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December 9, 2015 1:20 pm

UNRWA Educators Persist in Inciting Fellow Palestinians to Violence Against Israelis on Social Media

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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A cartoon supporting the "knife intifada" on the Facebook page of an UNRWA teacher in Gaza. Photo: Facebook.

A cartoon supporting the “knife intifada” on the Facebook page of an UNRWA teacher in Gaza. Photo: Facebook.

In spite of UN assurances to the contrary, Jew hatred and incitement to violence continue to grace the social media threads of teachers employed by the international body, pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon reported on Wednesday.

The latest example highlighted by the anonymous blogger can be found on the Facebook page of Zia al Talouli, a teacher for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the Beit Hanoun Elementary School in Gaza. Along with a photo of himself and a group of his young pupils engaged in a cheerful outdoor exercise, Talouli posted a cartoon of a terrorist – whose face is masked with a keffiyeh – playing a knife as though it were a violin, using a key (the Palestinian symbol for returning to their “homes” in the entire state of Israel) as a bow.

The knife imagery has become a common theme on social media, representing the stabbing attacks that best characterize the current surge in Palestinian terrorism that began in September. In fact, the cartoon itself has been circulating for several weeks.

An additional cartoon on his page illustrates “Palestinian reconciliation” – in the form of a handshake in the shape of a gun – shooting at the Israeli flag. The implication is that internal Palestinian strife, as between Fatah and Hamas, is set aside for the common cause of fighting Israel.

Elder of Ziyon asks rhetorically what one thinks this UNRWA educator is teaching his students.

This question was at the root of a number of complaints lodged by the Geneva-based non-profit human rights organization UN Watch to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about UNRWA teachers’ open encouragement of the killing of Jews. It was also behind UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer’s warning to the United States and Europe – UNRWA’s largest donors – about where their more than $1 billion annually is going.

Neuer’s persistence has had a number of consequences. The first was an attack on his integrity, launched on Twitter by UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness, who told The Algemeiner in September that UNRWA “always investigates credible reports of neutrality violations by our staff and take appropriate action, including disciplinary action, where violations by UNRWA staff members are established. Our position on racism is clear. We condemn racism in all its forms.”

This comment came on the heels of a series of tweets by Gunness attacking Neuer, rather than addressing the issue.

The second was a very brief lull in the number of social media posts with blatantly antisemitic memes and caricatures. As Elder of Ziyon noted in November, “Many of the people I exposed have taken out their association with UNRWA in their profiles, and others took their pages down altogether.”

Still, Elder of Ziyon added, UNRWA has refrained from acknowledging that the phenomenon is widespread, and never comes out and calls for a halt to anti-Israel incitement.

To illustrate, he pointed out a passage of a speech delivered to the UN General Assembly on November 9 by UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl:

UNRWA continues to operate in a highly polarized environment where emotions frequently run high. We enforce neutrality within our organization, but we are not immune from the context. There have recently been allegations of inappropriate statements by UNRWA staff, notably on social media. Let me state here unambiguously that UNRWA condemns any form of antisemitism or racism and its position on this issue is a matter of public record. We take every allegation seriously and when credible investigate it and will continue to take disciplinary actions as required.

The subsequent cropping up of many new antisemitic posts on social media by UNRWA teachers spurred Neuer to submit a report on November 30 to Ban Ki-moon, Krähenbühl, EU foreign affairs commissioner Federica Mogherini and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, listing 10 egregious examples.

These included an UNRWA English teacher saying it’s important to know that “the Zionists and the Jews are sons of monkeys and pigs.”

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  • Jose Duran

    The UN, is dead, and it’s festering remnants all full of the worse humanity has to offer. The majority of African and Arab nations, and China, are corrupt, despotic and backwards. The west is in decay, for lack o vision, and leadership, we allow the idiots, the elitist and the useless to run the show, because most people are to selfish and without analytical skills to realize that we are going to the a isn, and the end of civilization, unless a drastic change towards, a cultured, intelligent and knowledgeable electorate is figured out somehow.

  • Michael Mayben

    The U.N. is a useless conglomeration on nations whose majority of nations have a general dislike for America but strangely have a supportive position for all things Arab nations related. Why does America continue to spend millions upon millions of dollars to support the U.N. in America while providing foreign aid to countries who stab America in the back when issues that involve America all seem to vote against America’s position more than for.

  • steven L

    UNRWA was created, funded and is supported by the West in order to undermine the Jews.
    Without the support of the West, UNRWA would be long gone.

  • gary ashton

    The only reason they do this is because they are allowed to. Isreal is way behind the ball when it comes to the propaganda machine of europe the united nations and the left wing meme machine. It may have a good military but the battle field is in the hearts and minds of the civilian internet users. The Palestinians have a 30 year head start when it came to this battle. And it starts with delegitimising Israel and sub humanising jews by changing their own history. Now it’s very common for people to have no comprehension when Israel claims it is not apartheid, people think Jews own the banks, the media, are alien lizards or practice black magick. The protocols of Zion has gone mainstream and the internet has validated them.
    What Israel needs to do is start suing bodies like the UNRWA and the EU for libel. It needs to actively launch a non military defence using logic and reason through legitimate channels. Sue them for everything and once one body looses it will make others think twice. Sue journalists that lie. Sue tv shows that lie. Sue politicians that lie. Sue them and see how fast change occurs.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Thank for denouncing the continuous UN disregards of they agency that is by they employer instigate hate and criminal action against non Muslim Jews. I can only said that my opinion of UN is more and more incline to ask for the organization to be shut. We need organization that are independent and not drive by political and economical or religious reason. Justice cannot be deliver by a corrupt organization.

  • nelson marans

    Is UNRWA the political wing of Hamas or is Hamas the military wing of UNRWA. Certainly the evidence points to both conclusions. UNRWA no longer should be functioning in Palestinian Arab territories sixty-seven years after the 1848 war.

  • Jose Duran

    Israel, does not have a partner for peace talks with Abbas, an unrequited thief and gangster, a totally undemocratic leader for the Palestinians. Not surprisingly, there is just hate and violenc coming from them.