UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer was interviewed by ILTV about the UN’s new anti-Israel report to the General Assembly in New York. Selections below.
ILTV: Joining me to expand on the U.N.’s anti-Israel report, human rights activist and Executive Director of the UN Watch NGO, Hillel Neuer. Hillel, it’s great to have you with us, thank you so much for joining.
Hillel Neuer: Thank you for having me. This U.N.’s Pillay Commission of Inquiry is objective, impartial, and credible like the Spanish Inquisition.
Bear in mind that this inquiry was created in May 2021 supposedly to examine both sides. Ken Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, who was the leading lobbyist to create this inquiry said, “Finally, there’ll be accountability to examine both sides.”
Well, this is the second report. The first report was several months ago to the Human Rights Council. This is the second report, the first time to the General Assembly, and once again the entire report is only targeting Israel. There is no mention of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad Hamas, the Lion’s Den.. Pick your Palestinian terrorist group, pick the Islamic Republic of Iran – which is funding and financing and arming these groups – no mention whatsoever.
The commission of inquiry includes Navi Pillay, who before being appointed to this inquiry, was signing petitions to governments. She was lobbying governments to “sanction apartheid Israel.” The war was in May 2021, in June, a month later she wrote a letter to President Biden trying to blame Israel for the war. A month later she was appointed to head the Inquiry. She’s the Chair of the Inquiry.
Another member is Miloon Kothari. This summer he ranted about the Jewish lobby. He said Israel shouldn’t be a member of the United Nations, he was condemned by 17 countries, the European Union, for anti-Semitism, the U.N Human Rights Council President, the U.N Secretary General, the U.N Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion condemned Miloon Kothari for anti-Semitism. He’s sitting on this Inquiry.
So look, this is a farce. It doesn’t mean that everything in the report is wrong – there are several items in the report which may be valid, which may be factually true – but the narrative of the report is that Israel is a criminal state, there is no mention of Israeli peace proposals over the years, whether it’s Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert. This is a one-sided report designed to demonize Israel.
ILTV: So Hillel, how does the report justify its findings without adding any of the context that we just discussed, as you said not even mentioning Hamas or rocket fire or Iran or any Palestinian terror group for that matter?
Hillel Neuer: Well I think it’s interesting. Some previous reports, if we look at the Goldstone Report or other similar Commissions of Inquiry by the U.N. Human Rights Council, they would often have several pages, several sections purportedly dealing with Hamas even if these were just to sort of cover themselves and were just a drop in the bucket there would be something. Here they don’t even attempt to do that. I would say it’s shameless. They begin right from the start saying this is about Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and there’s just no mention, no examination whatsoever of thousands of rocket attacks. Again, this Commission of Inquiry was created in the wake of the war between Israel and Hamas, where Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities. There is no mention of those rockets, there’s no mention of terrorism, there’s no mention of stabbings, there’s no mention again of Israeli peace proposals. The narrative is black and white – there is no nuance, there’s no cultivating facts and again they don’t even purport to look at both sides. It’s only at Israel.
And Aaron, the other thing I’ll mention is that Miloon Kothari this summer was condemned for his remarks about the Jewish lobby in an interview he gave with the anti-Israel website Mondoweiss. What people didn’t focus on as much but is worth focusing on is that he gave an hour-long interview. In that interview he described how wonderful it is that this new permanent Commission of Inquiry – which again we compared to the Spanish Inquisition – it has no end and it’s designed to paint Israel as criminals, he talks about how wonderful it is that they’re going to go around the world, meeting with various parliaments to attack Israel. There is no mention in his remarks that they will ever examine the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad. They are Shameless in their bias.
ILTV: So Hillel, Prime Minister Lapid is accusing the report of anti-Semitism and deep bias as you are, he calls on the Commission to be disbanded, and you likewise now have a petition under your NGO to disband the Commission of Inquiry. What are your grounds, perhaps, beyond what you’ve already spoken about just now?
Hillel Neuer: Well look, we’ve drafted a resolution. It’s never happened before but the Human Rights Council as a legislative body created this Commission of Inquiry and it’s the only one that can end this Commission of Inquiry. Bear in mind, virtually all – not all – but virtually all previous Commissions of Inquiry last for six months or a year. They deliver their report and they’re done. This one lasts forever and it is only targeting Israel. If we had seen that there was some semblance of both sides of objectivity, of equal treatment of both sides it could be discussed – but there is none at all. This is the second report, the entire report is targeting Israel, the founding resolution of this Commission. You would imagine that they would look at all sides; they’re not.
So we’re calling for this Commission of Inquiry to be disbanded. The United States led a joint statement in June, at the United Nations, of 22 countries to condemn this Inquiry and it’s time to take action and eliminate it. So what we need is someone to introduce the resolution that we’ve drafted, we have a petition on our website calling on them to take action, so people can go on our website at unwatch.org, they can find the Inquiry and if enough people sign we think we can put pressure on some countries to begin to take action to end this Commission of Inquiry which is a travesty of justice.
That’s why we’re calling to end it. It is an abomination, it’s the opposite of human rights, it’s the opposite of peace and it should be disbanded.