United Nations’ Bigotry Towards Israel: UNRWA Antisemitism Poisons Palestinian Youth
A congressional hearing chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) today exposed the unbridled antisemitism that pervades the United Nations and fuels its anti-Israel bias, which has become increasingly apparent in the aftermath of the barbaric terrorist attacks launched by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians last month.
“Make no mistake, antisemitic bigotry is at the root of the UN’s hostility to Israel, which is ugly, evil, and manifests itself in almost every UN entity,” said Smith, who authored the law that created the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism at the US State Department and another law that upgraded and strengthened the Special Envoy to the rank of Ambassador, reporting directly to the Secretary of State.
“The United Nations is unquestionably the world’s foremost legitimizer of antisemitism, including in its most virulent and violent forms,” said Smith, the Chair of the Global Human Rights Subcommittee, who has chaired 14 congressional hearings focused on antisemitism. “The monstrous and genocidal atrocities we have seen pouring out of Gaza since October 7 are antisemitic hate crimes, the logical consequence of the unbridled antisemitism fomented and enabled by the United Nations.”
Smith’s hearing—which is part of a series of hearings he is chairing to expose antisemitism and the most effective ways to fight it—examined what Smith called the UN’s “persistent morally bankrupt policy of promoting antisemitic grievances and justifying antisemitic violence” through its many bodies and agencies, especially and including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council.
Entitled “United Nations’ Bigotry Towards Israel: UNRWA Antisemitism Poisons Palestinian Youth,” it included expert testimony from Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch, and Jonathan Schanzer, the Senior Vice President for Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
“Teachers and schools at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which runs education and social services for Palestinians, regularly call to murder Jews, and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis and incite antisemitism,” said Neuer.
“In 2022 alone, UNRWA received $344 million in U.S. funding,” Neuer continued. “Yet a March 2023 report by UN Watch and Impact-SE identified 133 UNRWA educators and staff who were found to promote hate and violence on social media, and an additional 82 teachers and other staff affiliated with 30 UNRWA schools who were involved in drafting and distributing hateful content to students.”
“The UN doesn’t recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization,” said Schanzer. “Nor does it recognize Hezbollah either. That means UN resources can be and regularly are provided to members of those terrorist groups.”
“Beyond UNRWA, the UN maintains a roster of organs and committees dedicating to validating Palestinian grievances and maligning the Jewish state,” said Schanzer, who specifically called out the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL), the UN Human Rights Council, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN International Forces in Lebanon (UNFIL).
“In wake of one of the most horrific mass terrorist attacks of our time, the United Nations has failed to show moral clarity,” Neuer said. “Key UN bodies are failing to live up to their own principles, and are being willfully and systematically misused by an organized campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people.”
Duvi Honig—the CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and one of Smith’s constituents from Lakewood, New Jersey who attended the hearing—said in a statement submitted for the record: “The United Nations, although established with the intention of promoting global peace and security, appears to have given the green light for terror attacks on Israel.”
“It is essential to address this issue formally and ensure justice prevails,” Honig added.