It’s easy to think ill of the United Nations.  With its tremendous promise, vast expense, and inability to manage expectations; it’s hard for anyone in UN service to breathe without disappointing someone.  In the Middle East, where reputations go to die, this is perhaps especially the case.

Queues of Palestinians getting big white sacks of flour with blue UN logos, Rafah Camp, Gaza Strip.

Palestinians receive their monthly food aid at a United Nations distribution center (UNRWA) in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on July 31, 2014 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

So when my colleague Ari Krauss wrote about the UN agency that has done so much to make Palestinians’ lives what they are today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), it was not remarkable that he was harsh.

Recent disciplinary action against UNRWA staffers for publishing incitement to violence against Israelis from UN-identified accounts have made the UN body no less a target for criticism, only a few weeks after another Times of Israel opinion piece on a similar subject which repeated ideas that came from UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in yet another recent Times of Israel opinion piece.

It was, therefore, very interesting to see Canadian politics professor Rex Brynen take a close look at Ari’s piece.  This is important not only because Prof Brynen was able to write with some helpful facts at hand, but also because he interacts with UNRWA as an organisation and with UNRWA’s clients rather more than most people who write in these pages.

Nobody makes friends in Israel by sticking up for UNRWA, so it’s very useful that, in this article, Prof Brynen did, without letting UNRWA off the hook.