Exposed: UNRWA’s Teachers of Hate


GENEVA, June 28, 2022 — As the U.S. and other Western states gathered on Thursday at the United Nations in the presence of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to pledge funding for the UN agency that runs schools for Palestinians, UN Watch urged them to stop funding hundreds of UNRWA teachers and other employees who call to murder Jews.

Over 120 UNRWA educators and staff have been found to promote violence and antisemitism on social media, according to the latest report by UN Watch.

Entitled “UNRWA’s Teachers of Hate,” today’s report uncovers 20 new cases of virulent UNRWA staff incitement which violate the agency’s rules and stated values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or antisemitism.

UN Watch submitted the report to EU foreign affairs commissioner Joseph Borell, and U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, whose governments are among the top funders of UNRWA, and to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini.

UN Watch is calling on the agency’s major funders—including the U.S., Germany, the UK and the European Union—to ensure that none of their combined $1.2 billion of donations to UNRWA will fund teachers of hate, and to hold the agency accountable to its own standards and commitments.

As revealed in UN Watch’s report, UNRWA staff stationed in the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan are publicly inciting antisemitism and terrorism.

Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels to propagate hate:

  • UNRWA West Bank computer teacher Nihaya Awad endorsed Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians after last year’s war and encouraged Palestinian terrorists’ exploitation of child soldiers, in a May 21, 2021 post on Facebook. This was only two months after one of UNRWA’s directors, Gwyn Lewis, sent Ms. Awad a certificate of appreciation for her “fantastic efforts” as a “best performer” in UNRWA education. “We are proud that you are part of the UNRWA team,” wrote Lewis on March 23, 2021.
  • UNRWA Lebanon teacher Elham Mansour last month, on May 11, 2022, posted on Facebook that “By Allah, anyone who can kill and slaughter any Zionist and Israeli criminal, and doesn’t do so, doesn’t deserve to live. Kill them and pursue them everywhere, they are the greatest enemy….All Israel deserves is death.”Two months ago, on April 15, 2022, this UNRWA teacher posted a message on Facebook addressed to “you filthy Zionists” in which she called on “the men of resistance” at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to “slaughter each and every one of you and toss you into the garbage heaps, because you are filthy, you contaminate any land you are in.”Last year, on May 14, 2021, Ms. Mansour wrote: “Israel is evil. . . fight them and kill them, chase them everywhere, every corner, every street, our greatest enemy is Israel, death and destruction to you…”Notably, Ms. Mansour’s posts are liked by several other UNRWA teachers, as was the case with many of the antisemitic UNRWA posts exposed in our prior reports. This underscores how the problem of UNRWA employing staff who propagate antisemitic hate and incitement is not merely due to “a few bad apples,” as UNRWA has claimed. The antisemitic poison is systemic.
  • UNRWA Jordan teacher Hana’a Daoud posted a photo of masked Hamas terrorists holding submachine guns and called on Muslims to “fight against the Jews, until a Jew will hide himself behind a stone or a tree, and the stone or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

These teachers of hate were funded last year by state donations to UNRWA including: $338 million from the United States, $177 million from Germany, $118 million from the European Commission, $54 million from Sweden, $40 million from the UK, $32 million from Switzerland, $30 million from Norway, $28 million from France, $28 million from Canada, and $27 million from the Netherlands.

UN Watch’s report documents 20 new cases of antisemitic incitement that it captured from UNRWA employees’ public pages alone, all celebrating and promoting violence, even among young children.

The report only examined a sample of Facebook users who publicly identified themselves as UNRWA employees. UN Watch estimates that the total number of UNRWA staff who incite violence and hatred includes hundreds if not thousands among the agency’s 30,000 staff.

Comment by UN Watch

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.

“UNRWA should therefore be considered complicit in its staff members’ misconduct,” says UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

Around the world, educators who incite hate and violence are removed. Yet UNRWA, despite proclaiming ‘zero tolerance’ for incitement, systematically employs preachers of anti-Jewish hate and terrorism.

We call on the governments that fund UNRWA to declare that they will stop enabling a system that teaches new generations of Palestinians to hate and murder Jews.

“Let us be clear: the problem is not the social media posts, but rather the unconscionable employment of teachers who preach antisemitism and terrorism,” said Neuer.

The U.S., EU, Germany, UK, Canada and other donor states cannot morally send more money to UNRWA until it shows a genuine commitment to basic norms of education in its schools.

This means the agency must publicly condemn UNRWA employees who incite terrorism and antisemitism, remove them from their positions, and create an independent and impartial investigation of all of its staff.

UNRWA’s response to previous cases exposed in the past was to deny or downplay the problem, and to attack the messenger. Only when pressed by donors did UNRWA carry out a small number of investigations which led to a handful of temporary staff suspensions.

A mere slap on the wrist to teachers of hate only sends the message that it’s business as usual. Instead, those who incite to racism or murder should be fired, under a zero-tolerance policy, just as the UK government banned a teacher from the classroom for life over an antisemitic Facebook post.


June 29, 2022 | Comments »

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