On September 29, 2023, The Boissevain Recorder of Manitoba published a letter from CJPME’s Jason Toney in response to an article written by Paul Rayner, ”Blind Leading the Blind.” Amidst Rayner’s sweeping critique of the United Nations, he writes:
Organizations like UNWRA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], which was set up to help Palestinian refugees, worked to keep the Middle East conflict alive so they could keep collecting salaries.
In response to the suspect claim, Toney writes:
Where’s the evidence?
Certain critics have commented that UNRWA ‘perpetuates the conflict’ in the past decades, but the argument has no teeth. UNRWA, founded in 1949, is a humanitarian relief agency with a mandate provided by the United Nations General Assembly. Its budget is spent on education, health care, and general support services for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
UNRWA is mandated to exist until a just and durable solution is found for Palestinians. It does not have a specific prescription of what a solution should look like.
If Rayner and his rhetorical allies mean that UNRWA perpetuates the conflict by literally keeping thousands, if not millions, of Palestinians alive, then sure, the argument stands — but I sense that is not the author’s point.
The print version of the letter is available in the September 29 edition of The Recorder.