Rep. Smith’s Bill To End US Funding For UNRWA Headed To House Floor

Legislation authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that would prohibit any US contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) cleared a major hurdle, winning support from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a vote (30-19) to send the bill to the House Floor for consideration and passage.

Smith’s bill—the Stop Support for UNRWA Act of 2024 (HR 7122)—is cosponsored by Reps. Brian Mast (R-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

“UNRWA is the most corrupt, antisemitic, and hate-promoting agency of the United Nations,” said Smith, the Chairman of the House Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee.

“Every day, UNRWA radicalizes Palestinian children with seething antisemitic hate—it is a child soldier factory,” said Smith, who has chaired or co-chaired three hearings over the past nine months on UNRWA’s rampant antisemitism and its hand-in-glove cooperation with Hamas and other foreign terrorist organizations.

Last week, Marcus Sheff, the Chief Executive Officer of IMPACT-se, testified at Smith’s hearing that his institute “has for many years documented the contents of textbooks in the Palestinian school system, including in the Gaza Strip. These textbooks profoundly influence millions of young, impressionable minds. Time and again, we have warned that today’s Palestinian textbooks are producing the terrorists of tomorrow. Sadly and tragically, on 7 October, our worst fears came true.”

Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch, said: “As we have shown in numerous reports over the past decade, teachers and schools at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which runs education and social services for Palestinians, regularly call to murder Jews, and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis and incite antisemitism.”

Smith—who has a long record of opposing and exposing UNRWA’s malfeasance—said, “Going far beyond the recent revelations, there is massive and irrefutable evidence of UNRWA’s extensive connivance, complicity, and cooperation in Hamas’ antisemitic genocidal hate campaign.”

Smith has sounded the alarm about UNRWA for nearly three decades and in 2003 offered an amendment to the State Department authorization bill that shifted US funding away from UNRWA and established that Congress:

  • “expresses its outrage over credible reports that UNRWA facilities have been used as warehouses for weapons storage and for bomb-making factories, terrorist training, and bases for terrorist operations, with little attempt by UNRWA to stop such attacks and/or alert relevant law enforcement authorities about such terrorist activities;” and
  • “expresses deep concern over the teachings, educational materials, and textbooks that are funded by the UNRWA in schools that educate Palestinian students, many of which promote anti-Semitism, denial of the existence and the right to exist of the state of Israel, and exacerbate stereotypes and tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

The provisions from Smith’s 2003 amendment passed the House but were not considered by the Senate.

“The antisemitism and terroristic complicity of UNRWA has been established beyond doubt for a long time,” said Smith. “The evidence is in and it’s time to cut all US funding to UNRWA—and to make it permanent.”

“We can and must find an alternative,” said Smith, who added an amendment to his underlying bill that envisions the funding being provided to other humanitarian groups so long as they do not promote violence, terrorism, or antisemitism.

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