Last week, Israeli forces uncovered an underground Hamas-run data centre beneath the headquarters of a United Nations agency in Gaza City. This discovery was shocking, but sadly not surprising.

The UN agency in question was UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). Over the weekend, the IDF said it had found an entrance to an underground tunnel on the outskirts of the UNRWA’s Gaza City compound, next to an UNRWA-run school, which led to the secret Hamas complex. The data centre reportedly included several computer-server cabinets, an electrical room and industrial batteries to allow the tunnels to run off-grid if necessary. Hamas is said to have used it for intelligence gathering, data processing and communications. There were also meeting rooms and living quarters. The whole complex measured 18 metres deep and 700 metres long.

UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini quickly put out a statement on X denying that his agency had any knowledge of the data centre. He emphasised that UNRWA staff had left its headquarters on 12 October after being given evacuation orders by the Israeli authorities.

Such denials stretch credulity. The Hamas data centre was directly connected to the UNRWA building. UNRWA infrastructure likely supplied the tunnel with electricity and internet. Judging by the sophistication and extent of the tunnel system, it looks as if Hamas had been established there for a long time.

Still, it was already clear that this UN agency cannot be trusted. Not least as it counts numerous Hamas supporters among its ranks. Last month, claims emerged that at least 12 members of UNRWA staff participated in Hamas’s 7 October pogrom, which killed 1,200 people in southern Israel. In response to this revelation, some nations – including the UK, the US and Australia – suspended funding to UNRWA.

It now looks like UNRWA’s Hamas problem goes far deeper than just those alleged 12 individuals. A recent report claims that roughly 10 per cent of its staff in Gaza have links to Hamas. Another says that there is widespread support for Hamas among teachers working in Gaza’s many UNRWA-run schools. These teachers also have a long history of using viciously anti-Semitic textbooks in their classes.

This anti-Israeli fervour pervades the UN. A few days ago, Francesca Albanese, UN special rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, attempted to downplay the 7 October attack. In response to French president Emmanuel Macron’s statement calling the atrocity ‘the largest anti-Semitic massacre of our century’, Albanese wrote on X:

‘The worst anti-Semitic massacre of our century? No, Mr President. The victims of 7/10 were killed not because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression.’

This is an appalling statement. There is no doubt whatsoever that Hamas’s attack was motivated by genocidal anti-Semitism. Albanese’s comments amount to nothing more than vile victim-blaming.

Unfortunately, she is not the only UN official who has effectively blamed Israel for the mass murder and rape of its own civilians. Just a few days after 7 October, UN secretary-general António Guterres announced that ‘this most recent violence does not come in a vacuum’. The implication was that Israel brought this atrocity on itself by its treatment of the Palestinian people.

Even the UN organisations meant to advocate for victims of violence failed to defend those who suffered at the hands of Hamas terrorists. It took UN Womeneight weeks to condemn the extreme sexual violence inflicted by Hamas on Israeli women and girls during the 7 October pogrom.

According to a report by UN Watch, in 2023, the UN General Assembly condemned Israel twice as often as all other UN member states combined. Was Israel really as bad as the other 192 UN members put together? These members include serial human-rights violators, such as Myanmar, China, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Women in Iran have been whipped, tortured, incarcerated and killed just for failing to wear the hijab. Yet in the eyes of the UN, Iran was recently deemed fit to chair a meeting of the Human Rights Council.

The UN’s constant vilification of Israel and its tacit support for groups that seek to destroy it should dispel any notion that it is a neutral broker. Clearly, the UN has picked a side. In a war where Israel is defending itself against genocidal terrorists, the United Nations has chosen the terrorists. For shame.

This article was first published on spiked on Monday.

The aftermath of the 7 October Hamas pogrom in Israel has made the rethinking of anti-Semitism a more urgent task than ever. Both the extent and character of anti-Semitism is changing. Tragically the open expression of anti-Semitic views is once again becoming respectable. It has also become clearer than ever that anti-Semitism is no longer largely confined to the far right. Woke anti-Semitism and Islamism have also become significant forces.

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