Amb. Gilad Erdan
Amb. Gilad Erdan Courtesy

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addressed the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini, and the countries participating in today's UN Pledging Conference on UNRWA in response to the report published by UN Watch, which describes dozens of antisemitic remarks and explicit calls for the murder of Jews and Israelis by teachers and staff of UNRWA.

These remarks join a letter sent by Ambassador Erdan following an earlier UN Watch report published in August of last year, in which the Ambassador demanded the dismissal of the teachers involved in antisemitic acts and that UNRWA conduct a thorough investigation into the cases detailed in the report. Despite promises by the UNRWA Commissioner-General to Ambassador Erdan that an investigation had been opened, it is not known if any staff were fired following the remarks. Worse, dozens of other cases are now being uncovered including other employees in the organization who have been inciting murder and antisemitism.

One example the UN Watch report details is a Facebook post by an UNRWA teacher in Lebanon who wrote, “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.”

The report contains additional examples of teachers in UNRWA schools in Gaza and Judea and Samaria expressing support for Hamas terrorism and the firing of missiles at Israel during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, among others.

Ambassador Erdan said, "Not only has UNRWA not properly addressed the manifestations of antisemitism among its employees, but now we see that the phenomenon is only expanding and that more workers are openly calling for the murder of Jews while the UN and the organization are doing nothing. The UN must be held accountable for the UN-funded incitement and hatred. UNRWA unfortunately does not help advance a resolution of the conflict at all, but on the contrary: it disseminates false Palestinian narratives and turns a blind eye to incitement to murder Israelis and blatant antisemitism. Can this agency fall any lower?"

The UN Pledging Conference on UNRWA is scheduled to open this morning with the participation of the UN Secretary-General in which calls will be made for countries to donate additional funds to the agency as, according to its leaders, it has been in an ongoing budget crisis in recent years.

In response to this Conference, Ambassador Erdan said, "The discussion should have focused on the despicable conduct of UNRWA. I call on all countries to stop donating money to UNRWA until it ceases its antisemitic acts, fires the workers inciting these acts, and stops allowing Hamas and terrorists to use its infrastructure. UNRWA is a UN body whose actions only perpetuate the conflict in our region.