Congressman Chip Roy leads house effort to cut funding to anti-Israel U.N. office

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) formally introduced The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Accountability and Transparency Act to stop the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to this body with a rampant history of anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda and activity.

UNRWA’s lengthy and detailed history of promoting anti-Semitism, violence, and terrorism through “educational” materials, and its continued ties to Hamas, should completely disqualify this corrupt entity from receiving any  U.S. taxpayer funding,” Rep. Roy explained of the legislation. “UNRWA has failed to meet previous commitments to stop its hostility towards Israel, and it is an obstacle to peace. Israel is one of our greatest allies and closest friends; we cannot say we truly stand with them while helping prop up a corrupt organization like this. If our actions do not match our words, then our word means nothing.

UNRWA has a long history of employing those affiliated with Hamas, and UNRWA schools have been used to store Hamas weapons and promote anti-Semitic propaganda. The Trump Administration rightfully cut off US funding to UNRWA in 2018. Unfortunately, the Biden administration reversed that decision and has already funneled millions of dollars into this corrupt organization.

Senator Risch (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduce the Senate companion to this bill on Wednesday.

“I am proud to once again partner with Senator Risch to put an end to the Biden Administration’s reckless decision to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to this corrupt body,” Rep. Roy concluded.

Sen. Risch had the following to say:

“When UNRWA was created, its specific purpose was to provide relief for refugees of the 1948 Arab-Israeli Conflict. More than 70 years later, the organization has employed individuals affiliated with Hamas, a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO), and its schools have been used to promote anti-Semitism and store Hamas weapons. It is unacceptable that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund this agency, which is why I’ve introduced legislation to cease U.S. contributions to UNRWA unless the administration can certify without a doubt that the agency has no affiliation with U.S. designation FTOs and does not support anti-Semitic rhetoric. The American people deserve better, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on holding both the administration and UNRWA accountable until meaningful reforms are made.”

Joining Rep. Roy and Sen. Risch in cosponsoring the legislation were Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) along with Reps. Brian Babin (TX-36), Greg Steube (FL-17), Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Tom McClintock (CA-5), Dan Bishop (NC-8), Dan Crenshaw (TX-2), Scott Perry (PA-10), Randy Weber (TX-14), Nancy Mace (SC-1), Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Warren Davidson (OH-8), George Santos (NY-3), Mike Ezell (MS-4), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Matt Gaetz (FL-1), Tom Tiffany (WI-7), Bill Johnson (OH-6), Keith Self (TX-3), Bill Posey (FL-8), David Kustoff (TN-8), Mary Miller (IL-15), Barry Moore (AL-2), Andy Ogles (TN-5), and Kat Cammack (FL-3).

The bill would require serious reforms of the UNRWA before President Biden directs any U.S. taxpayer dollars to this organization. Specifically, Biden administration would need to certify that:

  • No UNRWA employee is a member of a terrorist organization like Hamas or Hezbollah, or has advanced terrorist activity, or propagated anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric
  • No UNRWA infrastructure or resource is being used by terrorist organizations
  • UNRWA is subject to a comprehensive financial audit and has implemented a system of vetting and oversight to prevent any diversion of UNRWA resources to terrorist organizations
  • No UNRWA school or facility uses textbooks or other educational materials to disseminate anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric
  • No recipient of UNRWA funds is a member or affiliate of a foreign terrorist organization
  • UNRWA holds no affiliations with financial institutions that the United States deems or believes to be complicit in financing terrorism

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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