UN quietly suspends UNRWA staff for inciting against Israel

October 23, 2015  

The United Nations has suspended and cut the pay of several employees of its “refugee agency” UNRWA, after the UN Watch NGO exposed that they incited to anti-Semitic violence.

UN Watch twice in the last month published evidence  of incitement to anti-Semitic violence committed by at least 22 UNRWA employees.

In September, the group released a report documenting 12 different Facebook accounts operated by UNRWA officials that openly incite to anti-Semitism and terrorism.

These included, among others, the account of a man identifying himself as a Deputy School Principal at UNRWA who praised the murder of “a group of collaborators with the Jews,” an incident strongly condemned by Amnesty International and other human rights groups, saying how much it “pleased” him.

Another example included the Facebook page of a man identifying himself as working for UNRWA and who posted a cartoon depicting a hook-nosed, black-clad, haredi Jew, with long hassidic earlocks and a black hat stamped with a Star of David, cowering behind a tree, as the tree alerts an excited, gun-wielding Palestinian to the Jew’s presence.

Last week, UN Watch exposed at least ten additional different UN staffers who used their official positions to incite Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks against Israeli Jews, with one calling on Facebook to “stab Zionist dogs”.

On Thursday, UN Watch noted that the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon quietly announced on the global body’s website that UNRWA employees have “in a number of cases” been subjected to disciplinary action, including suspension and loss of pay, following the NGO’s exposure of their incitement.

“Curiously,” noted UN Watch, “UNRWA’s admission was made public only as a bracketed addition buried deep in a UN transcript, and not posted as a stand-alone statement by the UN, or indeed anywhere at all on the UNRWA website.”

UN Watch welcomed the announcement, yet noted that “the UN statement hides more than it reveals,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental monitoring group.

“We need to know, first, which of the UNRWA teachers identified in our reports were suspended, what were the findings, and whether the UN investigations found any additional incitement to anti-Semitic violence,” he added.

“Second,” said Neuer, “In light of the above, UN Watch is demanding a full apology from UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness for his McCarthyite tirade against what he called UN Watch’s ‘baseless allegations about anti-Semitism’.”

UN Watch noted that Gunness famously launched a frenzied Twitter attack against the NGO, issuing an “appeal to journalists” to ignore what he insisted was a “non-story”:

“#UNWatch makes fool of itself accusing shutdown @UNRWA school of anti-semitism.  Credibility dead in water. Will anyone believe them again?” he wrote in a second tweet.

Finally, in a third tweet, Gunness wrote, “Interested to find out more about UN Watch’s political financial affiliations since its establishment. Can anyone advise? RT.”

On Thursday, UN Watch tweeted Gunness directly, asking, “Will you apologize to UN Watch after attacking us for exposing UNRWA racism?”

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