UN Watch In the News — December 2020

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during December 2020 on topics including: China attacks Australia to divert attention from its own human rights abuses; Canada votes against Israel at the U.N.; Iran jails the brothers of a wrestler hanged by the regime; the U.N. passes a resolution referring to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name; the assassination of the Iranian scientist behind the regime’s nuclear program; Morocco and Israel announce a normalization deal; a whistleblower reveals the U.N. gave names of Chinese dissidents to the regime; the U.N. singles out Israel at the General Assembly; the U.N. abandons human rights; the world abandons the Palestinian cause; a U.S. Senate candidate is linked to an anti-Israel letter.

Whistleblower Reveals U.N. Gave Dissidents’ Names to China

Quoted in the South China Morning Post, “What to do when the UN human rights office may have violated human rights?” Dec. 13, 2020:

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a human rights NGO and UN watchdog, said he had seen the evidence provided by Reilly and believed she acted in good faith.

“The UN Human Rights Office should be the last entity engaged in this kind of thing. They should be the first ones to protect the dissidents, they should not be handing names to China,” Neuer said in an interview.

Yang Jianli, a Chinese dissident now based in the US who also serves on the board of UN Watch, had his attendance at Human Rights Council sessions confirmed to Chinese authorities in 2012, according to OHCHR emails seen by the Post.

He said he only learned of the practice in 2019, when Neuer informed him about Reilly’s case, and he said it was a “shocking” revelation. “We would never think the [Human Rights Office] would do things like this.”

Yang said China’s diplomats were becoming increasingly aggressive and he suspected Beijing may have been behind his barring from a Human Rights Council session in March this year, along with a Tibetan activist, over a technicality relating to their identification documents.

Yang said the activist was on a refugee travel document, while he had a US-issued travel document for green card holders not yet naturalised. “I have been in the UN building many times, I’ve never had that happen to me,” he said.

Isa from the World Uygur Congress said he was also evicted from UN meeting rooms by security several times in Geneva and in New York at the urging of the Chinese delegation.

Neuer from UN Watch expressed concern about China’s growing influence at the UN, especially at the Human Rights Council. China was re-elected to the council this year despite criticisms over its crackdowns in Xinjiang and imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong.

China Attacks Australia’s Human Rights Record

Quoted by News.com.au, “‘Out of control’: China’s shocking human rights record and its plan to hush it up,” Dec. 1, 2020

Yet, astonishingly, China has slowly ingratiated itself into worldwide bodies, often parking itself in human rights related roles.

One of the most flagrant examples was this year when Beijing official Jiang Duan took up a position on a United Nations (UN) panel that makes decisions on which human right violations should be investigated.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of organisation UN Watch, which reports on the UN’s performance, was scathing of the appointment.

“Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances is like making a pyromaniac the town fire chief.”

Canada Votes Against Israel at the U.N.

Quoted in the National Post, “Canada’s hypocrisy on anti-Semitism,” Dec. 3, 2020:

In reaction, UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer Tweeted, “Shame: Canada’s Justin Trudeau government just joined the jackals at the UN by voting for a one-sided resolution singling out Israel, co-sponsored by Syria, Venezuela and North Korea.”

Iran Jails Brothers of Executed Sportsman

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “Iranians launch ‘tweetstorm’ for release of Navid Akari’s jailed brothers,” Dec. 5, 2020:

The executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, joined the campaign to free the Afkari brothers, writing on Twitter: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is an elected member of the UN Commission on Criminal Justice. Why António Guterres? #ReleaseAfkaris #United4Navid.”

U.N. Passes Resolution Referring to Temple Mount Solely by its Muslim Name

Quoted on J-Wire, “A lot is in a name, actually,” Dec. 9, 2020:

More recently, a United Nations General Assembly committee today adopted a resolution that referred to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name – erasing the Jewish and Christian connection to the holy site. As UN Watch executive director, Hillel Neuer, said:

The UN today showed contempt for both Judaism and Christianity by passing a resolution that makes no mention of the name Temple Mount, which is Judaism’s holiest site, and which is sacred to all who venerate the Bible, in which the ancient Temple was of central importance,”

Iranian Nuclear Mastermind Assassinated

Quoted in Spiked, “Appeasing Iran,” Dec. 10, 2020:

In a tweet, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian nuclear scientist who was killed last month, as a martyr. He was killed by ‘brutal mercenaries’ and he sacrificed his life for a ‘divine reward’, Khamenei said. In response, the human-rights lawyer and executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, wrote: ‘Your regime was so busy beating up peaceful protesters, arresting women for not covering their hair with the compulsory hijab and jailing and torturing human-rights activists and their lawyers, that you forgot to protect your own nuclear mastermind.’

Morocco and Israel Announce Normalization Deal

Cited by Fox News, “President Trump secures deal between Israel and Morocco in a Hanukkah miracle,” Dec. 10, 2020:

Reaction from U.N. diplomats seemed mostly muted on a day when the U.N. seemed more concerned with condemning Israel in the General Assembly than it seemed to be with the historic announcement made by President Trump and his team. According to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the international agency, the world body was due to adopt half a dozen resolutions that condemn or single out Israel later today.

U.N. Singles Out Israel at General Assembly

Quoted in The Times of Israel, “UN condemned Israel 17 times in 2020, versus 6 times for rest of world combined,” Dec. 23, 2020:

“The UN’s assault on Israel with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch. “It’s absurd that in the year 2020, out of a total 23 of UN General Assembly resolutions that criticize countries, 17 of them — more than 70 percent — were focused on one single country: Israel. Make no mistake: the purpose of the lopsided condemnations is to demonize the Jewish state.”

“When the General Assembly gives in to politicization and selectivity by discriminating against Israel, it violates the UN Charter’s guarantee of equal treatment to all nations, large and small,” Neuer added.

“We note that the UK and EU states like France, Germany and Spain voted Yes to more than two-thirds of the UNGA resolutions singling out Israel in 2020,” he charged. “Yet these same nations failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution this year on the human rights situation in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, or on 175 other countries.”

He noted that there had been “modest yet notable progress” this year with some EU states opposing or abstaining in votes to renew the mandates of UN bodies dedicated to Palestinian rights.

“Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: the UN’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights; the goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations is to scapegoat Israel,” Neuer concluded.

Cited and video embedded on J-Wire, “Smoke and mirrors,” Dec. 18, 2020:

We have only ourselves to blame for this deplorable state of affairs as successive Governments have refused to grasp the nettle and take strong action. This week UN Watch spoke to a Knesset committee about the scandalous situation. It is disgraceful that as we end 2020 most MK’s are still oblivious to and ignorant of the ramifications involved.

U.N. Abandons Human Rights

Quoted in the Toronto Sun, “UN abandoned the fight for human rights in 2020,” Dec. 29, 2020:

As Hillel Neuer, Canadian-born executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch tweeted Dec. 24 above a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping:

“One week from tomorrow, a man who herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, jails human rights activists, crushed Tibet, disappeared courageous men and women who sounded the alarm on the coronavirus, and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong will join the UN’s highest human rights body.”

Joining China — which denies all wrongdoing —on the UNHRC next year will be four other countries elected by the UN General Assembly, also infamous for human rights abuses: Russia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

That flies in the face of the UN resolution which created the UNHRC in 2006. It stipulated that, “members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

As Neuer pointed out, this year’s election of China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to the UNHRC means 60% of its 47-member nations are now dictatorships, non-democratic and human rights abusers.

Meanwhile, as happens every year, the UN General Assembly —collectively a nest of Jew-hating vipers — selectively singled out Israel in 2020 for condemnation for its treatment of the Palestinians, while ignoring or downplaying almost all other human rights abuses on the planet.

As UN Watch reports, the UN General Assembly in 2020 cited Israel in 17 resolutions, compared to six for all other nations on earth — one each for North Korea, Syria, Iran, Myanmar and two for Crimea.

(The UNHRC, going back to its creation in 2006, condemned Israel 10 times that year, without criticizing any other country, establishing its longstanding bias against Israel.)

Given the UN’s record of selectively condemning Israel year after year, it’s disappointing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2020 and 2019, reversed the policy of the previous Stephen Harper Conservative government and the Paul Martin Liberal government, of rejecting any UN resolutions selectively targeting Israel.

UN Watch, the Conservatives, B’nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose new president and CEO is former Liberal MP Michael Levitt, all condemned the Trudeau government’s policy reversal.

As Neuer tweeted Nov. 19: “SHAME: Canada’s Justin Trudeau government just joined the jackals at the UN by voting for a one-sided resolution singling out Israel, co-sponsored by Syria, Venezuela & North Korea.”

World Abandons Palestinian Cause

Cited in JNS, “Can the Palestinians Adjust to Changing Times?” Dec. 28, 2020:

They’ll always have the United Nations. Even as the rest of the world abandons their cause, the Palestinians can still count on the world body to be their faithful ally in their century-old struggle against Zionism. According to UN Watch, the U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn Israel 17 times during the current session, as opposed to resolutions noting anything happening anywhere else on the planet only six times. The international diplomatic community remains committed to prioritizing the Palestinians’ grievances against the Jewish state.

U.S. Senate Candidate Linked to Anti-Israel Letter

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “Despite Raphael Warnock’s Pro-Israel Statements, His Anti-Israel Letter Remains,” Dec. 18, 2020:

UN Watch, a non-profit oversight organization, found UNRWA teachers and staffers celebrating the terrorist kidnapping of Israeli teenagers, cheering rockets being fired at Israeli civilian centers, endorsing various forms of violence, erasing Israel from maps, praising Hitler and posting his photo, and posting overtly antisemitic videos, caricatures, and statements.

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