A REPORT ON UNRWA TEACHERS’ INCITEMENT TO JIHADIST TERRORISM AND ANTISEMITISM
This report exposes more than 40 Facebook pages operated by school teachers, principals, and other employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which incite to terrorism or antisemitism. The report is divided by region, and includes UNRWA staffers in Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and Syria. These cases are additional to the 30 cases of incitement revealed at the end of 2015 by UN Watch.
The examples of incitement in this report include UNRWA teachers and staffers celebrating the terrorist kidnapping of Israeli teenagers, cheering rockets being fired at Israeli civilian centers, endorsing various forms of violence, erasing Israel from the map, praising Hitler and posting his photo, and posting overtly antisemitic videos, caricatures, and statements.
Incitement as Symptom of Core Problem
It is essential to understand that the hatred on display within UNRWA is a symptom of a deeper, underlying problem: the very existence of the organization, its structure and operations, and core political mission. As noted by Dr. Einat Wilf, the world’s leading expert on UNRWA, the agency functions as a political Palestinian organization committed to the political program of “return,” which means sending five million descendants of 1948 Palestinian refugees into Israel, effectively ending the Jewish state as we know it. Rather than nurturing the possibility of peace, Dr. Wilf has shown, UNRWA is currently the greatest obstacle to peace, as it institutionalizes, perpetuates, and inflates the Palestinian refugee issue and the dream of Palestinian “return” to what is the State of Israel.
U.S., UK, EU and Other Top Donors Must Act
UNRWA’s major donors include the U.S., which gave $380 million in 2015, the EU ($136 million), and the UK ($100 million). These and other donor states, including Canada which recently announced a new $25 million grant, bear a responsibility to ensure that UNRWA lives up to its obligations as a UN humanitarian organization. Regrettably, when we exposed 30 similar cases of online incitement last year, the response of UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness was to lash out at UN Watch, and to deny or downplay the problem. Only after months of sustained media attention did the UN spokesman in New York announce quietly that a few employees had been suspended. The identities of the perpetrators, or the duration of their suspensions, were never disclosed. UNRWA itself has never issued any statement on the matter, neither on its website or elsewhere.
That so many UNRWA employees continue to publicly display Facebook posts which celebrate radical Islamic terrorism and incite antisemitism demonstrates that UNRWA— despite its claims to have established disciplinary systems—is failing to take the issue seriously, and that its employees know that.
Likewise, the senior UNRWA echelon’s daily political advocacy targeting Israel—an anomalous practice and breach of neutrality among humanitarian agencies worldwide— creates an overall atmosphere in the organization where teachers clearly feel comfortable erasing the Jewish state from the map.