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September 11, 2002

WIESENTHAL CENTER: "UNICEF GOODWILL AMBASSADOR ENDORSES TERROR"

Paris--According to the Beirut Daily Star, UNICEF's recently appointed Ambassador of Goodwill, Syrian actor Dourade Lahhan, described President George Bush as a "modern-day Hitler." He made the comment while visiting the Lebanese border as a guest of Hizbollah.

In a letter to UNICEF's Executive Director, Ms. Carol Bellamy, the Wiesenthal Center's Director for International Liaison, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted the irony of his writing "on this first anniversary of the mass murder of innocents in New York and Washington D.C."

Dr. Samuels added that "your Ambassador's expression of pride in being associated with a group that figures on the United States' terrorist list is an insult to the memory of the 9/11 victims. He has thereby endorsed the forces of hate, violence and terror - rejecting the values enunciated by the United Nations Children's Fund."

The Wiesenthal Center urged UNICEF "to immediate cancel Lahhan's title of Ambassador of Goodwill and to condemn this outrageous statement."

For more information, contact the Centers Communications Department, 310-553-9036.