UN Watch in the News — February 2022

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during February 2022 on topics including: UN Watch demands resignation of anti-Israel UN inquiry chair; UNHRC delays urgent debate on Ukraine; Russia donates $2m to UNHRC; North Korea to chair UN disarmament conference.

Amnesty Report Accuses Israel of Apartheid

Interviewed on Sky News Australia about Amnesty’s Israel “apartheid,” Feb. 6, 2022:

Israel is not perfect; there’s things to criticize. But, the notion that the only democracy in the Middle East — which has a Supreme Court that overrules government decisions in favor of minorities, that has free and fair elections, that has freedom of the press, that has more rights and freedoms for Arabs than any other Arab country in the Middle East.

The notion that that should be singled for apartheid and not China, or how Turkey treats the Kurds, or how Syria treats its minorities, or Mauritania, where there’s slavery. Amnesty’s leaders were asked this question and they couldn’t answer it. It seems like some kind of obsession with Israel.

And I’ll just note that the people who’ve embraced this report include the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are funded by Iran.

And Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour Party who was suspended for antisemitism, he embraced the report. I think that says a lot, Sharri.

Debated on i24 News about Amnesty’s Israel “apartheid,” Feb. 2, 2022:

Neuer said that “discrimination exists in all countries, especially when you have an intense conflict as Israel has with its Arab neighbors.”

“But we are seeing unprecedented integration. Arabs have more freedom in Israel than they have in the entire Middle East,” he added.

Neuer acknowledged that there is friction between Arabs and Israelis, but that it’s a “territorial, political, geographical conflict” and not a “racial” one.

“Anti-racism is considered one of the virtues of society today, so some are trying to capitalize on that, in ways to demonize Jews… in saying they’re racist.”

“Israel, with all its faults, is a beacon of liberal democracy and tolerance in the region,” Neuer said.

UN Watch Demands Resignation of Anti-Israel UN Inquiry Chair

Featured on AFP, “NGO demands UN Israel-Palestinian investigator to resign,” Feb. 14, 2022:

A pro-Israel rights group filed a complaint Monday against the head of a United Nations investigation into systematic abuses in Israel and Palestinian territories for prejudice, demanding that she resign.

Navi Pillay, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was appointed in July 2021 to head a high-level probe into “all underlying root causes” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

UN Watch, a Geneva-based advocacy group that monitors UN activities, said the South African jurist displayed “demonstrable bias against Israel, including on issues specifically related to the case and controversy that is the object of this inquiry.”

Featured in the Jerusalem Post, “NGO: Pillay is biased against Israel, must be ousted from UNHRC probe,” Feb. 14, 2022:

In its 30-page petition, it said: “UN Watch (petitioner) requests that Navi Pillay recuse herself from the Commission of Inquiry (COI)… on grounds that her numerous prior public statements… evince demonstrable bias against Israel including on issues specifically related to the case and controversy that is the object of this inquiry.”

Pillay “cannot impartially investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, human rights abuse and racism, when she has a long record of one-sided statements that single out Israel for condemnation over alleged war crimes, human rights abuses and racism,” UN Watch said.

Featured on The Algemeiner, “Watchdog: Head of UN Probe Must Resign Over ‘Demonstrable Bias Against Israel’,” Feb. 14, 2022:

In the petition, UN Watch listed examples of public statements where Pillay labeled Israel as an apartheid state. As recently as June, Pillay signed an open letter calling on President Joe Biden “to help bring an end to Israel’s institutionalized domination and oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch and an international human rights lawyer, pointed out that “many of the utterances in question occurred mere weeks before she was appointed by the UN this summer, leaving little room to imagine how Pillay could envisage the issues any differently so soon afterwards.”

“It is astonishing that the UN appointed an individual as the supposedly impartial chair of an inquiry immediately after she declared one of the parties guilty in the very controversies that are at issue in the investigation,” he added.

Featured in Israel Hayom, “UN watchdog says head of panel investigating Israel must recuse herself,” Feb. 14, 2022:

The woman heading the United Nations inquiry into last spring’s Hamas-Israel flare-up was accused this week of making prejudicial statements and was asked to recuse herself in a legal brief filed with the world body by UN Watch.

Featured on JNS, “Watchdog group urges head of UN inquiry on Israel to resign amid claims of bias,” Feb. 15, 2022:

Neuer added: “It is frankly impossible to imagine how Navi Pillay could lead an impartial investigation into the events of April-May 2021, as well as into alleged systematic discrimination, given what she has already declared on all of these. A reasonable person would consider Navi Pillay to be partial, thereby disqualifying her from serving as a member of the inquiry.”

Quoted on CNS News, “UN Human Rights Council Defends Selection of Outspoken Israel Critic to Head Israel Inquiry,” Feb. 17, 2022:

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer voiced regret at the response from Villegas, saying in an email that it “fails to address the compelling evidence in UN Watch’s complaint of how Navi Pillay has been actively campaigning against Israel, signing letters to President Biden urging him to end Israeli ‘oppression,’ and signing boycott appeals that call to ‘Sanction Apartheid Israel!’”

“Anyone who takes a moment to see what Navi Pillay has said and endorsed in her lobbying campaigns against Israel, and then reads what her U.N. panel is charged to investigate, will see immediately that Pillay’s continued membership on the commission of inquiry is a mockery of the principles of impartiality, and a travesty of justice,” he said.

Quoted on The Times of Israel, “Israel rejects cooperation with ‘morally bankrupt’ UN rights probe into May fighting,” Feb. 17, 2022:

UN Watch, a Geneva-based rights group that monitors UN activities, demanded that Pillay resign because she had displayed “demonstrable bias against Israel, including on issues specifically related to the case and controversy that is the object of this inquiry.”

UNHRC Delays Urgent Debate on Ukraine

Quoted on CNS News, “UN Human Rights Council Begins First Session of 2022, But ‘Urgent Debate’ on Ukraine Has to Wait,” Feb. 28, 2022:

The U.N. Human Rights Council opens its first session of 2022, but Ukrainians will have to wait at least another three days before the U.N.’s top human rights body holds a debate on the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“People are dying,” commented Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization, U.N. Watch.

“History will record that the U.N.’s top human rights body is reportedly going to wait 7 days to hold the urgent debate requested by Ukraine. Does the U.N. Human Rights Council understand the meaning of the word ‘urgent’ – or of the words ‘human rights’?”

Russia Donates $2m to UNHRC

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “UN Human Rights Council Announces $2 Million Donation from Russia,” Feb. 25, 2022:

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was met with criticism after it announced a $2 million donation from Russia on February 22.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer tweeted that the UNHRC so far hasn’t done anything on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and noted that Russia is a member of the UNHRC. “On Monday the U.N. Human Rights Council opens its 2022 session,” Neuer wrote. “After the dignitaries speak, the first debate on the agenda is Israel. There will be 5 reports & 4 resolutions targeting Israel. 0 resolutions on Russia, Uyghurs, Tibet, Hong Kong, Houthis, Saudi, Pakistan, Cuba…” He called on Western countries to expel Russia from the UNHRC, like they did to Libya in 2011 when Moammar Qaddafi was attacking his own people.

North Korea to Chair UN Disarmament Conference

Quoted in The Australian, “Kim adds to strategic tensions,” Feb. 1, 2022:

As Mr Neuer said: “This is a country that threatens to attack other UN member states with missiles and that commits atrocities against its own people. North Korea’s chairmanship will only undermine the integrity of both the disarmament framework and of the UN.”

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