(JNS.org) A prominent Jewish organization has expressed “concern” over Canada’s recent announcement of up to $25 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance for Palestinian refugees and has an anti-Israel reputation.
“Helping impoverished Palestinians in various Arab countries is certainly a positive, as many individuals do require assistance,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “However, according to a new report, UNRWA continues to facilitate anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel. UNRWA’s highly politicized environment actually obstructs the best possible service to the Palestinians.”
B’nai Brith added that while it is pleased the Canadian government introduced anti-terrorism provisions in the funding, it remains concerned about the prevention of indoctrination and incitement, which frequently lead to violence.
“While we appreciate the enhanced due-diligence process announced by the government for UNRWA funding, we have yet to be convinced that this has led to neutrality within the agency and its operation,” Mostyn said.
UNRWA has come under fire for its ties to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which has used the agency’s schools to hide rockets and dig terror tunnels, as well as for its textbooks and other curriculum materials that indoctrinate Palestinian youths.
The Canadian government said $20 million of its newly announced funding for UNRWA will support “education, health and livelihood” for Palestinian refugees, while the other $5 million will subsidize UNRWA’s Syria Emergency Appeal for Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon.
“Palestinian refugees deserve the right to be able to go to a school, receive proper health care and get other basic services,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s minister of international development. “Canada’s renewed engagement is part of our long-standing commitment to a more peaceful and stable region.”