Pierre Krahenbuhl, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General speaks during an interview in Damascus March 11. A report by UN Watch indicates many UNRWA employees post anti-Semitic and violent remarks on the Internet. Why is the United States tolerating this? the author asks. OMAR SANADIKI/REUTERS
I’ve written before about the United Nations agency dealing with Palestinian “refugees,” UNRWA, but the subject must be revisited in light of new discoveries by the invaluable UN Watch.
In a new report, UN Watch has found a dozen UNRWA employees spewing anti-Semitic hatred and celebrating violence and terrorism in Internet postings. On Facebook pages where they identify themselves as UNRWA officials, these UN employees laud killing and kidnapping of Jews and Israelis, and post vicious anti-Semitic cartoons and drawings.
Click here to urge the U.S., the EU & the UK to stop UNRWA officials
This is our tax money at work: the United States is by far the largest contributor to UNRWA, at over $400 million.
This discovery is a test both of the UNRWA and United Nations leadership, and of the Obama administration. This kind of behavior is absolutely intolerable, right?
So now what happens? Does UNRWA discipline or fire these individuals? Does Ban ki-Moon step in?
Nope, not so far. The only reaction has been—you probably guessed it—attacks on UN Watch by UNRWA’s spokesman. Not a word about these postings or the employees.
The next step should be action by the State Department and by Samantha Power, our UN ambassador, demanding that the UN wake up. The State Department actually has an assistant secretary whose sole duty is supervising the United Nations, and even a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
The next step should be simple: to contact top officials at UN headquarters in New York, and the head of UNRWA, Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. Either such conduct is tolerated or it is not. Either UNRWA’s reaction is disciplinary moves against these individuals, or it attacks UN Watch.
If the latter—UNRWA defends these acts inciting and celebrating violence and terror, defends those who are responsible for them, and assaults UN Watch for finding the truth—the United States should suspend payments to UNRWA. We should not be financing the spreading of hatred by UN employees.
It ought to be simple.
Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.This Newsweek article first appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations Website.