Seeking support from Israel lobby, Andrew Scheer joins Trump’s campaign to destroy UN agency for Palestinian refugees

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Andrew Scheer announced last week that if elected, he would eliminate Canadian support for UNRWA, a United Nations agency that provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees.  A leaked internal audit alleging mismanagement at the top of UNRWA has given the Israel lobby an excuse to demand ending Canadian funding for the organization. Destroying UNRWA is part of the Trump administration’s plan to compel the Palestinians to accept the so-called “Deal of the Century”. Read more.

A leaked internal report from the ethics office of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA)  has alleged “abuses of authority” among the organisation’s senior management team, sending shock waves through the UN system.

According to Swiss Info, most of the allegations relate to the personal relationship of UNRWA boss Pierre Krachenbuhl and another senior executive which created a “toxic work environment” at the top of the organization. Switzerland has temporarily suspended its annual contribution to UNRWA pending further investigation. (Krachelbuhl is a Swiss national). 

The Trump administration cut off its own contributions to UNRWA last year. According to the New York Times, the move was pushed hardest by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser on the Middle East, as part of a plan to compel Palestinians to drop demands for those refugees to return to their homeland.

The Trump attack on UNRWA had already caused consternation among the millions of Palestinian refugees who depend on the organization or education, health care and in some cases (including Gaza) for food.

So far the allegations of malfeasance at UNRWA are unproven. “An investigation of the allegations contained in the report is ongoing”, said a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General. “Until then the Secretary General is not in a position to make any further comments on this matter.” 

But the unproven nature of these allegations has not prevented the Israel lobby in Canada from seizing on them to renew their attacks on UNRWA and demand its dismantlement.

“Why hasn’t this latest scandal persuaded Canada to cut off UNRWA? wrote Vivian Bercovici, in a scathing op ed in the National Post. Bercovici, who served as Canada’s  Ambassador to Israel under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was a self-declared fan of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu while she was in office.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Canada’s largest pro-Israel lobby organization weighed in with a lurid campaign called “Stop UNRWA”, inviting CIJA members to pressure the Canadian government to stop its funding of the organization. “Sexual misconduct. Nepotism. Discrimination. Retaliation. Abuses of authority for personal gain”, a scandalised CIJA tells its members, urging them to “Tell Ottawa we refuse to pay for UNRWA corruption“.

Students in a school in Gaza of the UNRWA at the beginning of the new academic year.

UNRWA provides education, health care and even basic foodstuffs to millions of Palestinians.

For its part, B’nai Brith Canada launched a petition demanding that the Government of Canada immediately suspend its support for UNRWA.

Eager to pick up right wing support from the Israel lobby, Andrew Scheer has jumped on the bandwagon. “A Scheer government will immediately withdraw Canadian funding from UNRWA”, said a Scheer spokesperson.

Still unproven

At the time of writing, it is still unknown whether any of the allegations is well founded. If they are, corrective action certainly needs to be taken.

However, it is hard to imagine that any of the financial malfeasance by the 4 or 5 top executives named in the report (like taking business class airline seats while other executives had to fly economy class) could have abused more than .1% of the organizations $1.3 billion (US) annual budget. Calling for Canada to stop funding UNRWA, seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

A not-so-hidden agenda

CIJA and B’nai Brith’s alleged concern over financial probity and protecting Canadian tax dollars rings hollow when one considers their actions (or inactions) in the face of mismanagement allegations against some other organizations.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), for example, which is partially funded by Canadian tax dollars, has been repeatedly cited for mismanagement and fraud. Earlier this year, an Israeli cabinet minister urged that the JNF (in Hebrew KKL) be disbanded because of mismanagement, but that call didn’t even get a raised eyebrow from CIJA. Recently JNF’s American branch was outed for fraud by Jewish Forward magazine. 

Kushner, CIJA, B’nai Brith, Bercovici, Netanyahu and company would like to see UNRWA disbanded completely in order to weaken and eventually extinguish, international support for the Palestinian right of return. Currying their support, Scheer has jumped in.

What should Canada do?

The allegations should be taken seriously of course.

But Palestinian refugees should not be forced to suffer if there is corruption by senior UN officials.  Canada didn’t cut support to the International Red Cross after officials defrauded that organization of funds earmarked for Ebola aid in West Africa.  Canada has not stopped post-earthquake assistance to Haiti in spite of the rampant corruption there.  Corruption at the top of large international organizations is unfortunately not unusual. (Think FIFA, or the Olympic Games for example.)

Those who have a political motive for undermining UNRWA are cynically using the allegations of mismanagement by a few senior people at the top of the organization as a way to discredit the work of the organization itself.

So far, the Trudeau government has resisted these calls. “We will review the outcome of the investigation. Our number one priority is to contribute to meeting the basic education, health and livelihood needs of millions of Palestinian refugees, especially women and children,‘ a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told the Ottawa Citizen.

Instead of cutting off funding to UNRWA, Canada should urge the UN Secretary General to finish his investigation rapidly and respond appropriately, so UNRWA can continue with its valuable humanitarian mission.

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Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) encourages and promotes a thoughtful discussion among Canadians on the Israel/Palestine issue, including a well informed and sensitive discussion about solutions. CTIP encourages serious people who disagree with any column to make comment. Disagreements respectfully offered are welcome. To learn more about what CTIP does, contact us at chair.ctip@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

29 comments

  1. Good points Peter. I always read your posts and appreciate the work you do to bring these facts into the light of day.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Michaela

    On Wed, Aug 7, 2019 at 8:32 AM Canada Talks Israel/Palestine wrote:

    > Peter Larson posted: ” Andrew Scheer announced last week that if elected, > he would eliminate Canadian support for UNRWA, a United Nations agency that > provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees. A leaked internal > audit alleging mismanagement at the top of UNRWA ha” >

  2. Israel and the Israel lobby claim that any criticism of Israel amounts to antisemitism. This means that criticism of murder and deliberate maiming of unarmed protesters, the destruction and takeover Palestinian lands, the the torture and imprisonment of men, women and children is considered antisemitic. The logical conclusion of this argument is that murder and torture are Jewish values which is obviously absurd. In that the actions of Israel toward the Palestinians represents a complete abandonment and betrayal of its Judaic roots and values, it could be argued that not to criticize Israel is a far worse form of anti-Semitism. This may, I suspect, also account in part for the fact that committed Jews are among the most ardent and passionate critics of Israel.

  3. Thank you for this important posting, Peter. It very helpfully clarifies the allegations regarding mismanagement by UNRWA executives, as well as the JNF’s misuse of its charitable status to fund military-related projects in Israel and in occupied Palestinian territory (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jnf-charity-donations-1.4949072). The political silence on JNF versus the outcry on UNRWA is certainly telling. I guess we really are into political campaign season.

  4. So well said. Answer is to fix problem in the organization, not to eliminate organization.Especially given its very important role. Shame on the Conservatives for being so opportunistic, myopic and uncaring.

  5. Plus I am still puzzled and perplexed by what would happen if UNWRA shut down entirely, leaving 1.3 Palestinian, mostly in refugee camps in Gaza, without schools, health care and other basic necessities. The State of Israel is also choking off funds to the Palestinian Authority with its meagre money supply to Gazans. The resulting humanitarian disaster would be Israel’s to deal with. What are they thinking and what international aid would step in?

  6. The” logic” behind Israel’s long fight against UNRWA seems to be:
    – If there are no refugees, we do not have to take anyone back.
    – If we do not call them refugees, they are not refugees.
    – As long as there is a UN Refugee agency, there must be people who are called refugees.
    – There will be a UNRWA as long as there are refugees.
    – If we get rid of the UNRWA, we will no longer have any obligations towards the people who have been forced out of Israel and other parts of Palestine.

    I think we can all see the many flaws in that line of reasoning. I hope our government can too.

  7. I concur with the previous comments. It is a callous and opportunistic move by Sheer but short sighted as well on the part of Israel that is taking a huge gamble that the world will stand by and watch the modern day Nakba unfold without international consequences and greater resistance by the Palestinian people?

  8. Not the first time that Mr. Scheer made such derogatory claims since he became the party leader. He accused the government of abandoning “Canada’s principled support” for Israel when it abstained on a vote at the UN that condemned the US for recognizing Jerusalem as a capital. He wowed to move Canadian Embassy to Jerusalem if elected, which should not happen.
    Mr. Scheer claims, “I will immediately act to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity, as well as make full use of the Magnitsky Law to punish Iran’s worst human rights offenders, Wow! look who is talking, he is the one who supports the terrorist army of Israel that continue to kill Palestinians every day, what about that? Will he list that criminal regime as a terrorist entity as well?

    Funding Palestinian refugees’ s organization UNRWA, a group he also called “highly flawed” is another hypocritic arrogance by this leader.

    The fact that Mr. Scheer becomes the next PM will have grave consequences on Canada image on International level. He will help to expand the already existed wide hypocrisy among Canadian Paulicians. Canada will upsurge its unconditional support by adoration to Israeli policies – pushing the peace process to void and null.

    Mr. Scheer follows his role model step-by-step what Mr. Trump is doing in the US.
    His own hidden agenda in support of Israel can be far more catastrophic than Mr. Trump. Hope this will not be case in the coming election.

  9. Once again, there is significant cherry picking in this opinion piece.
    The leaked internal ethics report specifically claimed that the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency, was beset by “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent.” UNRWA admitted that the report was GENUINE, and stated that it had been sent to UN investigators in December.
    Further, Switzerland is not the only country that has suspended funding. The Netherlands and Belgium have as well. These countries have all supported the Palestinians and hold a clear anti-Israel animus. If they are pulling the plug, there’s a reason.
    Your statement that the JNF is partially funded by Canadian tax dollars is misleading and in my view deceptive. You well know there is a world of difference between Canadians receiving a tax deduction for charitable donations to JNF or whatever registered charity they contribute and direct funding to UNWRA by all Canadian taxpayers through the Canadian government.
    As you also well know, the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper halted Canada’s transfers to UNRWA in 2010, redirecting the funding to Palestinians through other organizations instead. This was well before Trump took office and was not related to a sinister right wing Jewish/American cabal as you imply. Your entire piece smacks of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories
    Palestinians under the UNRWA are treated differently than all other refugees who fall under the jurisdiction of the UNHCR, Palestinians are the only group that have their own dedicated refugee agency. They retain their refugee status in perpetuity. Refugee status is inherited. They are hived off as a special people, more deserving than all other refugees in the world.
    The UNRWA needs to be disbanded and Palestinians must fall under the jurisdiction of the UNHCR. Then, and only then should Canada contribute to Palestinian welfare.

    1. Hey Leigh, thanks for your comment.
      I am sorry that you felt that my piece “smacked” of anti-Jewish conspiracy theory.
      Mr. Kushner’s reasons for wanting to destroy UNRWA are well known. CIJA and Bnai Brith agree. I have no idea what Scheer really thinks, but he is trying to get the support of the Israel lobby. It supported Harper in the past, but in the last election a lot of it migrated over to Trudeau. He wants it back.
      No conspiracy. Everyone acts in their own self interest.

    2. MR. Halprin,

      The arguments that you recite against UNRWA are standard and old. They were commonly used in Zionist literature long before the alleged incidents – even long before the current leadership was appointed. They have nothing to do with the current allegations. Those arguments have been rejected by the many countries that donate to UNRWA including the three that have suspended payments. Those payments are not “cut off”; they have been suspended until the investigation into the allegations is complete.

      Palestinians under the UNRWA are treated differently than other refugees because their fate is different. Most refugees have either found permanent homes or have been allowed to return to their homelands. For example, my refugee parents, who fled from the Nazis found permanent homes in North America and could have returned to the land that they fled. Most received compensation for the losses that they suffered. The Palestinians that UNRWA helps were not so lucky.

      Even if all of the allegations that are reported turn out to be true, the solution is to improve UNRWA, not to disband it. Unfortunately, it is still needed. Everyone would be happy to see UNRWA disbanded if the refugees were, like my family, allowed to return to their homeland and compensated for their losses. That should be Canada’s goal.

      1. Nonsense. Palestinians living, for example in Canada, retain their refugee status, Further, there was no sovereign nation of Palestine as you well know.
        On the other hand my relatives from Libya were stripped of their citizenship and those from Yemen were forced to flee, What about the Jews of Jordan, Iraq, Egypt etc.? They can’t return.They didn’t get special refugee status.
        Being refugees serves the Palestinians They are invested in retaining that status.
        Sorry your Holocaust credentials, which you use to legitimize much of your commentary and which are exploited by your fellow travellers don’t impress someone who lost relatives in the Shoah and whose in laws were survivors.

      2. Hey Mr. Halprin,
        I am truly sorry you lost relatives in the Shoah. It was an atrocious tragedy.

        I am supportive of any Jew who was made a refugee from Libya, Yemen, etc. Their right to return is just as valid as that of a Palestinian. If you would like to start a movement for their right to return, I will sign on. (assuming they are legitimate refugees, and not just economic immigrants.)
        But honestly, that has nothing to do with Palestinian refugees. The denial of one does not cancel out the right of the other. Each person has an individual right.
        The Palestinian right to return is endorsed by UN resolution. But more importantly, it is obviously the moral and ethical thing to do

      3. The point made by Mr. Parnas was that a separate agency for Palestinians was justified because they were DIFFERENT. The point I made with my illustration (and you acknowledged was valid) is they in fact are not different. There are, of course, many other refugees who cannot return. I did not argue as you say that the Palestinians ought not to have individual rights and legitimate rights should be cancelled..

        The argument for hiving off only one group of refugees is not reasonable. Let all refugees including those who claim status as Palestinians fall under one rubric and be dealt with as all other refugees. .

      4. UNRWA provides aid to more than 5 million people. It administers more than 700 schools and more than 140 primary health facilities. All are located in a relatively small geographic area: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The people needing assistance are relatively homogeneous and all speak the same language. Some have had a precarious existence for more than 70 years and there is little prospect that they will have a permanent home in the near future. If you can think of a comparable group of people, please name it.

        If you can see any practical advantage to combining this huge, homogeneous, and geographically clustered group with the disparate and widely dispersed groups of other people needing aid, please explain what that advantage would be.

        The Palestinian people have had the misfortune of being pawns used by Israel and its neighbours. Israel and its supporters claim that the people who fled Palestine should be welcomed by those they refer to as the Palestinian’s “Arab Brothers” (a strange phrase that ignores historical differences). The countries in question note that they have their own serious problems and insists that Israel should take care of its own former residents. The Palestinians trapped in overcrowded camps whose borders are completely controlled by an unfriendly power have no freedom to solve their own problems. Even their fishing areas are restricted. I know of no comparable group. If you do, please educate us.

    3. For the record:

      Briefly:
      On 11 December 1948, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 (III) of which paragraph 11 resolves “…refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible….”

      Between late 1947 and 15 may 1948, about 400,000 Palestinians were dispossessed and expelled by Jewish forces as were an additional 400,000 by early 1949 (for a total of at least 800,000 as determined by Walter Eytan, then Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.) About 25,000 more were driven out just before and during Israel’s first invasion of Egypt in 1956 and an additional approximately 225,000 during and after the war it launched on 5 June 1967,

      After being rejected twice, on 11 May 1949, the General Assembly passed Resolution 273 granting Israel admittance to the UN. As a pre-condition, Israel formally agreed at the UN to obey General Assembly Resolution 194 as well as Resolution 181, the Partition Plan. Along with Arab states and Palestinian representatives, Israel also signed the Lausanne Protocol at the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference to the same effect.

      Resolution 273: “Recalling [Resolutions 181 and 194] and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by [Israel]…in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions, the General Assembly… decides to admit Israel into membership in the United Nations.” Israel is the only state admitted to the UN on the condition that specific resolutions would be implemented.
      Needless to say, Israel reneged on its commitment to abide by the terms of Resolution 194 as well as Resolution 181, the Partition Plan, which the Arab delegation, including Palestinian representatives, had accepted as a basis for peace negotiations at the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference.

      There is no question whatsoever that Israel is legally bound to abide by the terms of Resolution 194 regarding refugees. Only Washington’s protection has prevented Israel from having its UN membership suspended, as happened to apartheid South Africa. Arab and Palestinian acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 242, 22 November 1967, resulted in Israel no longer having to obey Resolution 181, the Partition Plan, as it was rendered irrelevant. Resolution 194, however, remains fully in effect.

      Over the years several UN resolutions have been passed affirming the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. One of the most important is General Assembly Resolution 3236 (22 November 1974) which acknowledges that all those made refugees since 1947 have an inalienable right to return. Paragraph 1 refers to the national inalienable rights of “the Palestinian people” and paragraph 2 provides that the General Assembly “[r]eaffirms also the inalienable rights of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return.”

      Mandatory UN Security Council Resolution 605 (22 December 1987) reaffirmed that all Palestinian refugees, including those of the 1947-48 conflict, have an inalienable right to return to their homes. Resolution 605 refers to “the inalienable rights of all peoples recognized by the Charter of the United Nations and proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

      (BTW, throughout history the right of return was so universally accepted that it was not codified until 1215, in Chapter 42 of the Magna Carta: “It shall be lawful in the future for anyone…to leave our kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water….” )

      The right of return was further enshrined in international law when the United Nations adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948) of which Article 13(2) states: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.” The United Nations adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948 (Resolution 217 A III), the day before Resolution 194 was passed. By gaining UN membership Israel agreed to abide by the Declaration’s terms.

      Another important document dealing with human rights, including the right of return, was the Fourth Geneva Convention (12 August 1949) of which Article 49 states “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.” Israel is a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

      (The legality and sanctity of the right of return was further demonstrated by the vigorous diplomatic and military efforts on the part of Western powers to ensure the return of refugees in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor.)

      As the Palestinian refugees’ right of return is an “inalienable” human right, under no circumstances can it be renounced by their leadership. It can only be surrendered on an individual basis. Indeed, it is not only the legal right of Palestinian refugees to insist on their right of return, it is their duty.

      Disregarding its binding pledge to the UN, scores of UN resolutions and a large body of international human rights law, Israel contends that Palestinian refugees and their descendants cannot return because it would result in Jews being outnumbered in the “Jewish State.”

      International humanitarian law cannot be subverted in order for Israel to maintain a Jewish majority. There would be no Jewish majority in Israel if 85% of the native Christian and Muslim population had not been violently dispossessed and driven into neighbouring Arab countries and what remained of unoccupied Palestine during the 1947-49 war.

      Obviously, it is long since time that Israel’s UN membership was revoked or suspended.
      Needless to say, any Jew of Arab origin who feels he or she has a legitimate grievance against an Arab country should pursue it through international law. The bottom line, however, is that while Palestinians were violently dispossessed and expelled from their homeland by Jewish militias and the IDF, they played no role whatsoever in the emigration of or any ill treatment and or loss of assets that Jews of Arab origin may have experienced in their former homelands. The two cases are separate and distinct, i.e., apples and oranges.

  10. In the event that UNRWA is dissolved, all countries supporting UNRWA must present their moral and humanitarian duty to the Palestinian refugees in the camps by distributing them to these countries.

  11. Thanks for such a thoughtful and interesting post, Peter. Scheer is just an opportunistic weasel. Sadly it is the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza who will suffer even more, if funding is cut. You and I have both spent time in the UNRWA refugee camps in Gaza. I would hate to think that conditions would get even worse there, than they currently are. More funding is needed, not less.

  12. It is very disturbing that (once again) so many are gleefully wringing their hands and smacking their lips at the prospect of eliminating UNRWA to the suffering of millions of people (who happen to be Palestinian). You wonder where the barest thread of decency exists in their shrivelled hearts and desiccated minds.

    This is not an ad hominem attack, simply an inquiry into dark places which pretend to shine a bright light but are devoid of any spark of life except to ignite other people’s catastrophe.

    1. First, a bit of education taken in by tap dancing.This is the meaning of ad hominem.

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

      Definition of ad hominem. 1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect an ad hominem argument. 2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions.

      You wrote: “You wonder where the barest thread of decency exists in their shrivelled hearts and desiccated minds.” You go on to say that those who oppose UNRWA” are devoid of any spark of life except to ignite other people’s catastrophe.” You then claim your remarks are not an ad hominem. Saying a bear isn’t a bear doesn’t make it something else. You present no substantive argument.

      Your remarks are perilously close to defamation, if not defamation. In Manitoba, there is legislation which allow actions against the publication of words you have written .

      1. Dear Mr. Halprin,

        My comments were not directing at you specifically. They were meant generally and applying to many people including Mr. Scheer. I take it you consider you personally have a loving heart and a vibrant mind. Good for you, then you should take no offence. It does us all good to keep these qualities before us when commenting in future on this and all subjects.

      2. Under the law of defamation, it matters not a wit if I have a moral compass. It matters not a wit whether you think I ought not to take offence. It matters not a wit if you were not speaking of me specifically.
        Hateful, false, and fomenting attacks against groups, not just individuals, are actionable under human rights laws, the Canadian Criminal Code, and defamation legislation.
        Leigh Halprin LLB

      3. Mr. Halprin, LLB
        I have a legal question for you. In an earlier comment you attacked me saying “Your entire piece smacks of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.”

        I don’t mind if you disagree with me over Zionism, the Palestinians and the State of Israel. Sincere people can have differences.

        But I believe that your statement means you are accusing ME of anti-Semitism. Is that right? Please be clear.

        If so, it is demonstrably false and possibly defamatory.

        Anti-Semitism does exist in Canada, unfortunately. I am strongly opposed to it. My writing, speaking and actions show clearly that I am as sincere in my desire to oppose anti-Semitism, as I am to oppose other forms of racism, including white supremacy and islamophobia.

  13. Mr. Halprin,

    You wrote, “Nonsense. Palestinians living, for example in Canada, retain their refugee status,”

    Whether or not you call them “refugee” is not the issue. The UNRWA services are available to all those living in its area of operations who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. Palestinians who are entitled to live in Canada do not meet this requirement.

    “Further, there was no sovereign nation of Palestine as you well know.”

    How is that relevant? “Palestine” was the name of an area used in many official documents (e.g the Balfour declaration) and we call the people who lived in that area “Palestinians”.

    “On the other hand my relatives from Libya were stripped of their citizenship and those
    from Yemen were forced to flee, What about the Jews of Jordan, Iraq, Egypt etc.? They
    can’t return.They didn’t get special refugee status.”

    I suspect that, like my parents, they found a place to live (perhaps in the areas cleansed of Palestinians?) and do not need assistance, Tell me if I am wrong? UNRWA restricts its services to those who are still in the camps and need assistance.

    “Being refugees serves the Palestinians. They are invested in retaining that status”

    I believe that most would prefer to lose that status by returning home. Do you really doubt that?

    “Sorry your Holocaust credentials, which you use to legitimize much of your commentary
    and which are exploited by your fellow travellers don’t impress someone who lost relatives
    in the Shoah and whose in laws were survivors.”

    I used my family to illustrate the difference between the people that UNRWA helps and others who were refugees. My commentary stands on its own and requires no personal legitimization.

    I will not stoop to a “whose family lost more in the Holocaust” contest both because it is irrelevant and because I doubt that either of us knows the story of the other’s family. Why do you think that such a comparison is relevant?

    The important point is that those who receive UNRWA services need assistance.

  14. CIJA;s campaign displays callous disregard for the ongoing suffering of Palestinians. Sure, confront corruption in the UN, but still, address the rights and needs of the world’s largest group of refugees, whose misfortunes at the hand of Israel go back two generations already. What isn’t wrong with this picture? Thanks, Peter, for holding the torch here.
    .

  15. Mr. Halprin, thanks for flashing your LLB. Not sure if that necessarily buys you credit. Sorry if I have now defamed your profession also. Mr. Halprin, I think you have demonstrated your wit sufficiently and drawn some excellent discussion points from worthy members of this forum who strive to be respectful and thoughtful. In my humble opinion, you are not among them (I hope that is not a defamatory statement).

    The gracious host of this forum whose motto is: “Raise the issue but lower the temperature” is likely not too pleased with my response to you but I fear you are relishing your gadfly role too much. Respectfully, I suggest it is time for you to exit as gracefully as you are able. You are not changing any minds and obviously yours is unchangeable. So there is no point in continuing other than to waste time unless of course that is the point.

    I promise this is my last contribution to this exchange, I have already exceeded my limit by two.

  16. Many thanks for those who have commented on this blog . I think Mr Scheer and those who advise him could learn a lot from the comments. And thank you Peter for raising the issue but keeping the temperature in check.

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