Bedein claims that two incidents during Israel’s summer attack on Gaza in which weapons were found in closed and empty UNRWA schools proved that the UN agency for Palestine refugees was helping Hamas.
As Gunness notes, it was UNRWA itself that brought these unprecedented incidents to light and condemned them as a violation of UN “neutrality.”
Moreover, while Bedein presents UNRWA as an agressor against Israel, it was of course Palestinians and UN personnel sheltering from Israeli bombardment in UNRWA schools who were repeatedly shelled and massacred.
So what is Bedein’s attack really about?
As McGill University political science professor Rex Brynen notes, Bedein, an American who settled in Palestine in 1970, has a long history of baseless and “poorly researched attacks against UNRWA, including drawing analogies between the UN humanitarian agency and the mass slaughter of Jews at Auschwitz.”
Bedein has been circulating a video alleging falsely that children in UNRWA-run summer camps are receiving “anti-Semitic indoctrination.”
This film, as Brynen points out in a blog post, includes what amount to fabrications against UNRWA.
It is one of several films Bedein has made attacking the UN agency and demonizing Palestinians. In the video above, Gunness rejects as nonsense the claims made in Bedein’s latest effort UNRWA Goes to War.
Gunness calls the credibility given to the film by Fox “joke journalism on a Noddy network.”
Brynen notes that Bedein co-wrote one of his films, For the Sake of the Nakba, with Samuel Sokol, “an apparent supporter of the violent racist group Kahane Chai (Kach), a designated foreign terrorist organization in the US, Canada, and most other Western countries.”
The Nakba is the name Palestinians give to their forced expulsion from their country by Zionist militias in 1947-48.
Kahane Chai was originally founded as Kach by the late Brooklyn-born Rabbi Meir Kahane who advocated for the expulsion of all Palestinians from their homeland to make room for Jewish settlers.
Brynen published this image of Sokol posing with a gun in front of a flag emblazoned with the Hebrew slogans “We are all Kahane” and “Kahane was right.”
In its response debunking what it called a catalog of “slander and misrepresentation,” I’lam published this image of Sokol in an army uniform, allowing a small child to handle his weapon. This is certainly ironic given the Bedein film’s allegation that it is Palestinians who violently indoctrinate their children.
UNRWA has also thoroughly debunked the Bedein-Sokol co-production.
Targeting refugee rights
It is important to understand that the attacks on UNRWA by Bedein and others are not motivated by simple hatred of Palestinians or the UN, though such sentiments are evident in their constant denigration of both.
Rather, they stem from a persistent theory among many anti-Palestinians that Palestinian refugees exist not because Israel expelled them from their homes and refuses to allow them to return, but because UNRWA itself keeps them in existence by providing health and education services to them in refugee camps.
Dismantling UNRWA, the logic goes, would make the Palestinian refugees disappear along with their troublesome demand to return home, which in the view of Zionists negates Israel’s so-called “right to exist as a Jewish state.”
Much of Bedein’s propaganda, therefore, is aimed at pressuring US lawmakers to cut the American contribution to UNRWA.
Of course the logic that getting rid of UNRWA would eliminate Israel’s Palestinian refugee “problem” makes as much sense as believing that closing down all hospitals would eliminate disease.
The “disease” here is not Palestinians, but the denial of their rights.
When confronted with facts and logic from Gunness, it is no surprise that Bedein flounders.