Antisemitic UNRWA Teachers’ Facebook Pages Spark War of Words With Watchdog Group

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One of many antisemitic posts found on the Facebook pages of UNRWA employees. Photo: Facebook.

One of many antisemitic posts found on the Facebook pages of UNRWA employees. This one calls for Jews to be killed. Photo: Facebook.

“We always investigate credible reports of neutrality violations by our staff and take appropriate action, including disciplinary action, where violations by UNRWA staff members are established,” UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness told The Algemeiner on Wednesday. “Our position on racism is clear. We condemn racism in all its forms.”

Gunness, who also serves as director of advocacy and strategic communications for UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), was responding to the latest barrage of criticism lodged at him specifically, and his organization in general, this time over antisemitic cartoons and texts posted on Facebook by UNRWA employees, mainly school teachers.

The wave of outrage in question has taken two key forms: One is a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-profit human rights organization, UN Watch. The other is an independent online petition to Ban Ki-moon “to investigate UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness for violating UNRWA’s mandate.”

By its fourth day of circulation, the petition had garnered more than 700 signatures.

Neuer’s letter, sent on August 23, is based on research conducted by widely cited anonymous American blogger Elder of Ziyon, who follows and writes extensively about the Middle East, and acts as a watchdog of anti-Israel activity.

The letter reads as follows:

UN Watch is gravely concerned that the UN’s special relief agency for Palestinians, which received some $400 million from the U.S. last year in exchange for its signed promise to refrain from supporting terrorism and to uphold neutrality, is nevertheless disseminating crude, anti-Semitic caricatures on the Internet that incite to the murder of Jews. We respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA, and apologize.

We call your attention to two of the ten first items appearing on the UNRWA Facebook page of the Rameh school, based in the Jaramaneh camp outside Damascus, which are cartoons celebrating Palestinian car attacks against Israeli Jewish civilians.

One of the cartoons posted by UNRWA resorts to classic anti-Semitic imagery, depicting a hook-nosed ultra-Orthodox Jew dressed in black, with a Star of David marked on his black hat.

Another of UNRWA’s images shows cars attacking people, with the caption that translates to ‘Cars intifada Daes,’ using the Ara­bic term ‘Daes (Run-over), a play on the Ara­bic word for ‘Daesh’ (ISIS).

In these postings, UNRWA joins the terror-inciting social media campaign that praise the Palestinian car attacks such as the one in Jerusalem on 22 October 2014, which killed 3-month-old baby Chaya Zissel Braun, and 22-year-old Karen Jemima Mosquera of Ecuador, and wounded eight others.

This vile cam­paign prais­es car attacks as a form of ‘resis­tance,’ and incites oth­ers to per­pe­trate sim­i­lar attacks and, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League, fea­tures vio­lent expres­sions of anti-Semitism.

Excellency, at a time when UNRWA claims to be in crisis, it is shameful that an UNRWA …read more

Source:: The Algemeiner

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