Leviev, the Arab League is considering going beyond its usual bigotry in boycotting all direct business with Israel, and may blacklist all Leviev’s companies, as well as his agent in the United Arab Emirates.
Why did UNICEF get into this game? According to Reuters, UNICEF spokesman Chris de Bono explained that blackisting Leviev is supposed to be all about limiting UNICEF’s partners and donors to folks who are “as non-controversial as possible.”
Oh really? That’s fascinating, coming from UNICEF, where the 36-member executive board — which is its governing body — currently includes the regimes of Iran, Burma and Zimbabwe.
These despotisms (let’s say it again — UNICEF board members Iran, Burma and Zimbabwe) are all in flagrant violation of a whole array of the UN’s own resolutions, on matters as grave as nuclear proliferation and obscene violations of basic human rights. Their collective activities in very recent times have included slaughtering peaceful dissidents, torturing and jailing political opponents, plundering their own countries, blocking and manipulating UN emergency relief efforts, rigging elections, training and supporting terrorists and engaging in the illicit pursuit of nuclear bombs — accompanied by gloating threats to obliterate a nearby state.
Apparently — since all three are still listed as members of the board — UNICEF does not regard the governments of Iran, Burma and Zimbabwe as controversial. Either that, or UNICEF has two different standards: One that entails the blacklisting of Israeli would-be supporters that UNICEF has decided are not “as non-controversial as possible”; and another that provides seats on UNICEF’s governing board for some of the world’s nastiest tyrannies. That leaves us with two questions. Why on earth would Lev Leviev, or anyone else in the democratic world, want to support UNICEF at all? And who on the UNICEF governing board is busy deciding what is controversial, and what is not?