Scandal-plagued UN agency doubles down on anti-Israel radicalism.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a UN program that is supposed to provide humanitarian and developmental assistance to children around the world. While UNICEF does do valuable work on behalf of children, it is not the same organization that I remember collecting money for on Halloween decades ago. In more recent times, UNICEF has partnered with radical organizations pursuing pro-Palestinian and Islamist agendas. NGO Monitor produces and distributes critical analyses and reports on the activities of the international and local non-governmental organization (NGO) networks. It has just issued a scathing report claiming that UNICEF’s Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) branch is working with radical anti-Israel NGOs to add the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to a UN blacklist of “grave” violators of children’s rights.
Each year, the UN Secretary General publishes a report on “Children and Armed Conflict,” which, since 2001, has included an “annex” listing “parties to armed conflict” that engage in certain practices that fundamentally violate the rights of children. This annex is regarded as a blacklist of villainous entities that harm children. Palestinians and their advocates are seeking to abuse the process by enlisting UNICEF to do their dirty work in demonizing Israel yet again.
“The UN blacklist consists almost entirely of terror groups and militias from failed states,” according to the NGO Monitor report. “In essence, by pushing for the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) inclusion on the list, UNICEF and its NGO partners are claiming that Israel’s army is equivalent to ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda.”
The pro-Palestinian advocacy groups spoon-feeding libelous information to UNICEF about IDF include organizations that have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Rather than follow its own stated guidelines of neutrality, impartiality, independence and credibility, UNICEF has allowed itself to become an instrumentality of virulent anti-Israel groups to exploit concerns over violence against children for the sole purpose of delegitimizing the Jewish state of Israel. The so-called “working group,” put together to ostensibly engage in objective fact-finding regarding alleged instances of grave violations against children, was dominated, according to the NGO Monitor report, by non-governmental “organizations that have alleged ties to terrorist groups and/or are prominent actors in anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and lawfare campaigns.” The result is that “the NGOs’ factually inaccurate and biased narratives feed directly into the UN system.” The NGO Monitor report further explained that “UNICEF and the NGO members of the Working Group are active in a coordinated attempt to place Israel on the Secretary-General’s Annex, and UNICEF sees its work as serving this purpose.”
Not only are the anti-Israel narratives blatantly false. They are one-sided. UNICEF has been silent on Hamas’s use of children as human shields, while actually accusing the IDF of using Palestinian children as shields. UNICEF claimed in a 2010 report that there is “no evidence of systematic attempts to recruit children to Palestinian armed groups for training or operations,” although it acknowledged a few “individual cases” and “anecdotal reports” of such recruitment without further comment. In a bulletin published on December 22, 2017, UNICEF claimed that it was “not in a position to document cases of child recruitment and use of children” by armed groups in Gaza, where Hamas is in charge.
UNICEF also reduces the number of Israeli children killed by Palestinian terrorists to the level of statistical afterthoughts. It has ignored the psychological trauma visited on Israeli children when the sirens blare and the children have 15 seconds to run for cover to escape incoming Hamas rockets.
Even worse, UNICEF has been complicit in helping to educate Palestinian children in the ways of terrorism. “UNICEF has been a major financier of Palestinian ‘summer camps’ which encourage children to become suicide bombers,” Dave Kopel warned more than a decade ago in an article for National Review. “One such camp is named for Wafa Idris, a female suicide bomber.”
UNICEF has not limited itself to the Palestinians in partnering with a terrorist-affiliated organization.
For example, on June 9, 2008, UNICEF signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Islamic Relief Organization to provide support, supposedly to help children in Saudi Arabia and other countries. “Building partnerships with leading organizations like the International Relief organization is the result of our trust in their continuous and effective efforts to protect and secure a better future for children,” declared Dr. Ayman Abu Laban, UNICEF Representative in the Gulf. The U.S. Treasury Department designated two of the International Islamic Relief Organization’s branches as terrorist organizations, which the UN itself had also done. The Treasury Department named the International Islamic Relief Organization’s Executive Director of the Saudi Arabian office as a money man for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
UNICEF has also played a role in whitewashing Sharia law when it comes to children. In 2005, UNICEF co-authored a report with the International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research of Al-Azhar University. The report made false claims about how well children were treated under Sharia, claiming it “pays utmost attention to securing all that is needed to guarantee a wholesome psychological climate for the rearing of children, a climate wherein they learn about the world and formulate their customs and norms.” Sharia law is not guaranteeing a “wholesome psychological climate” for children when girls are taught that they don’t deserve the same rights as boys because women are inferior to men, when child marriage is permitted, or when children are taught to hate any enemy of Islam, particularly the Jews.
Against all this background, UNICEF’s denial of the NGO Monitor’s characterization of UNICEF’s role in trying to add IDF to the UN children’s rights violators blacklist rings hollow. UNICEF’s spokesperson claimed that UNICEF’s “role, working with select partners on the ground, is to collect data on grave violations against children, verify it using multiple sources and share it with the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict who then passes it on to the Secretary-General for review and decision.” The spokesperson added that its working group brings together UN agencies and international, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, which “are selected based on their ability to regularly provide accurate, reliable, impartial and objective data on children affected by armed conflict.” Nothing of the kind happened in this case. The NGO Monitor’s detailed factual account of the anti-Israel NGOs involved, and the manner in which they collaborated with UNICEF towards a common objective, undercuts UNICEF’s attempt to insulate itself from the nefarious scheme it facilitated with those NGOs to demonize Israel.
In 2016, the total revenue for UNICEF was $4.9 billion. The United States government has been donating approximately $132.5 million a year to UNICEF’s regular resource budget. Altogether, including emergency and other funding, the United States government contributed $658,585,655 in 2016. In addition, the United States of America National Committee contributed another $272,175,691 in 2016.
President Trump’s proposed spending budget for 2018 would reduce funding for UNICEF by 16 percent. That’s not enough unless UNICEF reforms itself very soon and stops serving as a shill for anti-Israel Palestinian activists and Islamists.
A common but mistaken reading of the current strategic situation in the Middle East presents the region as approaching the end of a period of instability. The “return of the Arab state” is one of the more arresting refrains that this perspective has produced.
According to this view, the wars in Syria and in Iraq are drawing to a close. The defeat of the Islamic State in these countries represents the eclipse of the political ambitions of Salafi jihadi Islamism for the foreseeable future. Assad is set to restore his repressive but stable rule in Syria. In Iraq, the firm reaction by the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to the Kurdish bid for independence has ended prospects of the imminent fragmentation of the country. In Lebanon, attempts by Sunni jihadis to export the Syrian war have failed, and all is quiet.
In July 2016, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (pictured in front at center)—the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church—hosts Ignatius Aphrem II (left), patriarch of Antioch and All East of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Aram I, head of Lebanon’s Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
While Christianity traces its birthplace to the Middle East, that region has been arguably the most hostile area for the religion in recent years. A new report by the Christian charity group Open Doors has found that most of Israel’s neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories, are among the world’s most dangerous places for Christians.
Kingdom says Jerusalem agreed to pay compensation over deaths of three people, in order to end diplomatic standoff
Jordanian protesters wave national flags and chant slogans during a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman on July 28, 2017, calling for the shutting down the of the embassy, expelling the ambassador, and canceling the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. (AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
Israel is paying $5 million in compensation to the families of two people shot dead by an Israeli embassy guard last year, as well as a Jordanian judge killed in a 2014 incident, diplomats in Jordan told the al-Rai newspaper Saturday.
Ultra-Orthodox women and children attend a ceremony to welcome new Torah scrolls in a neighborhood of Jerusalem, Oct. 1 2014.
Reuven K., who is about 30 years old, is an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic man who lives in Betar Illit, one of Israel’s most prominent ultra-Orthodox localities. Reuven studies in a yeshiva, a Jewish school for Talmudic learning, but works half of each day as a wholesale merchant selling religious ritual supplies. His wife, Bracha, works as a bookkeeper in a governmental institution.
Palestinian boss Mahmoud Abbas recently declared that Israel is “a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness.” Moses, King David and thousands of years of Jewish history would disagree. Israel and the Jews are part of the story of human civilization. Over 50% of the human race has a holy book that tells of the Jewish journey to Israel. That includes Mohammed’s own copy of the Koran.
Israel isn’t a “colonial enterprise.” Palestine is.
Anyone who wants to find out where the name Israel comes from can open the Book of Genesis 32:29. The story even appears in Islamic hadiths. But where does “Palestine” really come from?
It may not be a shooting war. For the most part. (Though don’t tell that to some Republicans at a charity game practice who were targeted by a Bernie Sanders supporter.) But it’s a war all the same.
The war is still being fought with paper and protests. But it’s based on irreconcilable differences between parts of the country. Much like the ones that brought on the war between brothers.
This is a topic that I’ve written about quite often over this past year. Rush Limbaugh saw fit to read and promote some of those pieces. And now I’ll be giving a talk on the subject at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC. It’ll take place from Jan 20-22. I’m scheduled to speak on the 21st, but there are plenty of other great speakers there.
The speech was loud and clear. It wasn’t just the “may your house be demolished” curse that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired at the leader of the strongest world power. It was the utterly delusional ideology, with false claims that only make the Palestinians sink deeper into a path of delusions and collapse.
The reactions were predictable: We have to understand him. He’s under a lot of pressure. He has no political horizon. The Palestinians are desperate. He didn’t really mean it.
A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum held in Moscow, detailed how over the past 10 years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80 percent and warned that unless current trends are reversed Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, whereas today there are only 100,000, roughly a 93 percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump, going so far as to hurl the most bitter curse in the Arabic language at the POTUS: “May your house be destroyed.”
This imprecation does not merely relate to someone’s present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation, and shame. Only someone familiar with Middle Eastern culture understands the real significance of this curse.
The 1964 presidential election was the second in which I voted. Lyndon Johnson who had succeeded John Kennedy was running against Barry Goldwater. I didn’t like either candidate: Johnson’s personal characteristics were obnoxious, though he had achieved much, especially in the area of civil rights; Goldwater’s personal characterizes seemed fine, but I disapproved of his conservative political views.
I was shocked to read an article in Fact magazine, based on interviews with more than 1,000 psychiatrists, which concluded that Goldwater was mentally unstable and psychologically unfit to be president. It was Lyndon Johnson whose personal fitness to hold the highest office I questioned. Barry Goldwater seemed emotionally stable with excellent personal characteristics, but highly questionable politics. The article was utterly unpersuasive, and in the end, I reluctantly voted for Lyndon Johnson. Barry Goldwater went back to the Senate, where he served with great distinction and high personal morality. Lyndon Johnson got us deeply into an unwinnable war that hurt our nation. The more than 1,000 psychiatrists, it turned out, were dead wrong in their diagnosis and predictions.