US Increases Aid to UNRWA Despite Concerns About Antisemitism Taught in Its Schools

by Dion J. Pierre, ALGEMEINER

Palestinian employees of UNRWA in Gaza City demonstrate against the US decision in Jan 2018 to cut contributions to the agency. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Salem.

The US Department of State has increased its 2023-24 contribution to the UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees despite widespread concern that antisemitism and jihadi violence is openly taught in schools it administers in the Palestinian territories.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), founded in 1949 to provide humanitarian and social services to Palestinian refugees, will receive an additional $16.2 million this year, the State Department announced on Wednesday, bringing the total dollar amount it will rake in from the US under a framework agreement finalized in April to $223 million. Since 2021, the US has provided UNRWA $940 million.

On Thursday, Israeli education watchdog Impact-se, citing numerous reports it has authored about antisemitic teachers and curricular materials in UNRWA administered schools, criticized the funding boost.

“UNRWA not only teaches the hate filled Palestinian curriculum but produces its own extremist teaching materials,” Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff said on Thursday in a press release. “The US seems to be bucking the global trend in increasing its funding to UNRWA while the organization does nothing to stop the hate teaching.”

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The announcement of additional funding for UNRWA comes amid repeated calls for defunding the agency from US lawmakers.

In May, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) reintroduced the “Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act,” which would enforce reporting and oversight of educational materials produced by UNRWA, and earlier this year, Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced legislation that would make its funding contingent on the completion of an annual audit conducted by the Secretary of State.

Examples of antisemitic content described in previous Impact-se reports include a grammar lesson that uses the sentence, “The Palestinians sacrifice their blood to liberate Jerusalem,” and “Arabic Drill Cards” for 9th graders that say, “When the [Muslim] nation is negligent in protecting al-Aqsa, then the Jews will dare to defile it.” Additionally, Israel does not appear on any maps.

Teachers and staff employed by UNRWA incite antisemitism, terrorism, and hate on social media, as well, according to a report released in March by Impact-se and UN Watch, which cited over 200 examples of UNRWA teachers promoting hateful content on social media, including a Syrian math teacher’s praising a March 2022 terrorist attack in Israel that claimed four lives, a Lebanese teacher’s calling the architect of several attacks a “martyr” and “noblest of souls,” and a Syrian UNRWA employee’s sharing on social media a photograph of Hitler, which she captioned, “there are still some people you need to burn.”

June 23, 2023 | 1 Comment »

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