Video Going Viral: UN Watch director confronts U.N. investigator at the podium Egyptian chair rebukes: “I can’t thank you; you need to respect this council more”
CNSNEWS | June 13, 2017
By Patrick Goodenough
An NGO representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council suggested Monday that incitement by Islamic preachers may bear a greater responsibility for Palestinian violence against women than Israeli occupation, to the evident displeasure of the session’s Egyptian chairman.
Skipping the standard protocol of thanking each speaker before moving onto the next one, Amr Ramadan told U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, “I would like to say thank you, but I can’t – because I think that you need to respect this council more in the next days.”
Egypt’s mission to the U.N. in Geneva did not respond to queries by press time about the reason for Ramadan’s indignation.
It came after U.N. Watch challenged a report by a U.N. expert on violence against women, Dubravka Simonovic, which recurrently implied links between the Israeli occupation of disputed territories and the way Palestinian men treat women.
Noting that Simonovic’s report referred to a “clear linkage between the prolonged [Israeli] occupation and violence against [Palestinian] women,” Neuer asked her where the data was to back up the claim, as it did not appear in the report, he said.
He said she was essentially saying that, “When Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault.”
“Is it right to continue infantilizing Palestinians, such that when a man in Ramallah beats his wife, we encourage him to say ‘Israel made me do it’?”
Neuer asked Simonovic, a Croatian diplomat, why the report did not include comparable data on violence against women in other Arab societies (that is, where occupation is not a factor.)
He also asked why the report had not explored in detail other possible influences.
“You make a passing reference to the influence of ‘tradition and culture,’” he said. “Do you mean Palestinian, Arab or Muslim tradition? You don’t say which, and don’t seem to be interested in this key factor in the Middle East.”
“Why did you fail to mention that official Palestinian TV regularly broadcasts Islamic preachers who tell the people how to beat their wives?” Neuer asked.