Pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon, who serves as a watchdog for antisemitic and anti-Zionist activity on social media, this week uncovered two cases of U.N.-employed teachers posting artwork “romanticizing the wave of stabbings by Arabs of Jews in Israel recently.”
In the first instance, highlighted by Elder on Sunday, Lebanese teacher Hiba M. Miari, who apparently is an instructor for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as for Beirut Arab University, updated her cover image to include a cartoon of a man in typical Palestinian demonstrator garb — a plain, long-sleeved shirt and black-and-white Yasser Arafat keffiyeh worn as a balaclava — strumming a serrated knife as if it were a violin with an elongated antique key.
The key is a traditional symbol for the Palestinian struggle to ensure the right of those individuals who fled or were exiled in 1948 to return to their pre-Israel homes, while the knife has seemingly become the arme de choix among Palestinian assailants of Israelis in Jerusalem and the West Bank of late.
“UNRWA teacher Hiba Miari of Lebanon wasted no time to make this ‘artwork’ her Facebook [cover] image,” wrote Elder.
“Will UNRWA discipline her, as they promise to for the many cases like these that I uncover, or will they just silently have the pages removed and cover up the incident, as they have been?” asked the blogger, before adding, “But they don’t care.”
And on Monday, Elder showed UNRWA staffer Souhaib Fayyad with an updated profile picture that featured Facebook’s iconic “thumbs-up” grasping a dagger. Fayyad lives in Gaza.
Additionally, Elder shared: “His main profile image shows rock throwing as well, associating it with the colors of the PLO flag happily proclaiming that ‘the intifada has begun.’”
Last month, the Geneva-based nongovernmental organization U.N. Watch sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing outrage at the lack of vigilance at UNRWA in ensuring that its teachers (the agency employs nearly 25,000) do not incite to violence or racism, as per its own guidelines. The letter read:
UN Watch is gravely concerned that the UN’s special relief agency for Palestinians, which received some $400 million from the U.S. last year in exchange for its signed promise to refrain from supporting terrorism and to uphold neutrality, is nevertheless disseminating crude, anti-Semitic caricatures on the Internet that incite to the murder of Jews. We respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA, and apologize.
UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness responded to a query by The Algemeiner last month that the agency will “always investigate credible reports of neutrality violations by our staff and take appropriate action, including disciplinary action, where violations by UNRWA staff members are established.”
Some recent postings by UNRWA teachers were taken down and the pages closed following exposés on the blog by Elder, whose identity remains obscure.