In the past 72 hours, a United Nations organization was exposed for its connections to the Hamas terrorist organization, and three American soldiers were killed by an Iran-backed organization.
And both terror-supporting groups have received millions of dollars thanks to U.S. policies advocated by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
When President Joe Biden took office, one of his first foreign policy moves was to restore taxpayer funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which President Donald Trump had halted. At the time, critics pointed to evidence UNRWA was working with Hamas and distributing antisemitic propaganda in Gaza.
Biden ignored those reports. But on Jan. 26, he was forced to “temporarily pause additional funding for UNRWA” after evidence emerged that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
“U.S. taxpayer dollars helped cover the paychecks for some of the perpetrators of the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust,” said David May with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “Support for terrorism among UNRWA employees isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.”
When Trump stopped funding UNRWA, Shaheen signed a letter expressing her “strong opposition” and calling for the $200 million tax dollars to be restored. And just six months ago, Shaheen celebrated her success in getting $3.6 billion into the foreign operations budget—a $174 million year-to-year increase. That included “robust support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).”
This is after widespread reporting at the time of UNRWA employees publicly praising Hamas, UNRWA teachers using schoolbooks teaching antisemitism and promoting anti-Israel violence, and UNRWA staffers going on strike in support of Hamas.
And then there’s Iran.
On Sunday, the Biden administration announced “radical Iran-backed militant groups” killed three American soldiers and wounded some two dozen more in a drone strike. They were the first deaths in the region since the conflict began last autumn, but it was far from the first attack. American troops in Iraq and Syria have been targeted over 158 times since October, all carried out by groups sponsored by or affiliated with Iran.
And Shaheen has repeatedly backed Obama and Biden policies allowing cash to flow to Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime.
In 2015, she was part of the Democratic minority that saved Obama’s Iran deal. The Obama administration arranged for a plane to secretly deliver $400 million in cash to the Islamist regime.
While Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran deal — over Shaheen’s public objections — Biden took office pledging to return to the Obama-era policy. He has allowed millions in sanctions relief to flow to the Islamic Republic over the past three years, money that made its way to the terrorist group that killed Americans this weekend.
Richard Goldberg, a defense expert and former U.S. National Security Council staffer, recently described the Biden Iran policy this way:
“Biden removed the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, rescinded the American snapback of U.N. sanctions at the Security Council, relaxed sanctions to free up cash for Iran to pay some debts and increase oil exports to China, pulled European allies back from censuring Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, and allowed Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria to attack U.S. forces with near impunity.”
All with Shaheen’s support.
New Hampshire’s senior senator is unusually situated to impact U.S. policy toward UNRWA, Hamas, and Iran. Not only does she sit on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, where intelligence is reviewed and defense policy debated, but she also sits on the Appropriations Committee, where the tax dollars are spent.
But rather than slowing the flow of dollars to UNRWA or Iran, Shaheen has been an advocate. She has also declined to cosponsor the UNRWA Accountability and Transparency Act.
And Shaheen is one of just a dozen senators currently supporting a bill making it harder for the Biden administration to provide arms transfers to Israel.
“The administration has utilized waivers allowing it to bypass congressional review for recent arms sales to Israel, prompting outrage from progressives,” Jewish Insider reports.
Shaheen has declined to respond to repeated requests for comment.
But while Shaheen has remained silent on the UNRWA scandal, her fellow Republicans are speaking out.
“Today’s news further underscores that UNRWA is an irredeemable organization that plays a critical role in Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure,” Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) said. “Biden should have never reversed the Trump administration’s decision to cut off U.S. support of UNRWA.”
On Sunday, Shaheen posted a statement on social media about the deadly Iran-backed attack:
“I send my deepest condolences to the families of our fallen service members and wish a full, fast recovery for all those injured in this attack. I will keep monitoring the situation closely—and ensure that those responsible for attacks on our military are held accountable.”
(c) 2024 New Hampshire Journal
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