A United Nations agency that runs schools and social services for Palestinians is facing calls to fire employees using social media to celebrate attacks on Israelis and promote anti-Jewish hatred.
Over 100 UNRWA educators and staff have publicly promoted violence and antisemitism on social media, according to a new report published by the non-governmental organization UN Watch, an independent human rights group based in Geneva.
The report, entitled “Beyond the Textbooks,” uncovers 22 recent cases of UNRWA staff incitement which clearly violate the agency’s own rules as well as its proclaimed values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or antisemitism. UN Watch is calling on the agency’s major funders — including the U.S., Germany, the UK and the European Union — to hold UNRWA accountable to its own standards and commitments.
As revealed in the report, UNRWA staff stationed in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan have publicly incited antisemitism and terrorism. Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels for such propaganda are 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, an UNRWA teacher in the West Bank, posted antisemitic conspiracy theories according to which Jews control the world, created the coronavirus and seek to destroy Islam.
UN Watch’s report lists a total of 113 cases that it managed to capture from UNRWA employees' public pages alone, all celebrating and promoting violence, even among young children. The watchdog group 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.
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, says UN Watch.
UN Watch Director, Hillel Neuer: “Around the world, educators who incite hate and violence are removed, yet UNRWA, despite proclaiming zero tolerance for incitement, knowingly and systematically employs purveyors of terror and anti-Jewish hate.
“We call on the governments that fund UNWRA to take action to stop the vicious cycle of generations being taught to hate and violently attack Jews. We demand that UNRWA address the core problem, and demonstrate its genuine commitment to basic norms of education in its schools, by publicly condemning UNWRA employees who incite terrorism and antisemitism, removing them from their positions, and creating an independent and impartial investigation of all of its staff.”