Jewish Council of Australia says not all Jews agree on UNRWA funding withdrawal
The Jewish Council of Australia today expressed concern about the pausing of funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) given revelations about the lack of evidence
February 9, 2024

The Jewish Council of Australia today expressed concern about the revelation that Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Penny Wong, did not have sufficient evidence about allegations against staff at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) before pausing funding. 

The Jewish Council is troubled that so-called Jewish representative organisations are campaigning against UNRWA funding in the name of all Jews in Australia when there is no consensus among Jews on this issue.

The Australian Government halted funding to the agency which delivers aid to Gaza after the Israeli government alleged that as many as 12 staff members were involved in the 7 October attacks. The Australian Government is one of 9 countries to halt funding. The allegations were made the day after the International Court of Justice found that there was a plausible case of genocide against Israel. 

Britain’s Channel 4 has investigated the dossier presented to the UN by Israel regarding UNRWA staff and found that there was ‘no evidence’ to support the claims.

Sarah Schwartz - Executive Officer of the Jewish Council of Australia:

“Minister Wong’s admission that she did not have all the evidence regarding the allegations against UNRWA before deciding to pull funding indicates that decisions on life and death matters for Gazans are not being made rationally by the Australian Government.”

“The allegations against UNRWA staff must be independently investigated. However, the decision to pause funding amounts to collective punishment of Palestinians. The Australian Government has a duty to ensure that the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice against Israel are implemented, including that Israel ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.

“Many Jews around Australia are appalled by this decision in the midst of worsening conditions in Gaza. It is dangerous for politicians to attribute the decision to pull funding to requests from ‘the Jewish community’ or unsubstantiated allegations of ‘antisemitism’. Politicians must not get away with justifying horrendous decisions like this by referring to some right-wing Jewish leaders as representative of all Jews.”

Media contact:
0493 970 412

READ: As Jews, we don’t accept that criticism of Israel’s government is antisemitic

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