Morton Klein: Trump Wisely Ends U.S. Funding to UNRWA

UNRWA (Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty)
Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty

President Donald Trump and his administration have wisely ended hundreds of millions of dollars per year of U.S. taxpayer funding to the terror-supporting, corrupt, fraud-ridden United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA).

UNRWA schools teach students to hate and murder Jews, and have served as weapons depots and rocket-launching pads for Hamas. President Trump ended the travesty of U.S. taxpayers funding UNRWA’s cynical use and endless expansion of purported Palestinian Arab “refugees” and their descendants as a weapon designed to destroy Israel. The administration’s decision can ultimately contribute to the eventual creation of peace.

An Obama-era report that recently came to light found that that Palestinian Arab refugees from the 1948-1949 Arab war against Israel only number about 20,000 today – instead of the 5.3 million such refugees that UNRWA falsely claims by fraudulently padding numbers and improperly including descendants.  (See US Report Finds Only 20,000 Palestinian Refugees in the World,” Israel Hayom, July 18, 2018.)  That’s fewer than UNRWA’s bloated 33,000 employees.

And even 20,000 is likely overstated, because the Arabs who left Israel in 1948-1949 did not constitute refugees under any customary definition of “refugees.”  They were not indigenous to Israel, as UNRWA only required “refugees” to have lived in Israel for two years. Many hailed from Egypt, North Africa, Syria and elsewhere outside of Israel, and only entered Israel after Jews developed barren land in the latter 1800s through mid-1900s.

These Arabs also did not constitute “refugees” because they were also not forced out of Israel – but rather, left at the behest of the invading Arab League, which urged Arabs to “get out of the way” to enable six invading Arab countries to more readily slaughter Israel’s Jews.  (See Article in Breitbart: ZOA’s Morton Klein – The Orwellian Math of Palestinian Refugees,” Aug. 10, 2018.)

Further, fraud has been rife. Even under UNWRA’s exaggerated definition, Lebanon’s recent census found fewer than 175,000 “Palestinian refugees” located there. Yet UNRWA had nearly 500,000 “Palestinian refugees” listed in Lebanon – three times the census number.

This past Friday, the U.S. State Department announced:

The Administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA. When we made a U.S. contribution of $60 million in January, we made it clear that the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years. . . . Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation. (“On U.S. Assistance to UNRWA,” U.S. State Dep’t. Press Statement, State Dep’t Spokesperson Heather Nauert, Aug. 31, 2018.)

UNRWA has been an abject failure for the past seventy years. Under the auspices of other refugee agencies, sixty million people displaced in the 1940s (World War II refugees; the Pakistan-India exchange of 13 million refugees; the 1 million Jews expelled from Arab lands where they had lived for millenia; etc.) have all been resettled. By contrast, UNRWA deliberately kept the small number of Palestinian Arab “refugees” from that era in limbo, taught them hatred, and expanded their numbers exponentially.

Eliminating funding to UNRWA can create incentives for long-needed reform. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reportedly stated this week that if UNRWA “reforms what it does, . . . If it goes and makes sure that they’re not doing those teachings in textbooks, if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account. We will look back at partnering them.”  (“U.S. Announces Immediate End to UNRWA Funding,” by Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 31, 2018.)

The Trump administration should be thanked for finally ending the farce of U.S. funding of this outrageous program.

Morton A Klein is president of the Zionist Organization of America(ZOA). He was named one of the five most influential Jewish leaders by the Forward, a national Jewish weekly and one of the top dozen activists of the 20th century My the Jewish Exponent. Follow him on Twitter (@mortonaklein7) and on the website ZOA.ORG.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.