The Israel Institute of New Zealand is calling on the New Zealand government to stop funding hate and incitement. Co-director, Dr David Cumin says

“A recent EU-funded report has shown what has been clear for decades: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Palestinian Authority- and Hamas-controlled areas teach children to hate and incite violence.

New Zealand has unquestioningly funded this racist and dangerous curriculum for decades, spending more than $1m each year on it. It is time for that to stop.”

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, has told the Israel Institute that “If NZ taxpayer funds are being used to publish antisemitic textbooks, this would place NZ in breach of its international human rights obligations.” The latest study of the textbooks shows that this is exactly what is taking place.

The report states the textbooks present “ambivalent – sometimes hostile – attitudes towards Jews and the characteristics they attribute to the Jewish people…. Frequent use of negative attributions in relation to the Jewish people… suggest a conscious perpetuation of anti-Jewish prejudice, especially when embedded in the current political context.”

The United States has most recently recognised the issue, with Secretary Blinken saying he is focussed on reform of the organisation. However, New Zealand officials have never condemned UNRWA. Dr Cumin says this is just another sign of antagonism from MFAT:

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have previously tried to justify the funding of antisemitism in UNRWA schools. It was only when we started asking hard questions that they decided to brief the Minister.

New Zealand is the only Western country to have divested public funds from Israeli banks and our voting record at the United Nations against Israel is more like Iran or Saudi Arabia than Australia or Canada.

But actively spending taxpayer money on incitement to violence taught to children is abhorrent.”