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JERUSALEM — The U.N. World Food Programme and its chief, Cindy McCain, caved to alleged anti-Israel employees within its sprawling international bureaucracy over Israel’s war campaign to root out jihadi terrorists from the Gaza Strip, according to a former member of America’s National Security Council.
Richard Goldberg, who served on the National Security Council during the Trump administration, told Fox News Digital, “Rather than play its traditional role as a responsible mechanism to deliver food assistance, the World Food Program has joined the pro-Hamas chorus, seeking to blame Israel for the actions of Hamas and its sponsors.”
Cindy McCain, the executive director of the specialized U.N. agency, WFP, reportedly faced a staff mutiny because McCain, according to some WFP staff, had not called for a cease-fire in Israel’s war against Hamas, according to a November Devex article. McCain is the wife of the late U.S. senator and presidential candidate John McCain.
According to the Devex report, a representative for WFP’s Cairo office accused McCain of failing to urge a cease-fire and not articulating “alarm at the potential use of food as a weapon of war.” Fox News Digital press queries to WFP’s Cairo office were not returned.
McCain, however, rejected the accusations that she had never urged a cease-fire, according to the article.
“I did sign the cease-fire. I was with everyone else, all the other U.N. agencies,” she said. Devex obtained a leaked video recording of the meeting with McCain.
BIDEN CALLS ON WORLD TO CONDEMN HAMAS SEXUAL VIOLENCE, BLAMES TERROR GROUP FOR COLLAPSE OF CEASE-FIRE
The United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain issued an urgent plea from the Rafah border crossing for safe, expanded humanitarian access to Gaza on Oct. 25, 2023. (United Nations via Reuters Connect)
Goldberg, who serves as a senior adviser to the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, criticized McCain, hinting that she’d been won over by the U.N. bureaucracy: “Where was Cindy McCain to condemn Hamas for breaking the cease-fire last week? Where is McCain’s call for Hamas to surrender to end the conflict quickly or to demand Egypt open its border to help the agency fulfill its mission? It’s sad to see her succumb to internal pro-Hamas pressure.”
Fox News Digital sent numerous emails and made several telephone calls to the WFP’s offices in New York and Washington, but by press time had not received a response.
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A World Food Programme truck is loaded to deliver aid into Gaza. (United Nations via Reuters Connect)
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “The U.N. World Food Program has played a crucial role in the international community’s efforts to respond to global food insecurity, and the United States, as its largest contributor, is deeply invested in its continuing success.”
The spokesperson continued, “The United States commends WFP’s efforts to assist civilian victims of this conflict, including staff on the ground putting their lives at risk to provide life-saving aid under the most challenging circumstances.”
However, the State Department spokesperson added, “At the same time, we expect, have urged, and will continue to demand that U.N. agencies review any allegations of bias, investigate them, and take corrective action when needed.” The U.S. is the single largest financial contributor to the WFP.
BIDEN ADMIN ACCUSED OF AIDING PALESTINIAN ‘PAY FOR SLAY’ AS TERRORISTS PROFIT IN HAMAS DEAL, EXPERTS CLAIM
Palestinians loot a truck with humanitarian aid near the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip on Nov. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
Asked about the alleged anti-Israel bias at the WPF, Lior Haiat, the spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told Fox News Digital that “U.N. employees are supposed to be objective and impartial. It is unacceptable that the national identity of U.N. workers will dictate the policies of U.N. organizations. This illustrates the deep need for reform in the U.N., for more diversity in its employees.”
In addition to their other criticisms, WFP staffers also reportedly claimed McCain with violating the agency’s neutrality by attending and participating in the John McCain Leadership in Public Service award. The award was presented to an active reserve officer in the Israel Defense Forces in the name of the people of the Jewish state. The same Devex article noted that the WFP employees told McCain “Your attendance was a clear breach of neutrality, a principle that is enshrined in the international civil service and WFP’s code of conduct.”
U.N. and Israel flags (Getty Images)
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McCain reportedly fired back, noting that she “sat on the sidelines” of the award event, adding, “I was there merely as a woman who was married to my late husband for 40 years and who supports his legacy. That is all. I remain neutral.”
According to the WFP’s website, it is the world’s largest humanitarian organization with an international staff of over 23,000 and a presence in more than 120 countries. The WFP was the recipient of the Noble Peace Prize in 2020.
Fox News’ Emily Robertson and Reuters contributed to this report.
Benjamin Weinthal reports on Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Europe. You can follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal.