UN WATCH DEMANDS APOLOGY FOR SPOKESMAN’S PRIOR ATTACKS
UNWRA “very regrettably” finds violations, “condemns anti-Semitism in any form”
|UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness previously issued an “appeal to journalists” to disregard UN Watch “baseless allegations about anti-semitism” which he insisted was “a non-story.” Gunness wrote on Twitter that “UN Watch makes a fool of itself,” its credibility “dead in the water.” “Will anyone believe them again?” he asked.|
GENEVA, October 22, 2015 -The spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon quietly disclosed on the UN website that UNRWA employees have “in a number of cases” been subjected to disciplinary action, including “suspension and loss of pay,” following an investigation that verified evidence published by UN Watch — in one report last week, and another in September — of incitement to anti-Semitic violence committed by at least 22 UNRWA employees. UNRWA added that it “condemns and will not tolerate anti-Semitism or racism in any form.”
The admission in New York followed two separate press briefings where UN spokesman Farhan Haq was grilled and grilled again over UN Watch’s reports documenting UNRWA incitement.
Curiously, UNRWA’s unprecedented admission, following strenuous denials by spokesman Chris Gunness, came in the form a bracketed addition buried deep in a UN transcript, instead of being sent out to journalists or published as a stand-alone UN statement. Nor does the admission appear anywhere on the UNRWA website.
UN Watch remains deeply concerned that the endless postings by UNRWA teachers of racist incitement signifies a systematic breach of the agency’s neutrality obligation and of its humanitarian mission. The U.S. provided $400 million to UNRWA last year, making it the largest donor, but has carefully refrained from voicing any criticism.
Above: one of the many instances of anti-Semitic incitement
by UNRWA employees that was exposed by UN Watch
News of the suspensions is welcome, but the UN’s statement conceals far more than it reveals.
Taxpayers have a right to know, first, which of the UNRWA teachers identified in UN Watch’s reports were suspended, what were the actual findings of UNRWA’s investigations, and whether UNRWA found — or is even making the slightest effort to look for — any additional racist incitement by its employees.
Second, in light of the above, UN Watch is demanding a full apology from UNRWA spokseman Chris Gunness for his McCarthyite tirade against what he called UN Watch’s ‘baseless allegations about antisemitism’.”
Gunness famously launched into a frenzied attack on UN Watch, issuing an “appeal to journalists” to ignore what he insisted was a “non-story”:
• “Appeal to journalists: please don’t turn UN Watch baseless allegations about anti-semitism into a ‘he said she said’ story. It is a non-story.”
• “UN Watch makes a fool of itself … Credibility dead in water. Will anyone believe them again”?
• “Interested to find out more about UN Watch’s political and financial affiliations since it establishment. Can anyone advise?”