A Halloween Boo to UNICEF

With Halloween upon us, what could be sweeter than urging your kids to skip the candy and instead collect coins for UNICEF? It's a grand old tradition, and  many of us did it as kids. Even among UN critics, UNICEF -- the UN's children's fund -- often gets a pass as an outfit which must by nature be benevolent and politically benign. It is, after all, dedicated (at least in theory) to children.

Think again. UNICEF may qualify as a brilliant exercise in branding, and it trades on this to hoover up spare change everywhere from hotels to restaurants to airplane flights -- all in the name of needy children. But UNICEF itself is no wide-eyed innocent. It is a big UN fund, bathing in government money (more than $255 million last year in U.S. tax dollars alone), and as such it is prone to the same hypocrisies, Potemkin platitudes, and politicized travesties that bedevil the rest of the UN.

For a summing up, it ought to be enough to note that among the 36 member states on UNICEF's executive board is China -- where the one-child policy has led to staggering numbers of sex-selective abortions, and in some cases, the killing of baby girls. Because the UN values geographic diversity, rather than moral integrity, in parceling out seats on its governing boards, UNICEF's executive board also includes Somalia, Sudan, Belarus, Russia, and Cuba.

What about UNICEF's policies? Blogger Yid With Lid has just posted a good rundown of some of the problems, under the headline "This Halloween Please Don't Give Money to Pro-Terror Anti-Capitalism UNICEF!!" The list includes UNICEF's fondness for Libya's late Moammar Qaddafi; UNICEF's funding of Palestinian summer camps where kids are encouraged to become suicide bombers; and anti-Semitic propaganda such as an advertisement produced by a UNICEF-funded Palestinian youth group, featuring the UNICEF logo under a picture of an axe smashing a Star of David, with the command, in Arabic, "Boycott."

To this, I can add some further items, such as UNICEF's announcement on its own web site that, partners being "an essential aspect of UNICEF's work," its main partner in North Korea is the North Korean government. That would be the same North Korean government whose totalitarian and utterly self-serving policies have resulted in the stunting and starving to death of millions of North Koreans -- a great many of those victims being children.