Mostly Good News From UNRWA

I just got an email from Kimberly Mann from the UN in response to my letter requesting that UNRWA clarify its stance on whether or not the Holocaust aught to be taught to Palestinian teenagers as part of their human rights curriculum.  Ms. Mann wrote, “As you know, the Secretary-General condemns Holocaust denial and has spoken in favour of Holocaust education.”

She also included an interview with UNRWA’s Director of Operations, John Ging, by The Independent.  The interview seems pretty good with Ging mostly being on the pro-Holocaust education side.  I was already aware of this interview and approved of Ging’s words, but Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy noted that Ging’s listing of the “Nakba” (the Palestinian exodus and creation of the State of Israel in 1948) as being among the “globally accepted facts” equatable to the reality of the Holocaust and the heliocentric theory of the solar system may have been inappropriate.

I think Satloff might be nitpicking here.  I do not deny the reality of the Palestinian exodus and neither does Satloff.  I do, however, deny that the creation of the State of Israel was a “catastrophe” (the literal translation of the Arabic word “nakba”).  The larger point that Satloff doesn’t mention is that Ging appears to treat the Holocaust as the “Jewish Nakba” or the events of 1948 as the “Palestinian Holocaust.” I do not know if UNRWA intends to teach the Holocaust in this way, but nobody except the extremely ignorant or willfully dishonest could say that the Holocaust and the events of 1948 belong are morally, legally, or historically equivalent.

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