The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday urged the United Nations World Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to reconsider its decision to reject donations from a Jewish philanthropist, saying the move “smacks of selective political discrimination.”
The fund has said it will no longer accept donations from billionaire Lev Leviev because of allegations that one of his companies was involved in financing construction of West Bank settlements. In announcing the decision this week, UNICEF officials stressed that the organization has a policy of only accepting funds from “non-confrontational” partners.
“The decision not to accept assistance from Mr. Leviev smacks of selective political discrimination,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This decision only gives legitimacy to those who would seek to promote a boycott of the State of Israel and its supporters.”
In a letter to Ann M. Veneman, executive director of UNICEF, the ADL questioned the decision and its timing, noting that the fund has a history of accepting aid from other questionable partners, including the International Islamic Relief Organization, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the US Treasury Department in 2006 because of its links to Al-Qaeda.
“At a time when children around the world are in desperate need of food, medical care, education and other aid, it is a sad day when UNICEF has to create unnecessary, arbitrary and discriminatory guidelines in a bid to satisfy the demands of an outside group with little vested concern in improving the lives of children,” said Foxman.