|In January 2018, Amnesty International was pilloried for its bigotry in banning UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer from lecturing on their premises. As reported in The Guardian, Ha’aretz and other newspapers, Amnesty’s UK branch cancelled at the last minute a scheduled debate in its London office, on the subject of UN bias against Israel, between Neuer and a representative of the UK’s UN Association. Amnesty said it could not host an event organized by Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council, an umbrella group of 34 Jewish charities, and UN Watch. Why not? In a special editorial, the New York Post explained:|
The official excuse: Because Amnesty supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, “it would be inappropriate [for us] to host an event by those actively supporting” Jewish settlements. By which Amnesty specifically meant the watchdog group UN Watch — whose extremely effective executive director, Hillel Neuer, was to take part in the debate with a pro-UN advocate.
Worse, Amnesty suddenly claimed that allowing Neuer to appear at its building would put the work of its people “on the ground . . . at risk.” Maybe the group simply got cold feet over the potential embarrassment of hosting a debate in which Neuer was sure to prevail…
Amnesty’s bigotry was likewise condemned by former Islamist Maajid Nawaz, himself a former Amnesty prisoner of conscience. “Human rights are meant to be universal,” wroteNawaz. “This means that we defend the right of someone to say something, even while we vehemently disagree with what they are saying. At least this is the reasoning Amnesty gave for adopting my case when I was imprisoned in Egypt for being an Islamist.”
Neuer’s debate was instead held in the British Parliament, hosted by friendly MPs, before a packed audience. That week, Neuer also lectured at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.