Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a supporter of Hamas’s October 7 terror attack, demanded Monday that the U.S. restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Last week, the Biden administration suspended funding to UNRWA after it was revealed that at least a dozen of its employees had participated in the October 7 terror attack. Biden had previously restored $700 million to UNRWA that President Donald Trump had cut because of concerns about UNRWA’s role in supporting terrorism and indoctrinating Palestinian children to hate Israel.
As Breitbart News reported, citing the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Awad celebrated the October 7 attacks in a speech to a Muslim group shortly after the event, claiming he was “happy” and that Israel did not have a right of self-defense.
CAIR also has a history of association with Hamas and support for Palestinian terrorism. As Breitbart News has noted in the past:
In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization. The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).
On Monday, CAIR issued a press release in which it quoted Awad, who claimed he had “personally benefited” from UNRWA:
As a Palestinian-American who grew up in a refugee camp and personally benefited from UNRWA’s support, I know that this agency is a desperately needed source of humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza.
It is morally depraved and glaringly inconsistent for President Biden to cut UNRWA funding on the basis of unconfirmed allegations made by the Israeli government while he simultaneously funds the Israeli government despite confirmed allegations of their systematic war crimes. The timing of the announcement, the same day as the ICJ ruling, is also incredibly suspicious.
By cutting UNRWA funding, the Biden administration is both fulfilling a wish of far-right Israeli ministers who want to starve Palestinians into exile and engaging in a form of collective punishment against 5 million innocent Palestinian civilians. When President Biden was running for office, he pledged to reverse the Trump administration’s hateful and baseless cutting of UNRWA funding. Now he has restored the Trump policy, punishing millions of innocent people at the behest of an Israeli government that wants to make it impossible for Palestinians to survive in Gaza. We call on the Biden administration to immediately restore UNRWA funding.
The “unconfirmed” Israeli reports were based on evidence solid enough to prompt UNRWA to fire twelve of its own employees, and for nearly a dozen other countries to suspend or cut funding to the agency.
The New York Times published what it said were details of the allegations on Monday, including that one UNRWA employee helped kidnap an Israeli woman, one participated in the massacre of nearly 100 civilians at Kibbutz Be’eri, and that another “handed out ammunition” during the Hamas attack.
Update: The Biden administration has defended its decision to restore funding to UNRWA, as well as the agency itself:
The White House, which earlier this month defended Biden’s decision to restore funding to UNRWA despite growing concern about its support for terrorism, continued to defend the agency on Monday, even after the administration suspended its funding.
“Let’s not impugn the good work of a whole agency because of the potential bad actions here by a small number,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby, ignoring evidence that the agency broadly supported the Hamas terror attack.
Dr. Anthony Harper of the Intermountain Christian News Agency joined Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM Patriot 125 this past weekend to discuss his past work on pressing adminstrations of both parties regarding U.S. taxpayer funding for UNRWA:
The White House also worked with CAIR in crafting its so-called “antisemitism strategy” last year to excuse radical criticism of Israel. The Biden administration was forced to distance itself from CAIR after Awad’s remarks supporting the October 7 attack.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.