UN blocks Israel’s envoy from bringing picture on anti-semitic nature of UNRWA teachers into General Assem

October 5, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The United Nations (UN) exercised a form of censorship against Israel’s envoy when it prevented him from displaying a poster on anti-Semitic teachers working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Gazan residents hold up flags during a rally in Gaza City in solidarity with the renewal of UNRWA mandate, which was supported by 170 countries in the United Nations General Assembly. Gaza, Nov 27, 2019. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

UNRWA runs schools and social services in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Arab countries around Israel.

UN security personnel on Monday prevented Israel’s Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan from bringing a picture showing anti-Semitism and incitement by UNRWA teachers on social media into the General Assembly for a discussion on the organization, ostensibly an issue of protocol.

Erdan planned to use the picture as proof to show that UNRWA “needs to undergo fundamental change,” from firing teachers who promote anti-Semitism to stopping the incitement that is rampant throughout the organization, as well as to oppose increasing UNRWA’s budget, which the organization requested from the UN.

Erdan said he was “shocked” because “I brought here with me a photo of a UNRWA teacher’s post glorifying the most horrific mass murderer in history, Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, shockingly, I was prevented from bringing in this photo in order to share this proof with the other distinguished ambassadors here.”

“I see it as a very dangerous precedent here, preventing my freedom of expression, preventing my freedom of speech and basically hiding the truth from the UN. But, I will continue to fight for the truth,” he declared.

A recent report by the UN Watch exposed more than 100 employees of a UNRWA who posted content on social media that spreads hatred against Israel and Israelis, encourages anti-Semitism, and supports terrorism.

The August report uncovered cases of UNRWA staff incitement which clearly violates the agency’s own rules as well as its proclaimed values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or anti-Semitism.

Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels for such propaganda is UNRWA Gaza math teacher Nahed Sharawi, who shared a video of Adolf Hitler with inspirational quotes to “enrich and enlighten your thoughts and minds.”

Husni Masri, a UNRWA teacher in the PA, posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories according to which Jews control the world, created the Coronavirus, and seek to destroy Islam.

Shady Shehada, Project Engineer at UNRWA in Gaza, celebrated the Munich Massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972.

The report only examined a sample of Facebook users who publicly identified themselves as UNRWA employees, and estimates that the actual number of UNRWA staff who incite violence and hatred includes many more of the agency’s 30,000 staff.

“Were UNRWA itself to examine its employees, on and off Facebook, it can reasonably be estimated that thousands of UNRWA employees would be implicated,” the UN watchdog said.

UN Watch further reveals that despite its numerous prior requests and submission of detailed evidence, UNRWA has failed to fire teachers who incite to racism and terrorism, nor has it taken any other meaningful action.

“UNRWA should therefore be considered complicit in its staff members’ misconduct,” said UN Watch.

Similar reports by other organizations have been published in the past, and almost without exception, the UNRWA has failed to take action.

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