UN Watch in the News — August 2021

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during August 2021 on topics including: UNRWA responds to UN Watch report; UNRWA employees under investigation; Afghanistan falls to the Taliban; EU envoy attends Iranian presidential ceremony in the company of terrorist leaders; Human Rights Watch says Hamas may have committed war crimes; Hamas terror tunnels discovered underneath UNRWA schools; UK journalist says “what happened in Kabul Airport will repeat itself at Ben Gurion Airport”; UN to hold Durban IV conference; Swedish foreign minister blocks Hillel Neuer on Twitter; Ben & Jerry’s board member accused of funneling money to her think tank.

UN Watch Report Exposes Antisemitic UNRWA Teachers

Quoted on N12 Israeli Channel 12 News (Hebrew), “New report reveals: UN teachers publicly support murder of Israelis,” August 2, 2021:

“Teachers promoting terrorism and antisemitism”: More than 100 teachers and staff of UNRWA, the UN agency that operates schools and social services for Palestinians, have actively promoted on social media violence, antisemitism and expressions of support for violent attacks on Israelis, according to a new report published today by the human rights organization UN Watch.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said: “UNRWA, which claims to have ‘zero tolerance for incitement’, continues to knowingly and consistently employ supporters of terrorism and antisemitism. We call on UNRWA governments to take action and break the cycle. Evil puts new generations educated on hatred and violence against Jews. UNRWA must publicly condemn the agency’s employees who incite terrorism and antisemitism and stop their work immediately.”

Quoted in YNet News & YNet Espanol (Spanish), “UN-paid teachers celebrate deaths of Israelis, support terrorism, study finds,” August 2, 2021:

UN Watch, an independent human rights group based in Geneva, published a report Monday entitled “Beyond the Textbooks,” which uncovers recent cases of UNRWA staff incitement that violate the agency’s own rules as well as its proclaimed values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or anti-Semitism.

Among the educators who have used their personal social media channels for such propaganda is UNRWA Gaza math teacher Nahed Sharawi, who shared a video of Adolf Hitler with inspirational quotes to “enrich and enlighten your thoughts and minds.”

UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer stated that “worldwide, educators who incite hatred and violence are dismissed, yet UNRWA, despite proclaiming zero tolerance for incitement, knowingly employs and systematically to the promoters of terrorism and anti-Jewish hatred.”
“We call on the governments that fund UNWRA to act to stop the vicious cycle of generations being taught to hate and violently attack Jews. We demand that UNRWA address the underlying issue and demonstrate its true commitment to the basic standards of education in their schools, publicly condemning their employees who incite terrorism and anti-Semitism, removing them from their positions and creating an independent and impartial investigation of all their staff,” he stated.
Quoted in Maariv (Hebrew), “New report reveals: UN teachers publicly support murder of Israelis,” August 2, 2021:
UN Watch, which operates from Geneva and oversees UN operations, has released a new report exposing 22 recent incidents of incitement by UNRWA, an organization that promotes tolerance and the prevention of discrimination, racism and antisemitism, in clear violation of its rules. Following its new expose, UN Watch calls on UNRWA – including the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union – to join the call to prove UNRWA its responsibility to meet the standards and commitments it has set itself.

Quoted on i24 News, “UN Watch report calls out UNRWA teachers who celebrate Israeli, Jewish deaths,” August 2, 2021:

A newly released report from a Geneva-based independent human rights group has highlighted that more than 100 educators and staff who work for the UN agency that runs schools and social services for Palestinians have publicly promoted violence and antisemitism on social media.

In its report “Beyond the Textbooks, non-governmental organization UN Watch has uncovered evidence of “22 recent cases of UNRWA staff incitement which clearly violate the agency’s own rules as well as its proclaimed values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or antisemitism.”

As a result, UN Watch has called on the agency’s major donors, which include the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, and Germany, to hold UNRWA accountable to its own standards and commitments.

The report revealed that staff in schools in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan have utilized their personal social media channels to propagate antisemitism and terrorism.

UN Watch’s method was relatively simple: it cross-referenced only Facebook users who identified themselves as UNRWA workers and found that 113 of them celebrated and promoted violence. Given the small sample size, the NGO extrapolated that among the agency’s 30,000 or so employees, the problem is likely much more widespread.

Quoted in Israel Hayom, Israel Hayom Hebrew & JNS, “Report: UNRWA staff inciting to violence, antisemitism online,” August 2, 2021:

Among the social media posts cited by UN Watch was one from math teacher Nahed Shrarawi in which she shared a video that included an image of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler along with inspirational quotes. Another UNRWA teacher in the West Bank by the name of Husni Masri shared a post promoting conspiracy theories about Jews, including that Jewish people want to rule the world and destroy Islam and were responsible for the coronavirus.

According to UN Watch, incitement to violence and hatred among UNRWA’s 30,000 staff members is a far greater problem than the report shows as the incidents included in the report pertain to those with Facebook accounts who openly identify as agency employees.

UN Watch emphasized that since UNRWA has not fired or taken any administrative action against those behind the inciting posts despite requests from the NGO, the agency was fully responsible for their actions.

Quoted on The Times of Israel, “Watchdog: Dozens of UNRWA teachers condone violence, spread antisemitism online,” August 2, 2021:

The UN Watch report identified 22 UNRWA teachers in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan who posted incendiary content against Jews or Israel on their Facebook profiles. It has identified over 100 incidents since 2015.

The organization urged UNRWA’s donors, including the United States and the European Union, to withdraw funding in light of the findings and maintained the UN agency has failed to take action against the offending workers since it began to bring the information to its attention six years ago.

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “Over 100 UNRWA teachers incite violence, antisemitism online – report,” August 3, 2021:

As documented in a UN Watch report titled “Beyond the Textbooks,” multiple cases are outlined showing instances of incitement. This, the report claims, flies in the face of UNRWA’s own rules and values, specifically a zero-tolerance rule for racism, discrimination and antisemitism.

A total of 113 instances were obtained by UN Watch solely from viewing the public social media pages of UNWRA employees, many of which celebrated and promoted violence, even among children. The Geneva-based NGO added that it only analyzed those who publicly identified as UNWRA employees, and estimated that the actual number of staff who incite violence may number far higher.

Quoted on The Media Line, “UNRWA Educators Promote Anti-Semitism, Praise Hitler Online: Watchdog,” August 3, 2021:

Though it has been made aware of these problematic instances UNRWA has repeatedly failed to act on the matter, UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer told The Media Line.

“The response from UNRWA is inaction and indifference,” he said. “Our question to UNRWA is: Where is your follow-up?

“You know that you have teachers in front of a classroom who praise Hitler,” Neuer continued. “In any other classroom around the world, when it’s exposed that a teacher on social media praised Hitler, they’re fired!”

Cited in Israel Hayom and JNS, “Erdan urges world leaders to take action on UNRWA staff inciting antisemitism online,” August 4, 2021:

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan has urged the United Nations and world leaders to take action against the UN Relief Works Agency after a watchdog report found more than 100 UNRWA educators and staff have publicly promoted violence and antisemitism on social media.

Featured on ILTV Israel News, August 2, 2021:

UNRWA Responds to UN Watch Report

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “UNRWA to probe 10 staff for anti-Israel speech,” August 8, 2021:

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) pledged to investigate 10 of its staff members for anti-Israel hate speech following a report by the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch that highlighted such activity.

“UNRWA’s failure to fire a single teacher of hate, and its scurrilous resort to ad hominem attacks on those seeking to combat antisemitism, makes it clear that they are incapable of investigating themselves on incitement, just like on corruption and abuse,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said.

“They are incapable of protecting Palestinian children from teachers who poison their hearts and minds with an education of hatred and violence,” he said.

Neuer said his organization stood by its assertion that all 22 of those named worked for UNRWA at the time they posted problematic material on social media, charging that the agency is just trying to kill the messenger.

He said there was “corroborating data,” including photos and other documents, that showed these employees worked for UNRWA.

“We know and have documented that for every UNRWA teacher that praises Hitler or Hamas terrorist attacks on social media, there are dozens of that teacher’s UNRWA colleagues… and students who endorse the posts. The problem is systemic,” Neuer said.

“UNRWA’s reply misses the point entirely,” he said. “If the agency employs dozens of teachers and school principals that quote Hitler and praise Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist attacks, the issue isn’t their social media posts, but rather the very fact that UNRWA’s education system is repeatedly putting in the classroom teachers that support Hitler and terrorist attacks.”

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “UNRWA Accuses NGO of ‘Politically-Motivated Attacks’ After Report on Antisemitic Hatred Among Agency Employees,” August 6, 2021:

Commenting on the UNRWA statement, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said on Friday that it “misses the point entirely.”

“[The agency] needs to show minimal transparency and accountability by publicly detailing which charges they reject, and to explain why they are not firing UNRWA teachers who publicly propagate antisemitism and support for terror,” Neuer said.

Quoted on i24 News, Israel Hayom and YNet News, “UNRWA launches investigation into 10 staff accused of posting antisemitic material,” August 8, 2021:

In response UN Watch’s Executive Director Hillel Neuer said that UNRWA was missing the point.

“The fact that UNRWA’s education system is repeatedly hiring and putting in the classroom teachers that admire Hitler and propagate hatred and terrorism” is the problem, he said.

“Deleting a post on Facebook does not remove the hate in those teachers’ hearts and minds. It does not solve the problem. Palestinian children deserve to be fully protected from teachers of hatred and racism. Zero tolerance in schools means you remove racists from the classroom, period.”

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “Skepticism Greets UNRWA ‘Neutrality Training’ Proposal for Staff Pushing Antisemitism on Social Media,” August 12, 2021:

“Facing serious allegations about widespread support for antisemitism and terrorism among its educators, UNRWA is burying its head in the sand, falsely pretending that these are isolated cases,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said in a statement. “The opposite is true.”

Neuer added that “since 2015, UNRWA has ignored direct requests made to their leadership, including correspondence sent directly to the previous head of UNRWA. If and when UNRWA gets serious about investigating evidence of incitement by their teachers, we remain ready at any time to meet with Commissioner-General Lazzarini in Geneva, Jerusalem or anywhere else, and to provide substantial additional information that we have collected.”

Cited in Israel Hayom, “UNRWA chief rejects calls to fire antisemitic staff,” August 15, 2021:

UN Watch emphasized that since UNRWA has not fired or taken any administrative action against those behind the inciting posts despite requests from the NGO, the agency was fully responsible for their actions.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN and the US demanded UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini take action against those cited in the UN Watch report. The UN body, however, rejected Erdan’s demand, announcing it would host a workshop for employees on the issue instead.

UNRWA Employees Under Investigation

Cited in Al Araby, “UNRWA employees referred for investigation due to a complaint from an organization supporting Israel,” Aug. 29, 2021:

A number of UNRWA employees are facing the possibility of dismissal from their jobs, following a complaint against them filed by an organization supporting the Israeli occupation called “UN WATCH” under the pretext of incitement against Israel and abandoning neutrality.

Cited in Al Jazeera, “For political reasons, UNRWA responds to pressures of Zionist organization, and suspends employees,” Aug. 25, 2021:

Twenty-two employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) are at risk of dismissal, following complaints lodged by a supportive organization for Israel, which claimed that they violate the principles of neutrality, and incite what it described as violence and hatred through their accounts on social media.

A union gathering in Gaza revealed that UN WATCH, known for its support for the Israeli occupation state, filed complaints against employees working for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon, after expressing their political positions on social media platforms, claiming that they violated the laws of the international organization that obligate them to abide by the neutrality and values of the United Nations.

UNRWA media advisor Adnan Abu Hasna told Al Jazeera that the UN agency had already suspended a small number of employees, with its commitment to pay their monthly salaries pending an investigation into allegations against them for violating the principles, laws and regulations of neutrality, incitement to violence and inciting hatred.

According to Abu Hasna, these employees were suspended from work to investigate the allegations attributed to them of violating neutrality and violating the values of the United Nations that rejects violence and hatred.

Abu Hasna explained that the employees against whom these allegations are proven will be subject to graduated penalties according to the case, such as warning, dismissal or other administrative procedures.

Afghanistan Falls to the Taliban

Quoted in the Daily Wire, “U.S. Helicopters Rush In To Evacuate Americans At Embassy In Kabul: ‘This Is Joe Biden’s Saigon’,” August 15, 2021:

Quoted on Fox News, “Critics baffled by UN ambassador boasting of ‘very strongly worded press statement’ to Taliban: ‘Wut’,” August 18, 2021:

Quoted by Townhall, “A UNHRC Urgent Session on Afghanistan Has Been Scheduled. The Co-sponsors Are Unbelievable.,” August 19, 2021:

The United Nations Human Rights Council announced Tuesday that it will be holding a special session on Afghanistan next week to discuss “the serious human rights concerns and situation” in the country.

But Hillel Neuer, international lawyer and executive director of UN Watch, noticed something rather disturbing about which countries co-sponsored the session.

“The main co-sponsor of next week’s UNHRC urgent session on the human rights situation in Afghanistan is Pakistan—the Taliban’s top sponsor. That’s like OJ calling an urgent meeting to find the killer. And the other co-sponsor is Afghanistan itself—i.e., the Taliban?”

Neuer tweeted an image of the announcement, which notes that in order for a special session to be called, one-third of the council’s members must agree. The request on Afghanistan was supported by 29 member states.

Quoted on CNS News, “UN Rights Council Response to Afghan Crisis: No Investigative Body; Taliban Not Named in Resolution,” August 24, 2021:

The U.N. Human Rights Council, having taken a full week to convene a “special session on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan,” on Tuesday adopted a resolution that failed to establish an independent investigative body, and does not refer to the Taliban by name.

Despite her appeals and others, the council adopted what U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer described as “one of the most watered-down resolutions” in the council’s 15-year history.

“Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said last week the Taliban are ‘breaking the chains of slavery,’ “ Neuer recalled. “Whoever let Pakistan take charge of today’s embarrassing UNHRC session on Afghanistan – which gave the Taliban a free pass – had to know it would be a travesty.”

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “Hamas Official Says US Withdrawal from Afghanistan Will Result in World Accepting Expulsion of Israel,” August 26, 2021:

A senior Hamas official said in an August 19 interview on the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV that the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan will result in the world accepting the expulsion of Israel from the region.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer tweeted, “Hamas leader voices misconception that is root cause of the conflict. He’s boosted by the removal of US troops from Afghanistan and of historic Roman, Persian, British and French occupiers. But a Jew in Judea is not a foreign occupier. She’s in her ancient, indigenous homeland.”

Quoted by Townhall, “Former US Ambassadors to UN Warn About Likelihood Taliban Gets a Seat on Commission on the Status of Women,” August 26, 2021:
Hillel Neuer of UN Watch also warned what else the UN’s recognition of the Taliban would mean.

Quoted in CNS News, “Taliban Poised to Inherit Seats on UN Bodies Dealing With Women’s Rights, Cultural Heritage, Narcotics?” August 20, 2021:

A leading observer of the U.N. human rights system, U.N. Watch Director Hillel Neuer, said on Thursday the U.S. and Europe should lead an effort to ensure that the U.N., as happened last time, does not grant a Taliban regime recognition.

“We are calling on the U.S., the E.U., and all other U.N. member states to show resolve and deny the Taliban the credentials they need to take over Afghanistan’s seat.”

Neuer also drew attention to Afghanistan’s membership in CSW, UNESCO and ECOSOC.

“We cannot allow a misogynistic, murderous band of terrorists to influence the world bodies responsible for education, culture, women’s equality and human rights,” he said. “Allowing in the Taliban to such bodies would be truly absurd, immoral and obscene.”

Quoted in The Spectator, “Why is the UN’s Human Rights Council ignoring the Taliban’s atrocities?” August 25, 2021:

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held its thirty-first special session this week to address the ‘serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan’. This discussion was led by the Taliban friendly Pakistan and a copy of the draft resolution was shared on Twitter by the brilliant Hillel Neuer, international lawyer and executive director of United Nations Watch.

Neuer expresses the frustrations of many when he says that ‘In Afghanistan millions live in fear of the Taliban terrorists who have taken over the country. Here in Geneva, the UNHRC meets shortly on Afghanistan to adopt one of its weakest-ever resolutions. Better to scrap the session than send message of appeasement to the Taliban.’

In a separate post he writes, ‘If today’s UNHRC session and draft resolution on Afghanistan are any guide of what is to come, the UN and the international community are adopting a policy of appeasement toward the Taliban, who may well be given Afghanistan’s seat on the UN Women’s Rights Commission.’

Cited in The Post Millennial, “WATCH: Kabul TV host tells his audience ‘not to be afraid’ while held at gunpoint by Taliban,” August 30, 2021:

In a surreal scene, Taliban fighters held an Afghan TV presenter at gunpoint in his studio as he told the public not to fear the Taliban.

Footage obtained by Hillel Neuer appears to show the host of the ‘Peace Studio,’ a political debate program broadcasting out of Kabul, said that the “Islamic Emirate,” the new name of the country as proclaimed by the Taliban, wants the public to “cooperate with it” and “should not be afraid.”

EU Envoy Attends Iranian Presidential Ceremony in the Company of Terrorist Leaders

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “Israeli Officials, Human Rights Activists Condemn EU for Envoy Appearance at Iranian Presidential Ceremony Next to Terrorist Leaders,” August 5, 2021:

Israeli officials and human rights activists criticized the presence of a top European Union diplomat seated immediately behind senior leaders of the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups at Thursday’s inauguration of hardline Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

Hillel Neuer, head of the NGO UN Watch, said that the attendance of Mora legitimized the new Iranian leader.

“Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi was part of the regime’s Death Commission in 1988 that ordered the mass execution of 5,000 political prisoners. Western officials shouldn’t celebrate his inauguration, they should prosecute him for crimes against humanity,” Neuer urged.

Human Rights Watch Says Hamas May Have Committed War Crimes

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “Human Rights Watch: Hamas Committed War Crimes During Most Recent Conflict,” August 12:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on August 12 concluding that Hamas may have committed war crimes during the recent escalation in May between the terror group and Israel.

UN Watch tweeted, “Ken Roth wants you to think he is fair and balanced by accusing both Hamas and Israel of crimes. But his goal is perversely to equate a terrorist organization that deliberately targets civilians with a democracy that aims to stop those attacks while avoiding harm to civilians.” They added in a subsequent tweet that Hamas and Israel are not morally equivalent and challenged Roth “to name an example of any army in the history of warfare that did more than the IDF in the recent conflict in Gaza to avoid harming civilians in a combat zone.”

Hamas Terror Tunnels Discovered Underneath UNRWA Schools

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “Israeli UN Ambassador Calls for UN to Cease Funding UNRWA Over Hamas Terror Tunnels,” August 15, 2021:

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan urged the U.N. to temporarily cease funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over the recent discovery of two terror tunnels underneath two of their schools.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer mocked UNRWA on Twitter, stating: “Oh, letters of protest,” the action UNRWA said they were taking in their August 11 statement. “UNRWA can’t even say the word ‘Hamas.’”

Israel Discriminated Against at the UN

Cited in The National Interest, “How the International Order Discriminates Against Israel,” August 14, 2021:

Lastly, is Israel’s right to enjoy the same standard for international critique as every other sovereign state—no other institution within the United Nations displays the double standard imposed on the world’s only Jewish state as does the Human Rights Council (HRC). With Israel being the only country listed on the Council’s permanent agenda, the obsessive fixation on the Jewish state is virtually indisputable. As pointed out by the non-governmental organization UN Watch:

Israel is the only country subjected to an investigatory mandate that examines the actions of only one side, presumes those actions to be violations, and which is not subject to regular review.

UK Journalist Says “What Happened in Kabul Airport Will Repeat Itself at Ben Gurion Airport”

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “British-Palestinian Journalist Says Israel Knows “What Happened in Kabul Airport Will Repeat Itself at Ben Gurion Airport”,” August 23, 2021:

Abdel Bari Atwan, a British-Palestinian journalist, told the Lebanese television station Mayadeen TV in an August 19 interview that “what happened in Kabul Airport will repeat itself at Ben Gurion Airport.”

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer also tweeted that CNN has also had Atwan on as a “regular guest commentator.” “The idea of the Taliban defeating America is exciting Jihadists and antisemites worldwide,” Neuer added.

Quoted in the Jewish Chronicle, “TV pundit claims that the scenes in Kabul will be repeated at Ben Gurion airport,” August 24, 2021:

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer tweeted: “The idea of the Taliban defeating America is exciting jihadists and antisemites worldwide.”

UN to Hold Durban IV Conference

Cited by JNS, “Cancel the Durban IV review conference,” August 18, 2021:

In fact, in a publication dated May 24, 2021, titled “Durban IV: Key Facts—What is Durban IV and why should countries refuse to attend?” the U.N. watchdog organization U.N. Watch refers to the Durban IV review conference as “endorsing this perversion of the principles of anti-racism.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Blocks Hillel Neuer on Twitter

Quoted in Varlden idag (Sweden), “Human rights lawyer blocked by Ann Linde,” August 26, 2021:

Hillel Neuer posted several photos of Ann Linde from her visit as Minister of Trade in Iran in 2017, when she was wearing a veil.

“Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde has fond memories of her visit to Iran and would be happy to visit Pakistan if she can stop in Kabul on the way and visit the Taliban,” Hillel Neuer wrote in the photos.

The post was a comment on the fact that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Twitter that he had spoken to Ann Linde and that she was welcome to visit the country.

Later that day, on Monday, Hillel Neuer showed with a screenshot that he had been blocked by the Swedish Foreign Minister. This means that he can no longer see what she is writing, and vice versa.

Canadian lawyer Hillel Neuer often criticizes what he considers to be the UN’s one-eyed focus on Israel and has recently noted that Afghanistan was elected to the UN Commission on Women a year ago.

Ben & Jerry’s Board Member Accused of Funneling Money to Her Think Tank

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “Ben & Jerry’s Board Head Accused of Funneling Company’s Foundation Money to Her Think-Tank,” August 31, 2021:

The head of Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board has been accused of funneling money from The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to the progressive think tank she runs.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer tweeted regarding the use of The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation funds toward the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, “@BenandJerrys, why are you less concerned than the EU that your money is being used by Badil to fund terrorist organizations that have murdered Americans?”

UN Watch