Despite Action by U.N. Chief & Nikki Haley, Agency
Won’t Remove Posts Accusing Israel of ‘Apartheid’
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres swore in Iraqi ambassador Mohammed al-Hakim
as director of ESCWA, a U.N. regional commission of 18 Arab states, July 12, 2017.
GENEVA, July 18, 2017 – Contrary to instructions from U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres—who in March deleted the ESCWA agency’s “Israel apartheid” report after protests by U.S. envoy Nikki Haley—the official website and social media posts of the organization are replete with ‘apartheid’ accusations against the Jewish state, as revealed in a new report by the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch.
In a letter sent today to Guterres, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer called on the secretary-general to intervene and delete the inflammatory posts.
Letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Regarding ESCWA’s Israel Apartheid Slurs
Dear Secretary-General Guterres,
As you have just sworn in a new head of ESCWA, we urge your intervention on a serious matter. In March, you rightly took action to remove ESCWA’s unauthorized publication of a false report that obscenely demonized Israel as an “Apartheid” state.
As you noted, the Executive Secretary of ESCWA is a representative of the Secretary-General, and as such you are obliged to uphold UN discipline.
We are therefore alarmed to discover that, despite your clear and unequivocal stand, numerous ESCWA webpages, Facebook posts, and tweets continue to display this same “Israel Apartheid” slur.
For example, on 6 March, your then-representative Rima Khalaf abused the occasion of International Women’s Day at UN House in Beirut—with your photo on display, and right after your message was read—to attack “the Israeli apartheid regime.”
A room full of UN officials heard it, yet failed to object. Ms. Khalaf is gone, yet her obscene remarks are still online on the UN site.
Likewise, ESCWA’s Facebook page includes the following posts, dating from 2014 to 2017:
- “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state”;
- Israeli practices “amount to apartheid”;
- the Palestinian people are being “subjected to an apartheid system.”
In one post from March that is still online, your former representative called for the “overthrow” of “the Israeli apartheid regime.”
In this new UN Watch report, we document at least 20 different UN publications or posts that demonize Israel as an “apartheid” state.
Former secretary-general Kofi Annan rightly described the General Assembly’s 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution as the low point of the UN’s experience with antisemitism. ESCWA’s “Israel apartheid” slurs are but the latest reincarnation of the same libel—and we respectfully urge you to order them removed immediately.