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UNRWA Schools Still Spreading Antisemitic Hate



Every year, watchdog groups IMPACT-se and UN Watch study the textbooks of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the UNRWA curriculum, and reports about disturbing behavior by teachers, And every year they find that yet again they must charge UNRWA with using schoolbooks, and employing teachers who spread antisemitic hate in its schools. Every year UNRWA promises to clean up those texts, and discharge those antisemitic teachers. But it never does, and its donors never follow through on threats to cut their aid. This last year was like all the others. More on this dreary tale of pusillanimity can be found here: “‘There Are Still Some People You Need to Burn’: UN Teachers in Gaza Praise Terrorists, Hitler on Social Media, New Report Says,” by Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner, March 14, 2023:

Teachers and staff working at Palestinian schools funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) regularly incite antisemitism, terrorism, and hate on social media, according to a new report released Tuesday [March 7] by Impact-se and UN Watch, two nonprofits that research educational content in the Palestinian Territories.

The report, titled “UNRWA Education: Reform or Regression,” cited over 200 examples of UNRWA teachers promoting hateful content on social media, including an Syrian math teacher’s praising a March 2022 terrorist attack in Israel that claimed four lives, a Lebanon teacher’s calling the architect of several attacks a “martyr” and “noblest of souls,” and a Syrian UNRWA employee’s sharing on social media a photograph of Hitler, which she captioned, “there are still some people you need to burn.”

None of those UNRWA teachers responsible for those 200 examples of antisemitic content posted on social media has been dismissed, or even reprimanded. And the problem of antisemitism at UNRWA goes far beyond individual teachers, to the very content of the schoolbooks used, and curriculum followed, throughout the UNRWA schools.

The problem exists alongside incitement in UNRWA school curriculum, the report continued, showing photographs of a school in Gaza teaching students that Dalal Mughrabi, who coordinated in 1978 the Coastal Road Massacre, which killed 38 Israelis, including thirteen children, is a “hero” and “the fighting leader.”

Dalal Mughrabi was the mastermind of, and participant in, the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history – the Coastal Road Massacre, in which a bus was taken over by terrorists who proceeded to murder its Israeli passengers. Mughrabi herself rolled a grenade down the center of the bus to blow up passengers; she later was killed by the IDF after it arrived to safeguard the Israeli survivors. Mughrabi is described as a “hero” and “fighting leader” whom the female students in UNRWA schools should strive to emulate.

It [the IMPACT-se report] also cited an UNRWA textbook used in the Al-Maghazi Middle School for Boys in Gaza that contains fictional stories of Israelis murdering Palestinians. In what Impact-se and UN Watch described as a “graphic text,” a Palestinian boy watches a “fountain of blood bursting” from his father’s chest after he is shot by an IDF officer for “being late to shore.” Fifth graders at Al-Maghazi are also taught that martyrdom and jihad represent “the most important meanings of life.”

Since there are no real-life examples of Israeli atrocities, UNRWA storytellers have created fictional ones, including the graphic tale of an IDF soldier who supposed killed a Palestinian father – understood to be a fisherman in Gaza — in front of his son, because he had been “late to shore.” The students are to imagine the horror of this wanton killing by an IDF monster, the young boy in the story watching as his dying father’s chest opened, and blood spurted out. The pupils are taught that to conduct jihad, and to become martyrs by dying while attacking Israelis, are the highest callings a young Muslim can aspire to. This ghastly brainwashing by UNRWA begins when the children are in fifth grade – that is, a mere ten years old.

The agency, established by the United Nations in 1949, according to its website, has a “zero tolerance” policy on “hate speech and incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” and has repeatedly denied claims to the contrary. It receives over a billion dollars a year from donor states across the world, with the United States and the European Union (EU) alone contributing $511.5 million in 2021, a sum that, lawmakers across the Atlantic have said, is essentially awarded without any guarantee that UNRWA will expunge antisemitism in its curricula and bring its schools in line with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s standards.

In the report’s conclusion, Impact-se and UN Watch called on the UNRWA donor states to demand enforcement of the agency’s zero tolerance policy, independently investigate evidence outlined in their report, and determine whether UNRWA still employs individuals identified as distributors of antisemitic social media content.

This is similar to the requests that Impact-se and UN Watch make year after year, demanding that UNRWA not merely claim that it has a “zero-tolerance” policy but actually enforces it, as it has yet to do.

UNRWA has 30,000 people on staff. All but a handful at the very top of the scandal-riddled agency (a sex-and-money scandal in 2019 led to the forced resignation of the Director-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, his mistress, and a half-dozen others) are Palestinians themselves. They share the antisemitism that UNRWA schools teach. That’s not surprising; those teachers attended UNRWA schools themselves, and have no intention of getting rid of its antisemitism. The farce of these annual assurances being given of a “zero tolerance” policy for teaching hate, and then never followed through on by UNRWA, may be coming to an end, because Congress is about to get into the act. It is considering legislation that will cut off all American funds to UNRWA – Washington is the agency’s largest donor — if it continues to use antisemitic materials in the schools it runs in Gaza. Presumably, the schools in the West Bank run by the PA will also be included when the bill is considered by Congress as a whole; there is no good reason to treat the UNRWA schools in Gaza and the PA-run schools in the West Bank differently.

Impact-Se and UN Watch will on Tuesday[March 14] report their findings to the US Congress, which is considering the “Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act,” a bill, coauthored by U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (R-FL) and Brad Sherman (D-CA), aimed at preventing US tax dollars from funding antisemitic education materials in schools in the Gaza Strip.

In September, Sherman stressed that US support for Palestinians “is not a blank check” and argued that curricula in schools administered by the Palestinian Authority and UNWRA are antithetical to US values of “tolerance and peacebuilding.”

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said on Tuesday that UNRWA must be held accountable and is “complicit” in its staff members’ behavior….

UNRWA is not just “complicit” in the antisemitic behavior of some of its teachers, but positively, albeit quietly, approving. No appeals to reason or decency, no reminders to UNRWA to follow its own “zero tolerance” policy, will have any effect. Only the threat to cut off aid to UNRWA – a threat that must be carried through on if the changes demanded are not put into effect – will cause the agency to fire offending teachers and to reform its curriculum. This farce has been going on for far too long. Trump had the right idea when he cut off all American funding to UNRWA as well as to the PA. The Bidenites have undone that achievement by once again lavishing aid on both UNRWA and the PA, even though UNRWA has not changed its antisemitic schoolbooks or curriculum, nor fired teachers who “incite hate and violence,” and even though the PA continues to fund its “Pay-for-Slay” program.

This time, because of the fecklessness of the Bidenites in renewing American aid without any quid pro quo demanded, UNRWA leaders surely believe that they can continue to satisfy their American critics by piously invoking the “zero-tolerance” policy that they have never put into effect. It’s up to members of Congress to insist that there will be no American aid of any kind for UNWRA until that agency’s new curriculum is actually in place, and after new schoolbooks, thoroughly cleansed of antisemitic filth, have been issued to students, and finally, only when the UNRWA teachers responsible for the 200 antisemitic posts on social media uncovered by Impact-se are dismissed, never to return.


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