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Congressional Republicans Seek Defunding of ‘Anti-Semitic’ UNRWA

To Rep. Chris Smith, aid cutoff to UNRWA is ”long overdue.” Credit: NJ Guard photo by Mark C. Olsen

Congressional Republicans are using Israel’s suspicious release of a six-page dossier claiming that 12 members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) were aiding Hamas during and after its Oct. 7 assault on Israel to call for the defunding and/or dismantling of the agency. These actions follow the Biden administration’s decision to suspend aid to UNRWA after Israel provided its “evidence” against the agency which was conveniently released to coincide with the International Court of Justice’s findings against Israel.

Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs committee held a joint subcommittee meeting—Oversight and Accountability; and Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations—entitled “UNRWA Exposed: Examining the Agency’s Mission and Failures.” According to The Hill, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) told the hearing that the U.S. cutoff of aid “was a long overdue response. Going far beyond the revelations of last week, there has been massive and irrefutable evidence of UNRWA’s connivance, complicity and cooperation in Hamas’s anti-Semitic, genocidal hate campaign.”

Along with two other Republican Congressmen, Smith has introduced the “Stop Support for UNRWA Act of 2024,” to prohibit “aid that will benefit Hamas and for other purposes,” and would ban any “voluntary or involuntary” U.S. contributions to UNRWA “or any successor entity.” Smith told Israel’s i24News TV that “It’s about time we pivoted and realized that UNRWA is committing wholesale child abuse against Palestinian youth. It’s teaching them to hate every single day.… There’s no doubt that we will get to a way of providing food, clothing, shelter and education that is free of anti-Semitism.”

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