Antisemitic Cartoons on UNRWA Facebook Page Spur Watchdog to Demand Action From Ban Ki-moon
An outcry erupted Monday when antisemitic cartoons appeared on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Facebook page of the Rameh school in the Jaramaneh refugee camp outside Damascus.
In response to the cartoons, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda pictures, Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization U.N. Watch, sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with copies to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and Anti-Defamation League national director Jonathan Greenblatt.
We call your attention to two of the ten first items appearing on the [page], which are cartoons celebrating Palestinian car attacks against Israeli Jewish civilians.
One of the cartoons posted by UNRWA … [depicts] a hook-nosed ultra-Orthodox Jew dressed in black, with a star of David marked on his black hat. Another … shows cars attacking people, with the caption that translates to ‘Cars intifadaDaes,’ using the Arabic term ‘Daes’ (Run-over), a play on the Arabic word for [ISIS].
Excellency, at a time when UNRWA claims to be in crisis, it is shameful that an UNRWA facility featured on a UN video asking for help for victims in Syria would be the same one engaged in incitement to racism, terrorism and murder.
All of this follows the April report of your board of inquiry which found that UNRWA effectively turned a blind eye to Hamas rockets and other terrorist weapons being stored in its facilities.
The UN cannot demand more and more funding for UNRWA from the U.S. and others while this agency aids, abets and incites to terrorism, murder and anti-Semitism.
Accordingly, we respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA, and apologize.
UNRWA was established by a General Assembly resolution in 1949, following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
As stated on its website, “In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017… UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, defined as ‘persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.’ The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.”
Its funding comes chiefly from the United States and Europe, with a contribution from the overall budget of the United Nations.