UNRWA Accuses NGO of ‘Politically-Motivated Attacks’ After Report on Antisemitic Hatred Among Agency Employees
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on Thursday issued an angry response to a report by a Geneva-based NGO alleging that over 100 teachers and other employees had posted content online that was either antisemitic or promoted hatred.
In a statement, UNRWA — a UN agency solely dedicated to five million descendants of the 750,000 Palestinian refugees from Israel’s 1947-48 War of Independence — said it had identified only 10 personnel for further investigation, claiming that the other individuals mentioned in the UN Watch report, “Beyond the Textbooks,” were not “associated with the agency.”
Among the social media posts cited by UN Watch was one from math teacher Nahed Shrarawi, in which she shared a video that included an image of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler along with inspirational quotes. Another UNRWA teacher in the West Bank, Husni Masri, shared a post promoting conspiracy theories about Jews, including that Jewish people want to rule the world and destroy Islam and were responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNRWA said it was “concerned that some of the posts violate our rules and policies, and should misconduct be found, UNRWA will take immediate administrative or disciplinary action.” However, the statement made no reference to the content of the posts not recognize their antisemitic nature.
The agency went on to accuse UN Watch of encouraging “sensationalist and politically-motivated attacks that deliberately harm an already vulnerable community: refugee children.”
It continued: “UNRWA’s mandate is to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to over five million Palestine refugees, a responsibility the Agency takes very seriously.”
Commenting on the UNRWA statement, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said on Friday that it “misses the point entirely.”
“[The agency] needs to show minimal transparency and accountability by publicly detailing which charges they reject, and to explain why they are not firing UNRWA teachers who publicly propagate antisemitism and support for terror,” Neuer said.