U.S. taxpayers are enriching Palestinian terrorists

Joel Mowbray has a terrific op-ed piece in the Washington Times today on how the State Department is allowing U.S. funds to go to UNRWA, the UN agency in charge of the Palestinian “refugees,” without proper oversight to make sure the money doesn’t end up in terrorists’ pockets (or Swiss bank accounts).

In U.S. foots the bill for terrorists, Mowbray says:

Through either deliberate neglect or simple ineptitude, the State Department has made U.S. taxpayers complicit in perpetuating the single greatest impediment to Middle East peace: an increasingly radical Palestinian society that despises Israel and embraces terrorism.

Despite multiple government audits and several changes enacted in the law over the past few years, the department still cannot ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not enriching terrorists or underwriting terrorist propaganda in schools across the West Bank and Gaza….

This means in practical terms that many of the Palestinians who are consuming a steady diet of Islamist indoctrination and glorification of violence receive this brainwashing courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. It doesn’t require high-level deductions to predict how badly this wounds – if not kills – any hope for Palestinian society to embrace peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state of Israel.

The State Department has been pushed to change through audits and changes in the law, but is still failing in its duty. Last week the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, issued a report confirming this and recommending changes. Some are so basic that it’s unbelievable they are not already in place, such as “screening the names of UNRWA contractors against lists of individuals and entities of concern to the United States.”

Mowbray reports on some congressional efforts to improve matters. One I didn’t know about is a resolution by Rep. Steven R. Rothman, (D-NJ),

calling for UNRWA to put its textbooks on the Internet for public inspection and for the United States to screen the agency’s payroll for terrorists.

His ultimate goal, he explains, is simple: “Not one penny of U.S. taxpayer dollars should go either directly or indirectly to anyone associated with Hamas or any other terrorist organization. Nor should any go to terrorist propaganda in classrooms.”

Further, a recent “spending bill requires the State Department to propose a plan to increase the transparency and accountability of UNRWA” and sets aside money for an audit of USAID, the foreign aid agency.  But, Mowbray says, the State Department “seems intent on not enforcing the laws passed by Congress.”

The State Department has a long history of favoring Arabs over Jews, and Arab countries over Israel. A couple of days ago I attended a discussion at the Hudson Institute on a newly released book by Ron and Allis Radosh, A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel. The authors related how the State Department again and again sabotaged Truman’s pro-Israel policies during the founding of Israel, even directly embarrassing the president by announcing their own policies as if they were his. They were blatantly on the side of the Arabs, and this bias has continued from that day until this.

Joel Mowbray’s investigative reporting on the issue of the State Department’s failure regarding UNRWA is one reason Congress is now acting on the matter. It will make a big difference to the future of the Middle East if the “cultural swamp,” as Mowbray puts it, can be drained.  Our defunding of radical Islamist, anti-Semitic propaganda would be a good start.

Conference on radical Islam is forced to move to undisclosed location

The New English Review is holding a symposium, “Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America.”  It is in Nashville, and had been scheduled since December to be held May 29 and 30 at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.  That’s today and tomorrow. On Tuesday the hotel cancelled the event for reasons the personnel refused to discuss.

Ken Timmerman looked into the matter and reports at Newsmax:

The manager of a prominent Nashville hotel cancelled a contract with a conservative foundation to hold a conference this weekend on radical Islam, apparently after learning that the group would feature a keynote address by controversial Dutch parliamentarian and filmmaker, Geert Wilders.

….Thomas A. Negri, managing director of Loew’s Vanderbilt Hotel and Office complex in Nashville, told Newsmax on Wednesday that he had taken the extraordinary step of cancelling the conference at the last minute “for the health, safety and well-being of our guests and employees.”

Negri refused to say why he felt the conference would adversely affect the “health, safety and well-being” of the hotel’s guests and employees, except to refer to the website of the New English Review, the group organizing the conference.

It turns out that the reason is certainly ideological. The New English Review publishes articles on radical Islam, and one of the presenters, Jerry Gordon, had written an article about the Somali refugees at the Tyson’s plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee — something we’ve covered extensively.

Negri appeared at a 2003 pro-immigration event on the same dias with a well-known Somali warlord, Gordon told Newsmax.

Negri seems to be deeply involved in pro-immigration and anti-assimilation activities.

Negri also serves on the board of advisors of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, TIRRC, an activist group that states its mission “is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice” and “defend their rights.”

The coalition helped defeat an English-only amendment in Nashville. It won an award from the Migration Policy Institute, which is funded by a foundation involved in left-wing causes.

The New English Review folks found another location for their meeting, which they are not disclosing. We’re big fans of the New English Review, and wish them the best of luck in holding their symposium unmolested. And kudos to the unknown location that allowed them to come at the last minute.