« All Events
The Endowment for Middle East Truth invites you to:
“UNRWA: Perpetuating the Psychology of Victimhood of the Palestinians”
Dr. Daniel Pipes
Amb. Richard Schifter
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.*
Rayburn House Office Building
Lunch to be served. All dietary laws observed.
*Kindly arrive at 11:45am for Lunch so that we may begin the program promptly.
For those of you who are unable to attend, please watch LIVE on EMET’s Facebook page!
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was created by The General Assembly in 1949 as a temporary relief agency specifically for Palestinian refugees. For 70 years, the organization – separate from the United Nations High Commissions for Refugees (UNHRC) – has been the only refugee organization devoted exclusively to one group.
Instead of solving the Palestinian refugee problem, UNRWA has worsened it by expanding the definition of refugees, leading to an increase in the number of refugees. While the UNHRC works to settle refugees into a new country, UNRWA holds them in refugee camps, forcing them and their children to become permanently displaced, and giving them a false sense of hope of their “right to return.”
The work of UNRWA has become highly politicized; UNRWA contributes to the spread of anti-Israel propaganda and hate among Palestinians. There are UNRWA-controlled schools and summer camps where Palestinian children receive military training, are taught to praise suicide bombers, and learn the value of “jihad.” UNRWA camps in countries including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the West Bank and Gaza have served as a recruitment ground for new terrorists as well. In addition, some UNRWA employees are members of Hamas and regularly employ hateful rhetoric against Jews and Israel. Weapons of Hamas – including missiles, rockets, and mortars – have been found stored and fired from UNRWA-controlled hospitals and schools, using students and teachers as human shields.
Yet the Agency has taken very few steps, if at all, to end the spread of hate and prevent members of terrorist organizations from joining its staff.
The United States was the largest funder of UNRWA in 2016, giving over $300 million to the organization. On January 16th the U.S. State Department announced it would cut $65 million of aid to UNRWA, from the current $125 million aid package. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had been pushing for a total cut in U.S. aid to UNRWA, in response to the Palestinian Authority’s decision to put forward two United Nations’ resolutions denouncing President Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as well as the PA’s refusal to engage in peace talks.
What are the implications of the U.S.’s aid cut to UNRWA? Are there any options for UNRWA reform? And are there any steps UNRWA can take to actually help the Palestinian refugee problem?
Please join the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) as our panel of experts explore these questions and more.
Dr. Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum. His bi-weekly column appears regularly in the Washington Times and in newspapers around the globe. CBS Sunday Morning says Dr. Pipes was “years ahead of the curve in identifying the threat of radical Islam.” “Unnoticed by most Westerners,” he wrote, for example, in 1995, “war has been unilaterally declared on Europe and the United States.” The Boston Globe states that “If Pipes’s admonitions had been heeded, there might never have been a 9/11.” The Wall Street Journal calls Mr. Pipes “an authoritative commentator on the Middle East” and the Washington Post deems him both “a prominent conservative intellectual” and “perhaps the most prominent U.S. scholar on radical Islam.” The Huffington Post recognizes him as “a renowned scholar on matters of extremist Islam.”
Dr. Pipes received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University, both in history, and spent six years studying abroad, including three years in Egypt. Mr. Pipes speaks French, and reads Arabic and German. He has taught at Harvard, Pepperdine, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Chicago. He has been affiliated with Princeton and Stanford universities. He served in various capacities in the U.S. government, including two presidentially-appointed positions, vice chairman of the Fulbright Board of Foreign Scholarships and board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace. He was director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in 1986-93.
Mr. Pipes discusses current issues on television on such U.S. programs as ABC World News, Crossfire, Good Morning America, News-Hour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, O’Reilly Factor, and The Today Show. He has appeared on leading television networks around the globe, including the BBC and Al-Jazeera, and has lectured in 25 countries. He has publicly debated leading figures, including Noam Chomsky and Ken Livingstone. More than 100 newspapers have carried his articles, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Mr. Pipes has published in such magazines as the Atlantic Monthly, Commentary, Foreign Affairs, Harper’s, National Review, New Republic, Time, and The Weekly Standard.
Mr. Pipes has has edited two collections of essays, and written twelve books. His writings, including 5 books and 10,000 articles, have been translated into 37 languages. He sits on several editorial boards, has testified before many congressional committees, and worked on five presidential campaigns. Universities in the United States and Switzerland have conferred honorary degrees on him. He has also been recognized as one of Harvard University’s 100 most influential living graduates and is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World.
Mr. Pipes founded the Middle East Forum (MEForum.org), an independent 501(c)3 organization, in 1994. Its mission is “promoting American interests” through publications, research, media outreach, and public education. It publishes the Middle East Quarterly and sponsors Campus Watch, Islamist Watch, the Legal Project, and the Washington Project.
About Ambassador Richard Schifter
Ambassador Richard Schifter has had a distinguished career as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and in government. Since 2005 he has served as chairman of the board of directors of American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI).
After receiving his L.L.B. from the Yale School of Law in 1951, he practiced law in Washington, DC with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, 1951-1984, and is now a retired partner of that firm. During his career in the practice of law, Schifter was considered one of the foremost practitioners of federal Indian law in the country. He served on the President’s Task Force on American Indians from 1966 to 1967.
From 1981 to 2001 Schifter held a series of senior foreign policy positions in the U.S. government. Representing the United States in the United Nations (UN) he gained an intimate knowledge of the workings of the UN and in particular the efforts made by a grouping of states to ignore the humanitarian principles set forth in the UN Charter and instead use the UN solely to embarrass the US and delegitimize Israel. The positions he held from 1981 to 1986 and again in 1993 included representing the United States in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the UNESCO Committee on Conventions and Recommendations and serving as Deputy United States Representative in the United Nations Security Council with the rank of Ambassador.
From 1986 to 1992 Schifter served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, a position in which he played a key role in the successful U.S. effort to encourage the Soviet Government to end abuse of psychiatry, release political prisoners, end the practice of criminalizing political dissent and to allow the emigration of Soviet Jews, all changes in Soviet policy that helped end the Cold War. This story is told in the book written together with his Soviet counterpart, Anatoly Adamishin, “Human Rights, Perestroika and the End of the Cold War.” In 1992 Schifter received the Distinguished Service Award of the Secretary of State.
From 1993 to 2001, Schifter served successively as Special Assistant to the President, Counselor and Senior Director on the staff of the United States National Security Council and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State. In appreciation of his work in the Clinton Administration in leading the U.S. effort to organize the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, he was awarded the Austrian Great Golden Decoration with star, the Bulgarian Stara Planina Order, and was designated a Commander of the Order of the Romanian Star.
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Formerly, he served as SPME’s Deputy Director and is an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Forum and co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Dr. Romirowsky got his start in the policy world as a research fellow at the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank headed by scholar Daniel Pipes. Dr. Romirowsky is a former IDF (Israel Defense Forces) International Relations liaison officer in the West Bank and to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Dr. Romirowsky holds a BA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, masters degrees from Villanova University and West Chester University and a doctorate from Kings College London. Dr. Romirowsky publishes widely in the national press as well as in scholarly journals and makes frequent appearances in the media. In addition, to lecturing and teaching to a wide range of audiences and programs around the world. He has traveled widely in Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories.