Israel's Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Wednesday sent a letter to the Under-Secretary-General of the UN and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini calling for the immediate dismissal of UNRWA teachers who have engaged in anti-Semitic actions, explaining that training teachers to hide their anti-Semitic views online does not remedy the situation.
Ambassador Erdan's letter was written as a follow-up to Commissioner-General Lazzarini, after Lazzarini had informed Erdan in writing that UNRWA had "… invested immense efforts in training its personnel to promote their understanding of neutrality."
Ambassador Erdan wrote, "If your agency is, indeed, committed to a ‘zero-tolerance policy for hatred including anti-Semitism’, as you yourself write, then the answer to these acts of hatred and incitement should be immediate dismissal, not merely participation in a tolerance or diversity workshop. As you saw, the UN Watch report…included very troubling examples of teacher impropriety, including a teacher that quoted Hitler in a positive light. Such behaviors go well beyond poor judgment by educators that ‘neutrality training’ can remedy.”
At the end of the letter, Ambassador Erdan wrote, "Given the troublesome history of UNRWA textbooks and teaching materials having included violent and anti-Semitic content that your organization has pledged to remove, I expect more from you than mere ‘retraining’. Teachers that teach violence, hatred and anti-Semitism have no place in a UNRWA classroom, or any classroom for that matter, and should be fired at once."
Last week, a UN Watch report revealed that more than 100 of UNRWA’s educators and staff have publicly promoted anti-Semitism and violence on social media, and that on numerous occasions the agency has failed to dismiss teachers who incited such hate.
Following the publication of the UN Watch report, Erdan sent letters of complaint to the Secretary-General of the UN and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA and demanded they take action.
UNRWA subsequently announced that it would launch a probe into the contents of the UN Watch report.