Video: UNRWA’s Chris Gunness demolishes anti-Palestinian activist on Fox

This is a video of UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness absolutely demolishing anti-Palestinian activist David Bedein on Fox News.

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.

Kahanist ties

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.”

Samuel Sokol with guns and Kahane flag.

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 2009, Bedein and Sokol jointly authored a hit piece on the I’lam Media Center, a Nazareth-based nonprofit organization founded by Palestinian journalists in present-day Israel.

David Bedein’s co-author Samuel Sokol allows a child to handle his weapon.

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.

The armed and dangerous Sokol now revels in the title of “Jewish world” reporter for The Jerusalem Post, where he has continued to write Nakba denialist tracts.

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.

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Comments

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The quick clip on Fox of the "interview" with a child struck me that what the child was saying referred not to the destruction of Israel but the throwing out of the Occupier. The child was speaking out of his people's context of being Occupied and wanting to throw that off. Anybody finding themselves in that context, I would assume, would be saying the same. Yet this is taken out of context and twisted around as if the occupied are the occupier. It has nothing to do with crushing Israel, it has to do with getting Israel's boot off their neck.

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It's good to see him stand his ground. I don't think Fox News will be asking him back any time soon.
And I agree with Richard about the Nakba, although I would prefer to see the denial of the Holocaust decriminalized. History should be debated amongst historians, and not dictated by politicians.

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I hate it when a so called journalist like this lady interrupts all the time the well-documented and credible person speaking in the name of Palestinians and obviously takes sides with the Sionists, even trying to explain their comments to the person who knows quite well these types of lies relentlessly and shamelessly repeated to the face of the world.

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Zionists simply cannot accept any show of humanity toward their captive Palestinians. You can see the fury on his face when he tells his lies about UNRWA. His attitude and that of Fox News is to be expected. What was pleasing was to see both of them taken down by the UNRWA spokesperson.

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wow, targeting UNRWA for helping refugees survive is REALLY clear in its goal: FINISH the ETHNIC CLEANSING.
it is shameful how many Americans are proudly contributing to this genocide.
I wonder if the settler who ran over the two children in Hebron last week were Americans, too. so shameful.

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i very much understand that the arab people of the middle east should make a firm action against the developments over the last few years which have seen more palestinian lives lost than the previous 20years. therefore, the compass should be focused towards eding the occupation of palestine which more noble than the revolutions which have made people live in hollow dreams. there has to be more than the condemnations and the money poured only after the disasters occur and the sacrifices made. there will not be any sudden change but the Arabs collectively have a very econoimic power that has been used to build towers of wealth among poor poeple which has created more fracture in society than there was when they did not have this prescious gem. The palestinian cause has gained momentum where nobody expected places, like the united states which held of the biggest anti war protests, and more significantly the numberof jewish rabbis who took part and also in britiain where the parliamnt recently gave the right to statehood to Palestine, albeit not compulsory. there are voices all over the world rising because they could not live with the onslaught on palestinians for over a month which spread like wildfire in social media sites. the people in gaza where calling for help from anyone because they saw famliiles dead parts roting in their homes. with all the disasters in the world, the *Gaza* situation is the most cruel because its the result fo humans not speaking against injustice leaading to the aggressors to think that they are right.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.