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Defunding UNRWA Is A Good Start, But We Should Scrutinize All Foreign Aid

It’s time we take a common-sense approach in how we spend money abroad, starting with the United Nations and its various agencies.

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What if you found out that a local charity, one to which you are currently donating money, was actually using that cash to turn around to violently rob your closest friends and neighbors, commit arson, rape, and even murder among other despicable acts? What if you found out they were undermining your family’s well-being while sticking up for known lawbreakers? Wouldn’t you stop giving them money?

Of course. Any reasonable person would. It is time America started embracing the same common-sense approach in how we spend money abroad, starting with the United Nations and its various agencies.

Look at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East — more commonly known by its acronym, UNRWA. While the group portrays itself as a United Nations agency meant to help refugees with “primary and vocational education, primary health care, relief and social services, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency response,” recent events have ripped its mask off and left U.S. policymakers with a clear moral and strategic imperative: defund it.

Earlier this year, information surfaced alleging at least a dozen UNRWA “aid” workers took part in the brutal Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. Their contracts were reportedly terminated. Then Israeli Defense Forces found Hamas tunnels running right underneath UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza City. 

This comes as little surprise to some of us. Even before the current war, UNRWA’s true allegiance and aims have been hiding in plain sight for years. Speaking of tunnels, a Hamas terror tunnel was discovered under a UNRWA school back in 2017. UNRWA teachers have been known for inciting violence and hatred against Jews. The group has been publicly called out for keeping antisemitism in its textbooks despite pledging otherwise. In fact, the U.S. State Department itself determined in a 2021 report that the group had continued to incite antisemitic violence and hatred despite a massive influx of cash to fix the issue.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant calls the organization “Hamas with a facelift.” Given what we know, it’s hard to argue. As a result, several countries, including the United States, suspended their funding in light of the controversy. Congress went a step further and defunded the agency in its most recent spending package, which is one of the few positives of that $1.2 trillion monstrosity.

However, given the long-standing American policy of self-defeating self-sacrifice that has sustained UNRWA’s funding for so long, Congress would be wise to prohibit funds from ever going to the agency again via statute.

But while cutting off UNRWA’s funding is a good start, we cannot stop there. We need to apply the same kind of scrutiny to the rest of our United Nations spending.

There is something obscene about an organization that treats as equals the representatives of free, rights-respecting countries and those of authoritarian or even totalitarian regimes. What does the relatively free world in America, Europe, or Asia, have in common with the warmongers, the oppressors like Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba? Look no further than the facts that Iran, one of the world’s worst human rights abusers, currently heads its so-called “human rights” council. At the same time, and unsurprisingly, this council, and the UN as a whole, has historically dedicated itself to disproportionately attacking Israel.

And make no mistake, they would do the same to the United States if not for our veto power. 

The United States has nothing to gain, and much to lose, from lending credence and financial support to such an organization — an organization whose history and performance make it much more suited to be headquartered in Caracas or Moscow than in New York City. This is but one example of the nature of American foreign policy over the last few decades — one geared toward appeasement and self-sacrifice for the sake of our enemies, and divorced from our interests and espoused beliefs.

America must learn to reject self-sacrifice as a basis of our foreign policy. If individual Americans want to engage in charity toward organizations or individuals in foreign lands, they are free to do so. It is not and should never be the role of the U.S. government to do so.  

Rather, America should orient its foreign policy to a single goal: protecting American lives, property, and vital interests. We should stand against our enemies. We should morally support our allies and protect our citizens’ interests. 

In such a world, U.S. foreign aid would be a tiny fraction of what it is, and many of our troops would be home. Our enemies should fear us, all others should respect us, but Americans would be safe. Permanently defunding UNRWA will by no means achieve all of these ends, but it is a good start, and we must continue the work with all due haste.


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