‘The harsh reality is that the American taxpayers were unknowingly funding this systematic hatred…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) A United Nations report on textbooks was declassified thanks to the efforts of two congressmen—and what it contains should be troubling to U.S. taxpayers.
From 2015 to 2017, the United States provided $243 million in “educational assistance” through the State Department and a branch of the UNRWA, which purchases Palestinian Authority-approved English-language textbooks in UNRWA schools. But the declassified State Department report found that 3.1 percent of the textbooks supplied bash Israel and contain other biases, making the program a failure.
According to the Times of Israel, the report blamed both the United Nations agency and the Obama administration for claiming that the overhaul of education materials had already been completed.
In the United Nations’ own review, it was found that the textbooks contained material that did not comport with the organization’s values of “tolerance, neutrality, equality, and nondiscrimination, and human rights relating to race, gender, language, and religion.”
Notably, the report found that some of the textbook content did not mention the nation of Israel or the Jewish religion, included maps that excluded Israel, and incited violence.
There was also inappropriate content in the material, including a math problem that referenced the number of Palestinian casualties in the first and second intifadas—the Palestinian uprisings against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
The report from the Government Accountability Office made it clear that the United Nations was not solely at fault, but also the State Department, overseen under President Barack Obama by secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
According to the report, Congress has been unable to fully examine the extent of the problems within the agency because the State Department repeatedly misled Congress.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., a Jewish Republican who worked to release the documents, said the declassified report confirmed the suspicions of many.
“The declassification of the UNRWA textbook report proves to the American people what we have known all along—the UNRWA textbook initiative is a sham,” he stated through a press release.
“It is unacceptable the textbooks that are used to delegitimize Israel and demonize the Jewish people, it is unacceptable this program attempts to engrain this hatred in the hearts of children, it is unacceptable that Americans’ hard-earned money went towards its funding, and it’s unacceptable the State Department lied to Congress about these very realities.”
Zeldin said he wanted funding for the agency to be frozen until the problems within it were addressed.
Congressman Scott Perry, R-Pa., who with Zeldin worked to declassify the State Department report, sounded a similar note in his own statement.
“The declassification of this report is a win for government transparency and the American public … the failures of the State Department and UNRWA allowed systematic anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideas to flourish in UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza.”
“The harsh reality is that the American taxpayers were unknowingly funding this systematic hatred because key information was withheld from the American public—including my constituents.”