On the surface, it appeared as if Kal Penn committed a noble deed.
This week, Penn won the “MasterChef Celebrity Countdown” contest in a Fox TV special, securing a $25,000 donation for a charity of his choice. The Hollywood celebrity decided to give the cash to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Penn, best known for playing Kumar in the “Harold & Kumar” stoner movie comedies, previously served in President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement. A committed leftist like the rest of Hollywood, Penn often articulates his political views on social media.
Though UNRWA postures itself as a simple relief agency for Palestinian refugees, its presence in the Middle East has actually worsened the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead of solving the Palestinian territorial crisis, UNRWA has helped to move it into perpetuity.
Originally, the United Nations organization only recognized 750,000 Palestinians as “refugees.” But the U.N. has expanded the definition for Palestinian refugees to include original refugees’ children and grandchildren, which has expanded the total to above 5 million. This puts Palestinians in a refugee league of their own.
The U.N.’s other refugee agency, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), does not allow other refugees to pass down their status to their kids and grandkids. And also unlike UNHCR, UNRWA does not promote resettling their “refugees” into countries that might be willing to take them in. Instead, they keep Palestinians in an endless state of dependency, with an ever-growing roster.
Worse, the Relief and Works Agency has essentially embedded itself with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. UNRWA has employed actual terrorists and Nazi sympathizers, and uses its U.N.-funded schools to push false, exterminationist, anti-Semitic narratives about Jews and Israel.
The U.N. outfit has been caught several times stockpiling missiles for Hamas in children’s schools, and the agency’s construction materials sometimes end up in Hamas’ homemade tunnels, which are used to infiltrate Israel and commit terror attacks.
The United States remains the top contributor to UNRWA. In 2015, the U.S. taxpayers contributed $380 million toward the agency’s projects.
By all indications, Kal Penn, like UNRWA, is not a big fan of the state of Israel.
In 2014, as Israel was under bombardment from Hamas rockets, Penn vented his frustrations with U.S. policy. He disagreed with the rearming of Israel in its battle with Palestinian terrorism. Penn took to Twitter, writing: “Wow, guess we're not serious about a ceasefire.”
Wow, guess we're not serious about a ceasefire. "U.S. Gives Israel More Grenades & Mortar Rounds for Gaza Offensive"http://t.co/qZ1YlACq4q— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) July 31, 2014
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel