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Risch: U.S. Must Stop Funding Anti-Semitic UNRWA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):

“It is well known that UNRWA has a history of employing people connected to terrorist movements like Hamas, promoting anti-Semitic material in its textbooks, and allowing Hamas to use its schools to store weapons. U.S. taxpayer dollars should never be used to help fund such a corrupt organization. The Biden Administration argued that resuming funding for UNRWA would force necessary reforms. However, almost two years later, progress on reforms has been woefully inadequate.

“For years, I have advocated for legislation to help reform UNRWA and address these chronic problems. I will continue to do everything I can to hold the administration accountable and prevent U.S. funds from supporting organizations like UNRWA, which promote anti-Semitism.”

  • In April 2022, Senator Risch led 20 colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the administration to cease assistance to UNRWA until critical reforms are secured.
  • In May 2022, Senator Risch questioned the nominee for assistant secretary of State for international organization affairs at a full committee hearing where he outlined his specific concerns regarding the administration’s decision to resume funding to UNRWA.
  • In July 2022, Senator Risch led 12 colleagues in introducing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Accountability and Transparency Act.
  • In February 2023, Senator Risch led 13 colleagues in reintroducing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Accountability and Transparency Act.