A congressional hearing today co-chaired by Reps. Chris Smith and Brian Mast of Florida further exposed the blatant antisemitism of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) just days after new evidence emerged last week that UNRWA employees were directly involved in the October 7 terror attacks.
Rep. Chris Smith delivers opening remarks while co-chairing a joint hearing aimed at further exposing the twisted antisemitism of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The hearing follows new legislation—the Stop Support for UNRWA Act of 2024 (HR 7122)—introduced by Smith and cosponsored by Mast and Rep. Joe Wilson that would prohibit the US Government from making any voluntary or involuntary contributions to UNRWA or to the regular budget of the UN for the support of UNRWA.
“Going far beyond the revelations of the last week, there has long been massive and irrefutable evidence of UNRWA’s extensive connivance, complicity, and cooperation in Hamas’ antisemitic genocidal hate campaign,” said Rep. Smith, Chair of the House Global Human Rights Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the House Task Force for Combating Antisemitism.
“Like the Nazi’s before them, Hamas, and their chief terrorism sponsor Iran, are committing genocide against the Jews,” said Smith, who cited several articles of the 1998 Charter of Hamas and its 2017 Charter that demand the absolute destruction of the state of Israel and the slaughter of all Jews.
“UNRWA’s textbooks, curricula, summer camps, official media are all infamous venues for anti-Jewish propaganda,” said Smith, who previously chaired two hearings on UNRWA reform—one on June 22 and a second on November 8—where a good deal of evidence of UNRWA’s involvement with Hamas and other terrorist groups, as well as its education of children toward terrorism, was publicly presented.
“In 2018 President Trump suspended all US funding to UNRWA, and they survived without the 30 percent of their budget the US typically provides, but tragically, in 2021 the Biden Administration resumed lavish support for UNRWA,” said Smith, who noted the US government has donated more than $1 billion to UNRWA since 2021 and is on track to provide $371 million during the current fiscal year—with no clarity from the Biden Administration about how much of this funding is affected by the “pause” announced on January 26th.
Entitled “UNRWA Exposed: Examining the Agency’s Mission and Failures,” the joint subcommittee hearing of the Global Human Rights Subcommittee and the Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee included compelling testimony from a panel of expert witnesses, including Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch; Marcus Sheff, Chief Executive Officer of IMPACT-se; and Richard Goldberg, Senior Advisor for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“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,” said Neuer, who shared findings contained in UN Watch’s new report entitled “UNRWA’s Terrorgram” that documents how UNRWA teachers celebrated the massacre of October 7th and how they encourage and promote Hamas terrorism.
“Inevitably, the sheer weight of hatred and incitement featuring in UNRWA classrooms and being openly expressed by UNRWA staff has a powerful effect,” said Sheff. “It is no longer a matter of mere speculation that what UNRWA students are learning and hearing in school and from their teachers is being translated into terror.”
Goldberg added that “UNRWA doesn’t recognize Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as terrorist groups—even though each one is designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization. UNRWA is not required to submit its staff, contractors, or beneficiaries for counterterrorism vetting.”