NYBR Delegation at UN
By Staff Writer
GENEVA, November 30, 2015 - Despite prior promises by UNRWA, the Palestinian relief agency, to put an end to online incitement by its teachers, numerous UNRWA teachers are still inciting to Palestinian knife attacks against what they describe as "Jewish apes and pigs," and should be fired, according to a new report issued today by UN Watch, the Geneva-based watchdog group. See full report below.
UNRWA's reported temporary suspensions of offenders are not working. Giving a slap on the wrist sends the message that it's business as usual. Instead, those who incite to racism or murder should be fired, under a zero tolerance policy, just as the UK government recently banned a teacher from the classroom for life over an anti-Semitic Facebook post," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
UN Watch submitted the report today to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNRWA chief Pierre Kr'henb'hl - as well as to EU foreign affairs commissioner Federica Mogherini, and US Ambassador Samantha Power, whose governments are the top funders of UNRWA.
Today's report, coming after previous UN Watch reports this year on 22 other individuals, documents yet another 10 UN teachers, principals and other staffers who use the imprimatur of their official positions to incite Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks against Israeli Jews.
"The UN and top funders of UNRWA such as the US government must act immediately to terminate employees who are inciting murderous anti-Semitism and fueling the deadly pandemic of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that have claimed lives of innocent people," said Neuer.
"We urge Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to personally intervene because UNRWA has failed to uphold its promises to stop the poison," said Neuer. "We urge Mr. Ban to take immediate action to terminate any UN employees who incite to murder."
"Moreover, we call for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry, to include representatives of the US, the EU , the UK, and other top UNRWA funders, to investigate the culture of impunity for perpetrators of racism and incitement that pervades UNRWA."
"UNRWA's strategy of impunity, denial and deflection only enables more incitement and violence. It's time to stop the practice of UNRWA school staff members posting antisemitic and terror-inciting images, a recurring theme that suggests a pathology of racism and violence within UNRWA, one that must be rooted out - and not buried, as UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has attempted to do by calling for boycotts of newspapers or of NGOs that dare to report these incidents of hate," said Neuer.
"We urge the UN to declare that these despicable posts, published on Facebook accounts run by people who openly identify themselves as UNRWA officials, constitute a violation of UNRWA Staff Regulations, and of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," said Neuer.
Neuer said the teachers' incitement to racism and violence constitues a "gross violation" of UNRWA Regulation 1.4 which requires staff members to conduct themselves "at all times in a manner befitting their status as international civil servants," and not to engage "in any activity that is incompatible with the proper discharge of their duties with the Agency." Specifically, they "shall avoid any action and in particular any kind of public pronouncement which may adversely reflect on their status or integrity, independence or impartiality which are required by that status," and "shall at all times bear in mind the reserve and tact incumbent upon them by reason of their international status."
In light of the report's damning findings, UN Watch is again demanding a full apology from UNRWA spokseman Chris Gunness for a series of unprofessional tweets against what he called UN Watch's "baseless allegations about antisemitism."
Gunness sought to dsicredit 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?"