Over 1,600 members of the UN Watch community from 31 countries around the world joined the first-ever UN Watch Online Gala on November 1 where it was a privilege to hear phenomenal and powerful speeches from distinguished honorees Shaparak Shajarizadeh and Bari Weiss.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer hosted the event direct from UN Watch headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, recounting how UN Watch had made world headlines by calling out the absurd election of China, Russia, Cuba, and Pakistan to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Neuer updated attendees on some of UN Watch’s activities over the past few months, including:
- When the UNHRC brought the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement into the world body, by blacklisting companies operating in Israel’s disputed regions, UN Watch submitted the sole rebuttal.
- When Uruguay voted in September for an Iranian-backed UN resolution that singled out Israel as the world’s only alleged violator of women’s rights, UN Watch’s protest led to the Foreign Minister of Uruguay apologizing for the vote — and actually firing his director-general for political affairs.
- In the last three sessions of the Human Rights Council, UN Watch led the world in relentlessly exposing China’s incarceration of 1 million Uighurs in camps, atrocities by Venezuela and repression by Cuba, provoking sharp reactions in the chamber by each of their delegates.
Tribute was paid to Ambassador Alfred Moses, who has served as Chair of UN Watch for the past two decades, and who will become Chair Emeritus on January 1st, while distinguished board member Philippe Peress was congratulated on his unanimous election as the next Chair of UN Watch. A dramatic video of UN Watch’s many achievements over the past year was also screened, which will be posted online soon.
Morris B. Abram Award Winner Shaparak Shajarizadeh
Courageous Iranian women’s rights activist Shaparak Shajarizadeh, who was jailed and beaten in Iran for removing her headscarf in public protest, was presented with the Morris B. Abram Award.
Shaparak recounted her extraordinary story of courage in standing against the oppressive Iranian regime and issued an appeal to the world:
Enough is enough. The UN must stop rewarding abusers. Instead, the UN needs to condemn Iran, punish the Rouhani regime, and expose its transgressions to the world.
I appeal to the UN, and to politicians and ordinary people around the globe, to stand in solidarity with human rights defenders in Iran, and with the Iranian people, to challenge the oppressive regime. We really need your support.
Per Ahlmark Award Winner Bari Weiss
Journalist Bari Weiss, who made international news when she resigned her position at the New York Times, received the Per Ahlmark Award, in recognition of her moral courage and eloquence in defending the principles of democracy and in combating antisemitism.
In her keynote speech, Weiss exposed the truth behind the New York Times’s capitulation to the new ideology that threatens to replace the liberalism underpinning our democracy, and inspired us with her principled exit from the pinnacle of her profession:
At the Times, if you do not profess allegiance to this new ideology, you are suspect, your character and your work scrutinized and put to a crazy double standard. Bullying in theory is wrong, but bullying the right people? That’s ok. Diversity and inclusion: yes! Just not for some people.
The ascension of this ideology—and my obvious lack of true belief in it—meant that I could no longer do the job that I was hired to do.
So I had an important choice to make: stay and become a kind of half version of myself. Or leave so I could do what I came to do in the first place—pursue the truth in a moment of incredible importance for this country. Leave knowing I was going to lose some things but with the belief that I would gain infinitely more for having walked away.
In anticipation of a funding shortfall in the wake of COVID-19, our Online Gala sought to raise $500,000 to ensure the continuation of our critical activities. Not only did we reach our target, but we raised close to an astounding $700,000. Thank you all for your outstanding support.
If you haven’t already, consider making an investment in our future. It’s still not too late to contribute to UN Watch’s vital mission and help us do even more to combat anti-Israel prejudice and defend human rights for all.