Photo Credit: UN Watch
UN Watch report on UNRWA teachers extolling Jihadi violence

A United Nations agency systematically teaches Arab Palestinian children to pursue Jihadist terrorism and inculcates them with anti-Semitism, according to the watchdog organization UN Watch.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, presented a new report to a U.S. Congressional joint subcommittee on Thursday, Feb. 2, which revealed dozens of new cases of UNRWA school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria “whose Facebook pages incite to Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.”


In addition to sharing the results of its new report with congressional leaders, letters describing the shocking cases were also sent to UN Chief António Guterres, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley. UN Watch urged the leaders to take action and demand that the UN and UNRWA issue a condemnation of the incitement and the immediate termination of the implicated employees.

UN Watch monitored the Facebook pages of UNRWA teachers and staffers and found multiple instances of: celebrating the terrorist kidnapping of Israeli teenagers; cheering rockets being fired at Israeli civilian centers; the endorsement of the use of violence; praise for Hitler; erasing Israel from maps and “posting overtly antisemitic videos, caricatures, and statements.”

On the basis of its report which buttresses similar findings issued in 2015, UN Watch had specific recommendations for action which were directed at UNRWA’s major donors. The single biggest donor to UNRWA is the United States, which gave $380 million in 2015. The next largest donor is the EU which contributes $136 million, and the United Kingdom whose contribution is $100 million.

Despite the huge financial stake in this agency – money coming from the pockets of its own citizens – the donor nations and the UN itself took little action in response to last year’s UN Watch report.

It was only after a sustained media campaign that the UN took any action at all, and the little it did was merely relayed in a ‘quiet announcement’ that a few employees had been suspended.

“That so many UNRWA employees continue to publicly display Facebook posts which celebrate radical Islamic terrorism and incite antisemitism demonstrates that UNRWA—despite its claims to have established disciplinary systems—is failing to take the issue seriously, and that its employees know that.

“Likewise, the senior UNRWA echelon’s daily political advocacy targeting Israel—an anomalous practice and breach of neutrality among humanitarian agencies worldwide—creates an overall atmosphere in the organization where teachers clearly feel comfortable erasing the Jewish state from the map,” UN Watch charged in its statement accompanying the release of this year’s report.

“We need to see zero tolerance in the U.N. for terrorism and antisemitism,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: [email protected]