June 23, 2022 ***
Report: U.N. Teachers Call To Murderr Jews
Today in New York, top donor states to
gather for UNRWA pledging conference
GENEVA, June 23, 2022 — As the U.S. and other Western states gather today at the United Nations in the presence of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to pledge funding for the UN agency that runs schools and social services for Palestinians, a watchdog group urged them to stop funding hundreds of UNRWA teachers and other employees who call to murder Jews.
Over 120 UNRWA educators and staff have been found to promote violence and antisemitism on social media, according to the latest report in a series published by the non-governmental organization UN Watch, an independent human rights monitoring group based in Geneva.
Entitled “UNRWA’s Teachers of Hate,” today’s report uncovers 20 new cases of virulent UNRWA staff incitement which violate the agency’s rules and stated values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or antisemitism.
UN Watch submitted the report today to EU foreign affairs commissioner Joseph Borell, and U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, whose governments are among the top funders of UNRWA, and to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini.
UN Watch is calling on the agency’s major funders—including the U.S., Germany, the UK and the European Union—to ensure that none of their combined $1.2 billion of donations to UNRWA will fund teachers of hate, and to hold the agency accountable to its own standards and commitments.
As revealed in today’s report, UNRWA staff stationed in the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan are publicly inciting antisemitism and terrorism.
Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels to propagate hate:
- UNRWA West Bank computer teacher Nihaya Awad endorsed Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians after last year’s war and encouraged Palestinian terrorists’ exploitation of child soldiers, in a May 21, 2021 post on Facebook. This was only two months after one of UNRWA’s directors, Gwyn Lewis, sent Ms. Awad a certificate of appreciation for her “fantastic efforts” as a “best performer” in UNRWA education. “We are proud that you are part of the UNRWA team,” wrote Lewis on March 23, 2021.
- UNRWA Lebanon teacher Elham Mansour last month, on May 11, 2022, posted on Facebook that “By Allah, anyone who can kill and slaughter any Zionist and Israeli criminal, and doesn’t do so, doesn’t deserve to live. Kill them and pursue them everywhere, they are the greatest enemy….All Israel deserves is death.”
Two months ago, on April 15, 2022, this UNRWA teacher posted a message on Facebook addressed to “you filthy Zionists” in which she called on “the men of resistance” at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to “slaughter each and every one of you and toss you into the garbage heaps, because you are filthy, you contaminate any land you are in.”
Last year, on May 14, 2021, Ms. Mansour wrote: “Israel is evil. . . fight them and kill them, chase them everywhere, every corner, every street, our greatest enemy is Israel, death and destruction to you…”
Notably, Ms. Mansour’s posts are liked by several other UNRWA teachers, as was the case with many of the antisemitic UNRWA posts exposed in our prior reports. This underscores how the problem of UNRWA employing staff who propagate antisemitic hate and incitement is not merely due to “a few bad apples,” as UNRWA has claimed. The antisemitic poison is systemic.
- UNRWA Jordan teacher Hana’a Daoud posted a photo of masked Hamas terrorists holding submachine guns and called on Muslims to “fight against the Jews, until a Jew will hide himself behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”
These teachers of hate were funded last year by state donations to UNRWA including $338 million from the United States, $177 million from Germany, $118 million from the European Commission, $54 million from Sweden, $40 million from the UK, $32 million from Switzerland, $30 million from Norway, $28 million from France, $28 million from Canada, and $27 million from Netherlands.
UN Watch’s report documents 20 new cases of antisemitic incitement that it captured from UNRWA employees’ public pages alone, all celebrating and promoting violence, even among young children.
The report only examined a sample of Facebook users who publicly identified themselves as UNRWA employees, and therefore UN Watch estimates that the number of UNRWA staff who incite violence and hatred includes hundreds if not thousands among the agency’s 30,000 staff.
Comment by UN Watch
UN Watch further reveals that despite its numerous prior requests and submission of detailed evidence, UNRWA has failed to fire teachers who incite to racism and terrorism.
“UNRWA should therefore be considered complicit in its staff members’ misconduct, says UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
“Around the world, educators who incite hate and violence are removed. Yet UNRWA, despite proclaiming ‘zero tolerance’ for incitement, systematically employs preachers of anti-Jewish hate and terrorism.
“We call on the governments that fund UNRWA, as they gather at the United Nations to announce new pledges, to declare that they will stop enabling a system that teaches new generations of Palestinians to hate and murder Jews.”
“Let us be clear: the problem is not the social media posts, but rather the unconscionable employment of teachers who preach antisemitism and terrorism.”
“The U.S., EU, Germany, UK, Canada and other donor states cannot morally send more money to UNRWA until it shows a genuine commitment to basic norms of education in its schools. This means the agency must publicly condemn UNRWA employees who incite terrorism and antisemitism, remove them from their positions, and create an independent and impartial investigation of all of its staff.”
UNRWA’s response to previous cases exposed in the past was to deny or downplay the problem, and to attack the messenger. Only when pressed by donors did UNRWA carry out a small number of investigations which led to a handful of temporary staff suspensions.
“A mere slap on the wrist to teachers of hate only sends the message that it’s business as usual. Instead, those who incite to racism or murder should be fired, under a zero tolerance policy, just as the UK government banned a teacher from the classroom for life over an antisemitic Facebook post,” said Neuer.
UN WATCH APPEAL TO MEMBER STATES
FOR OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
On the occasion of the Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA, United Nations, 23 June 2022
On the occasion of today’s international pledging conference for UNRWA, we appeal to the U.S., EU, Germany, the UK, France, Canada and other donor states to exercise their duty of oversight by demanding basic accountability from the agency.
They should ask UNRWA why it continues to employ teachers of hate as documented in today’s new report.
In addition, they should request information from UNRWA as to what if any UNRWA actions were taken in wake of last year’s UN Watch report, which called for UNRWA to fulfill its promise of “zero tolerance” by dismissing any UNRWA teacher who glorifies antisemitic hatred or terrorism. To date, however, we have not received any direct response from UNRWA.
A. Reported UNRWA Suspension of 6 Employees for Inciting Antisemitism
According to reports in Al Jazeera and The New Arab, UNRWA last year suspended a handful of employees, placing them on paid leave, pending an investigation into the findings of UN Watch’s report that documented incitement of antisemitism and terrorism.
UNRWA media advisor Adnan Abu Hasna said that employees against whom allegations were proven would be subject to “graduated penalties according to the case, such as warning, dismissal or other administrative procedures,” reported Al Jazeera.
Confusingly, however, no statement was ever published on the UNRWA website. For UNRWA donors to properly follow-up on this report, they need to request clarifications by UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of the following:
1. Of the 113 UNRWA teachers and other staff identified in Annex A of our report for glorifying antisemitism or terrorism, which, if any, have been suspended?
2. If indeed only six of the 113 perpetrators have been suspended, Mr. Lazzarini should be asked to identify which of the 107 UNRWA teachers and staff listed in Annex A are still employed by UNRWA. For example, we need to know about:
· Ghanem Naim Ghoneim, UNRWA teacher who venerates Hitler
· Ahmad Fareed Sultan, UNRWA teacher who glorifies terrorists
· Ibrahim Sabbagh, UNRWA teacher who incites terrorist violence
· Mudalalah Louz, UNRWA school principal who calls to destroy Israel · Mohammad Alsayyed, UNRWA head teacher who celebrates abduction and murder of Israelis
· Omar Asaad, UNRWA employee who glorifies Hitler
· Hatem Asaad, UNRWA employee who praises terrorists
· Mohamad Fahed, UNRWA employee who endorses murder of Jewish boys · Mohamed Alhallaq, UNRWA teacher who glorifies terrorist groups
· Tarek Abu Ghazaleh, UNRWA employee who celebrates murder of rabbis · Hussam Khattib, UNRWA teacher who endorses murder of Israeli civilians · Mohamed Soliman, UNRWA teacher who glorifies Hitler and stabbings
3. Why were the suspended employees placed on paid leave?
4. What criteria determine whether an UNRWA employee who incites antisemitic hatred or terrorism receives a warning, dismissal or other disciplinary measure
5. Given that UNRWA proclaims “zero tolerance” for “hatred, incitement to violence or discrimination” and a “zero-tolerance policy” for “any deviation from UN principles,” why are teachers found to have publicly incited antisemitic hatred and terrorism not being permanently removed from the classroom?
6. Does UNRWA have a vetting procedure in place to prevent the hiring of teachers who promote antisemitic hatred, violence or discrimination, and if so what is it?
7. When the UN Human Rights Council president made the unprecedented move of cutting off UN Watch’s testimony on UNRWA incitement, was this censorship preceded by a request or other communication from UNRWA?
B. Defaming Those Who Uncover UNRWA Misconduct
Member States should firmly reject UNRWA’s contradictory approach toward independent efforts of oversight and accountability, including reports that document racist teachers employed by the agency.
On the one hand, in wake of UN Watch’s latest report, UNRWA stated that it “takes each allegation seriously”; “has immediately launched a thorough investigation”; is “concerned” that “some of the posts violate our rules and policies”; and pledged “immediate administrative or disciplinary action” should misconduct be found. Moreover, UNRWA stated that “oversight and accountability of any organization is vital” and that the agency “welcomes future opportunities of assessment.” (UNRWA statement on United Nations Watch allegations, 8/5/2021).
On the other hand, on several occasions—in his own capacity as Commissioner-General—Mr. Lazzarini has resorted to ad hominem attacks on the human rights work of United Nations Watch. On June 30th, for example, he told UNRWA’s donor states that reports documenting UNRWA staff incitement to violence or antisemitism constitute “irrational allegations,” and he characterized this form of oversight and accountability as “political attacks that seek to undermine [UNRWA’s] legitimacy as a way to erode the rights of Palestine refugees”—from which UNRWA needed to be “shielded” by donor states. (Commissioner-General’s opening statement to UNRWA Advisory Commission, 6/30/2021)
Likewise, following UN Watch’s latest report documenting incitement to antisemitism and terrorism by 113 UNRWA teachers and other staff, UNRWA’s initial response was to lash out and falsely defame this human rights group as “an organization with a deep history of unfounded and politically-driven assertions against the Agency.” (UNRWA statement on United Nations Watch allegations, 8/5/2021) Not one example of such “unfounded” or “politically-driven” assertions has ever been provided.
Less than two weeks later, Mr. Lazzarini reported to the UN General Assembly that UNRWA faced “intense politically motivated attacks” which he said “sought to question its mandate, its relevance and the integrity of its staff” primarily through “attacks on the quality of the education that Palestine refugee children receive.” (Commissioner-General’s report to the General Assembly, 8/18/2021)
In practice, it would seem that UNRWA is refusing to engage with the extensive research and documentation of UN Watch which demonstrates UNRWA’s failure to apply its purported “zero tolerance” policy toward teachers who incite racism and violence, while at the same time seeking to kill the messenger by maliciously defaming UN Watch for providing a minimal form of oversight that UNRWA itself has failed to exercise.