State Department Hire Who Ran UN Terrorist Textbook Program Also Spoke at Anti-Israel Conference

Jerusalem Fund panel members defended Hamas and called for 'de-Zionization' of Israel

Elizabeth Campbell / C-SPAN
March 15, 2022

A recent State Department hire who helped run a United Nations program that distributed pro-terrorist textbooks also spoke at an anti-Israel conference alongside apologists for Hamas and an activist who called for the "de-Zionization" of Israel.

Elizabeth Campbell, who was hired as deputy assistant secretary of state for refugee issues last month, was a speaker at the 2019 annual conference for the Jerusalem Fund, a Palestinian advocacy group that has promoted Hamas militants and opposes the Jewish state.

She spoke on a panel with prominent Israel-bashers, including author Max Blumenthal—who has defended Hamas attacks on Israel and wrote a book comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany—and boycott, divestment, and sanctions supporter Randa Farah.

The event could add to concerns about Campbell's hiring, which drew criticism after the Washington Free Beacon reported on her prior role as Washington, D.C., director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees last week. During her time as director, UNRWA-run schools in the Palestinian territories used pro-terrorist and anti-Israel textbooks, leading the Trump administration to cut its funding and the European Parliament to officially condemn the group for teaching "hate speech and violence."

Campbell spoke on a panel at the Jerusalem Fund conference called "Liquidating Right of Return, UNRWA, U.S., and Israeli Policies," where she defended UNRWA and argued for the United States to restore its funding.

Blumenthal boasted during the discussion that the U.S. ambassador to Israel referred to him as "one of the worst anti-Semites in the world," which Blumenthal called "a badge of honor." He also slammed "liberal Zionism" and accused Israel of "apartheid."

Farah denounced Israel as a "racist state" and criticized the two-state solution as a "romantic illusion and delusion." She argued that Israel should be required to undergo "de-Zionization" through Palestinian refugee immigration.

"The Zionist urgency to maintain a Jewish majority is the reason for Israel's systematic attempt to de-legitimize any institution, organization, [or] movement that constantly invokes the right of return and the idea that Palestinians exist as a people," said Farah. "If you focus on the right of return, it means that it's automatically, it's the de-Zionization of the state. It's like taking away the racist basis of the Zionist state."

Campbell, who spoke third on the panel after Blumenthal and Farah, thanked the Jerusalem Fund for inviting her and said the prior panelists were "very complementary to what we're going to talk about today." She slammed the Trump administration's decision to defund UNRWA as "sheer politics." Her remarks did not mention concerns from the United States and E.U. over the textbooks in the organization’s schools.

The panel followed a keynote address by anti-Israel professor Joseph Massad, who defended Hamas terrorism as the only way to stop the Trump administration's attempts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The only thing standing in [the deal's] way is the ongoing Palestinian resistance to Israeli settler colonialism and racism that continues inside Israel in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza" said Massad, including the "armed resistance of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam to Israeli invasions in Gaza." The al-Qassam brigade is the military wing of Hamas.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Campbell serves as deputy assistant secretary at the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The bureau oversees UNRWA funding and is supposed to be monitoring the organization's reform of its textbook and curriculum program.

A study last year by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education found widespread anti-Semitism, anti-Israel bias, and glorification of terrorism in textbooks used in UNRWA's schools. A report commissioned by the European Union in 2019 showed similar findings.

The textbooks promoted conspiracy theories, including claims that Jews falsified ancient artifacts to make it look like they have historical claims to Jerusalem holy sites, and that "Zionists" poison Palestinians by dumping radioactive material in the West Bank, according to the studies. Israel was also omitted from world maps, and was referred to as "The Enemy" and "the Zionist Occupation."