La.’s Kennedy introduces bills to ban UNRWA funding, expose hate in Palestinian schoolbooks

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy introduced two bills on Jan. 31 to address growing concerns about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and its ties to Hamas and antisemitic classroom instruction in Gaza.

Kennedy and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky cosponsored the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act to address reports indicating that Palestinian students are being taught inaccurate or racist content about Israel and the Jewish people.

Kennedy also authored a bill that would ban United States funding of UNRWA permanently, and shift those dollars to construction of the U.S. Southern border wall. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) have co-sponsored the legislation.

The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act would require the Secretary of State to submit annual reports examining the curricula Palestinian schools are using to teach students. The reports will review whether Palestinian curricula encourage racist violence against the Jewish people and whether U.S. foreign aid is supporting such material.

“The Palestinian people suffer because of Hamas and its radical ideology. The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act would ensure that not a single U.S. taxpayer dollar goes to schools that teach young children the same hate that inspired the Oct. 7 attacks against Israel,” said Kennedy. He first introduced similar legislation in 2021 after reports of what was in Palestinian curricula.

The UNRWA defunding bill comes after reports that at least 12 UNRWA employees took direct part in the Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis, about 1200 UNRWA workers are members of terror organizations and UNRWA workers also did logistics work for the attack and procured weapons that terrorists used against civilians.

The U.S. currently contributes more to UNRWA than any other nation, giving the agency $343 million in 2022 after President Joe Biden reversed former President Donald Trump’s 2018 stop on aid to the group.

UNRWA is supposed to provide basic education, primary health care, micro-credit and emergency assistance to the residents of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. Independent reviews of UNRWA-supplied curriculum, however, have shown that it includes “a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects.”

“Hamas uses UNRWA facilities as a shield to perpetuate vicious antisemitic attacks against Israel, and it uses UNRWA resources to indoctrinate the people it is supposed to be caring for. UNRWA employees actively participated in violently massacring Israel civilians last October. The U.S. can’t keep bankrolling a corrupt group that helps Hamas attack our greatest ally in the Middle East, and the Biden administration can’t keep turning a blind eye to its border crisis,” said Kennedy.