CAMERA Op-Ed: The Washington Post Covers for UNRWA, Again

A United Nations agency has been caught helping Hamas. The Washington Post, however, is here to help both the genocidal terrorist group and the corrupt organization that shares its ultimate objective: the destruction of the Jewish state.

A Jan. 30, 2024 Post column entitled “Biden’s cutoff of Palestinian aid is inhumane and strategically stupid” was a veritable whitewash of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), whose employees took part in the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas-led invasion of Israel, the largest massacre of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust.

On Jan. 26, Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner-general, acknowledged that Israeli authorities had provided the organization with “information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel.” Lazzarini stated that he had “immediately terminated the contracts of these staff members.”

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin noted that “12 U.N. employees in Gaza” allegedly participated in the attack, noting that, “if found guilty” they “deserve no sanctuary and no mercy.” He also said that “UNRWA has big questions to answer about this and other instances of some of its 13,000 employees seeming support for violence against Israelis.”

But Rogin declined to elaborate on what some of these “other instances” were. No additional facts were given. Instead, Rogin devoted most of his column to calling Biden administration cuts to UNRWA “cruel” and counterproductive. Cuts to UNRWA, he warned, “will have ripple effects that will make solving all of the Middle East’s problems more difficult.”

It is far from certain whether solving “all of the Middle East’s problems” should be a US objective, let alone whether that is obtainable.

However, what it is certain is that eight decades after the end of World War II, UN employees helped carry out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. And far from being outliers, their behavior is reflective of UNRWA itself. The UN agency’s support for murdering Jews is endemic. It is also extensively documented. And Rogin declined to provide examples that were already in the public domain.

Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal reported before Rogin’s column ran, intelligence reports indicate that no fewer than a dozen UNRWA employees “had connections” to the Oct. 7 massacre, and at least six took part in the attack. At least two others helped kidnap Israelis, and others “were tracked to sites where Jewish civilians were shot and killed.” The Journal also noted that “others coordinated logistics for the assault, including procuring weapons.” UNRWA vehicles and facilities were also used.

Far from a case of “a few bad apples,” as both UNRWA and its apologists in the press would have the world believe, UNRWA’s complicity is extensive. Intelligence estimates shared with the Journal indicate that no fewer than 1,200 of its employees in Gaza “have links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, about half have close relative who belong” to these US-designated terror groups.

Put another way: how many UN employees aiding and abetting the systemic slaughter of Jews is too many before US taxpayers quit the footing the bill?

Indeed, as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has documented, UNRWA’s terror ties are not only extensive, but they’ve long been public knowledge. In 2014, for example, terrorists were caught using UNRWA facilities to launch attacks. The UN’s own internal investigation acknowledged as much. And then the UN did what it does best — nothing. No real changes were made, and the problem went unaddressed.

Indeed, a 2014 report by the Center for Near East Policy research found that Hamas and Islamic Jihad “control the UNRWA stations in Gaza.” Two years earlier, in 2012, “UNRWA in Gaza elected Hamas to all 11 seats in UNRWA’s teachers’ union.”

All of this, of course, is as unsurprising as it is disturbing.

UNRWA’s core mission is the destruction of the Jewish state. While all of the world’s other refugee populations fall under the jurisdiction of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNRWA is the only entity devoted to a sole category: “Palestinian refugees.” Uniquely, UNRWA’s definition of what constitutes a “refugee” includes people who are generations removed from the 1948 War of Independence, people who are citizens of new states, and people who live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — places that Palestinians themselves claim as part of a future Palestinian state.

In contrast to the UNHCR, UNRWA’s definition of “refugee” is not aid dependent. The UNHCR seeks to settle refugees — that is its mission. By contrast, UNRWA seeks to perpetuate the Israel-Islamist conflict, not only by actively aiding Hamas but by maintaining the fiction that one can be a millionaire, American-born model like Gigi Hadid and be a “refugee.”

According to UNRWA’s doctrine, these “refugees” will maintain their “refugee” status until they settle in Israel, a land that many weren’t even in born in. The sole purpose of this doctrine is the destruction of the Jewish state.

UNRWA perpetuates the conflict in other key ways. In addition to being massively corrupt — pound for pound UNRWA receives more money than UNHCR despite dealing with far fewer refugees — the organization is openly antisemitic. As a recent UN Watch report revealed, antisemitism is rife among UNRWA teachers and staff.

Indeed, entire books, such as 2020’s The War of Return by Einat Wilf and Adi Schwarz, have extensively — and irrefutably — profiled the pernicious role that UNRWA plays.

Nor can UNRWA’s promises of an “investigation” be trusted. As Eitan Fischberger documented, several of the groups chosen by UNRWA to review UNRWA have expressed support for groups like Al-Haq, the legal arm of the Popular Front For Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), itself a terrorist group.

All of this important context is omitted in the Post’s column, which calls for American taxpayers to keep funding a UN Agency that both condones, and commits, the murder of Jews.

But Rogin needn’t worry. UNRWA USA is still a 501 (c)3, capable of receiving tax-deductible donations. And more importantly, UNRWA continues to receive copious funds from the US. As Victoria Coates and Brent Sadler of the Heritage Foundation revealed, “99.8 percent of U.S. funding to UNRWA has already been delivered, leaving only .2 percent to be ‘paused’ by the Biden administration.”

Both Hamas and The Washington Post should be happy: UNRWA will almost certainly keep functioning just as it always has.

(Note: A slightly different version of this op-ed appeared in the Algemeiner on Feb. 8, 2024)

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