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AJC Urges UN General Assembly President to Not Screen 'Miral'

NEW YORK, March 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is urging the President of the UN General Assembly to reconsider his decision to sponsor the screening of "Miral," a new film about a young Palestinian and her view of the conflict with Israel. Diplomats are invited to view the film tomorrow, ahead of a March 25 release to select theaters in the U.S.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/AJCLOGO )

"The film has a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light," AJC Executive Director David Harris wrote in a letter on Friday to Ambassador Joseph Deiss, President of the UN General Assembly. Showing the film in the UN General Assembly hall "will only serve to reinforce the already widespread view that Israel simply cannot expect fair treatment in the UN."

Harris expressed concern that "the President of the General Assembly would wish to associate himself -- and the prestige of his office -- with such a blatantly one-sided event." He urged Deiss to reconsider the decision, which is quite unprecedented in sponsoring such a showing.

"Moreover, it is our understanding that the Israeli Mission to the UN was not even given the minimal courtesy of being consulted in advance about the wisdom of showing such a film that deals, after all, with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Harris.

The full text of AJC's letter to UN General Assembly President Deiss follows:

Dear President Deiss,

I write on behalf of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to express profound concern about the planned showing of the film "Miral" in the General Assembly Hall on Monday.

To say the least, we were surprised to learn about this highly unusual premiere under the auspices of your office. The film has a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light. Permit me to ask why the President of the General Assembly would wish to associate himself -- and the prestige of his office -- with such a blatantly one-sided event.

AJC has had a long and productive association with the UN that dates back to the world body's founding in San Francisco in 1945. Indeed, historians have credited our organization with a key role in achieving the human-rights provisions in the Charter. Moreover, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture in front of the Secretariat building was a gift from our president, Jacob Blaustein, to then Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold as a tangible gesture of support. Today, we enjoy consultative status at the UN.

It is in that spirit of deeply-rooted connection to the UN that we voice the earnest hope, even at this late date, that you will reconsider your decision about the film. Otherwise, you will only serve to reinforce the already widespread view that Israel simply cannot expect fair treatment in the UN.

Thank you for the consideration of our view.

Cordially,

David Harris

AJC Executive Director

SOURCE American Jewish Committee



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