UN Watch in the News — June 2022

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during June 2022 on topics including: the UN’s human rights problem; UN human rights chief to step down; North Korea takes over presidency of UN disarmament forum; UN Watch holds side event as Pillay Commission delivers anti-Israel report; UN Watch exposes UNRWA teachers’ antisemitism and incitement.

Quoted in The Dispatch, “The United Nations’ Human Rights Problem,” June 13, 2022:

Less than three decades after the United Nations revoked its infamous “Zionism is racism” declaration, an Arab-led group of 18 nations became the first U.N. agency to accuse Israel of promoting an apartheid system within its borders in 2017. During an ensuing debate before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), member states of the “Economic and Social Commission for West Asia”—a Middle East-based organization from which Israel had been excluded—accused the Jewish state of “theft of land,” “violence and terrorism,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “crimes against humanity.”

Then Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer and executive director of the group UN Watch, took the floor to pose a deceptively simple question to the countries leveling the charges: “Where are your Jews?”

“Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs, whatever challenges they face, enjoy full rights to vote and to be elected in the Knesset, they work as doctors and lawyers, they serve on the Supreme Court … How many Jews live in your countries?” Neuer asked before the chamber. “Algeria had 140,000 Jews. Algeria, where are your Jews? Egypt used to have 75,000 Jews. Where are your Jews? Syria, you had tens of thousands of Jews. Where are your Jews? Iraq, you had over 135,000 Jews. Where are your Jews?”

The answer to Neuer’s question, of course, was that the once flourishing Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa had been driven from their homelands in waves in the years since Israel’s fight for independence. But his speech was met with silence from the chamber.

“You could feel that it was sort of an historic moment at the U.N.,” Neuer said in an interview with The Dispatch. “I think everyone in the room, even those not favorably inclined toward Israel, recognized that an uncomfortable truth had been expressed that no one had an answer for.”


UN Human Rights Chief to Step Down

Quoted in the New York Sun, “With UN’s Human Rights Chief Stepping Down Unexpectedly, Who Will Take the Seat?,” June 16, 2022:

The race is on to fill an unexpected vacancy that opened at Geneva this week. The United Nations human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, soon after returning from an ill-fated trip to Beijing, said she would not vie for a second term.

An ideal human rights commissioner, according to the director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, is “someone with clarity.” His choice would be the Iranian-born Ms. Alinejad, “a dissident, someone who could confront dictatorships, someone who is in the front lines for women’s rights and for freedom of speech,” Mr. Neuer told the Sun.

Regrettably, Ms. Neuer adds, the UN system is “too political” to pick, in Ms. Alinejad, a woman who has started a rights movement in Iran as her followers there bravely use cameras to document their opposition to the Islamist regime’s law forcing women to wear a head cover in public.


North Korea Takes Over Presidency of UN Disarmament Forum

Quoted by Reuters and CNN, “Amid criticism, North Korea takes over as U.N. disarmament president,” June 2, 2022:

North Korea, which is under sanctions for developing nuclear weapons in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, has taken over as head of a U.N. body aimed at striking disarmament deals amid scorn from critics.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which monitors the performance of the global body, said North Korea’s chairmanship would “seriously undermine the image and credibility of the United Nations”.

Cited on CNS News, “Verbal Protests, But No Walkouts, As N. Korea Becomes President of Disarmament Forum,” June 3, 2022:

Earlier dozens of NGOs from around the world, led by the Geneva-based UN Watch, urged democracies to stage walkouts in protest.


UN Watch Holds Side Event as Pillay Commission Delivers Anti-Israel Report

Featured in the Jerusalem Post, “‘My people’s suffering under apartheid used to criminalize Israel’ – South African activist,” June 13, 2022:

The suffering of blacks in South Africa under its apartheid regime has become an antisemitic tool by which to delegitimize Israel, Christian pro-Israel activist and Johannesburg native Olga Meshoe Washington said.

Washington was speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, as an event hosted by the NGO UN Watch. The gathering was held in advance of a UN Human Rights Council debate on the first presentation of what will be an annual report by the UN’s three-member “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem and Israel,” otherwise known as the COI on Israel.

Quoted in The Australian, “How the world’s only Jewish state has been scapegoated,” June 17, 2022:

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the performance of the UN and its affiliated bodies by the yardstick of the UN Charter, tweeted sarcastically about the report: “Bravo to the UNHRC’s Pillay Commission for ‘ensuring the inclusion of a diverse range of perspectives in its consultations’ by meeting with Palestinian organizations that are dedicated to condemning Israel, as well as Israeli organizations that are dedicated to condemning Israel.’”

Neuer added that the Pillay Report makes 14 references to the infamous Goldstone Report into the 2008 Gaza war, even though Goldstone himself disavowed its key charges, and its chief author was exposed to be Grietje Baars who, shortly after working on the report, served as spokeswoman for the belligerent and violent 2010 Gaza flotilla.

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “UN continues to show bias against Israel – editorial,” June 8, 2022:

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer also criticized the document, highlighting how it turns a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism.

“The report turns a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism and embraces the Hamas narrative that Israel is the root cause of all conflict,” he said. “This is exactly what we expected from Navi Pillay, who actively lobbies governments to ‘sanction apartheid Israel’ and to condemn Israel for the very conflict that she is meant to investigate.”

As an example, Neuer counted the number of times Israel and Hamas appeared in the report. Israel was mentioned 157 times, Hamas just three and Islamic Jihad and Iran not even once.

Cited by JNS, “The anti-Israel travesty of Pillay’s kangaroo court,” June 9, 2022:
As head of U.N. Watch Hillel Neuer has commented: “Appointing Navi Pillay to investigate Israel has all the credibility of appointing Vladimir Putin to investigate Ukraine.”


UN Watch Exposes UNRWA Teachers’ Antisemitism and Incitement

Featured in the Jerusalem Post, “UNRWA teachers continue to support antisemitism, terrorism on social media – UN Watch,” June 23, 2022:
Teachers working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) continue to publish antisemitic posts on social media despite commitments by UNRWA and the US to ensure that antisemitism, violence and terrorism are not supported in UNRWA institutions, according to a new report by the NGO UN Watch published on Thursday.

UN Watch claimed that despite numerous requests and the submission of detailed evidence of violations, UNRWA has failed to fire teachers who post hateful or violent content. “UNRWA should therefore be considered complicit in its staff members’ misconduct,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“Around the world, educators who incite hate and violence are removed. Yet UNRWA, despite proclaiming ‘zero tolerance’ for incitement, systematically employs preachers of anti-Jewish hate and terrorism,” added Neuer. “We call on the governments that fund UNRWA, as they gather at the United Nations to announce new pledges, to declare that they will stop enabling a system that teaches new generations of Palestinians to hate and murder Jews.”

Featured on Fox News, “UN agency teachers urge terrorism and murder of Jews, report claims,” June 24, 2022:

“The U.S., EU, Germany, UK, Canada and other donor states cannot morally send more money to UNRWA until it shows a genuine commitment to basic norms of education in its schools,” Neuer continued. “This means the agency must publicly condemn UNRWA employees who incite terrorism and antisemitism, remove them from their positions, and create an independent and impartial investigation of all of its staff.”

Featured on Ynet News, “UNRWA teachers incite Palestinians to murder Jews, UN Watch says,” June 23, 2022:

UN Watch also argued that the problem is not the social media posts, but rather the unconscionable employment of teachers who preach antisemitism and terrorism.

“In the past UNRWA’s said denied or played down cases presented to them and opted to attack the UN Watch. Only when pressed by donors, did UNRWA launch investigations which led to a handful of temporary staff suspensions,” Neuer said.

Cited in The Algemeiner, “Israel’s UN Envoy Demands Accountability After Report Exposes New Cases of Antisemitism at Palestinian Refugee Agency,” June 23, 2022:

“Not only does UNRWA not help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it causes enormous damage, incites hatred and terrorism and perpetuates the conflict, all under the auspices of the UN, which buries its head in the sand and refuses to see reality,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said in a statement on Thursday.

Erdan cited a report published by the UN Watch NGO, that documented over 120 UNRWA educators and staff promoting violence and antisemitism on social media. Titled “UNRWA’s Teachers of Hate,” the report also discovered 20 new cases of “virulent UNRWA staff incitement which violate the agency’s rules and stated values of zero tolerance for racism, discrimination or antisemitism.”

Interviewed on i24News, “Report: UNRWA educators still promoting antisemitism,” June 24, 2022:

“We are exposing Facebook posts that show how UNRWA teachers call for the murder of ‘filthy Zionists,’ saying things like ‘slaughter them all’ and ‘not one should be left over,’ and teaching this to students,” Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, told i24NEWS.

Cited by Israel Hayom & JNS, “Let UNRWA die already,” June 26:

According to U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, the fact that not a single educator in question has been fired means that UNRWA “should be considered complicit.” He’s got that right. But, then, so should the countries that continue to fork over funds to the deplorable body.

 Quoted by Israel Hayom, “Report: UNRWA suspends 6 staffers who incited violence against Jews,” June 30:
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has placed six employees on administrative leave following an NGO report implicating them in inciting violence against Jews, Israel Hayom learned Thursday.
A recent review of UNRWA operations in Palestinian schools funded by donor states to the agency by UN Watch found that six teachers had repeatedly and publicly called to murder Jews.

The Geneva-based NGO, the stated mission of which is “to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” demanded the six be fired.

“Teachers who call to murder Jews must be barred from the classroom for life,” UN Watch chief Hillel Neuer said in a statement. “These temporary suspensions are just a slap on the wrist.”

“UNRWA is trying to pretend they solved the problem, even as they signal to their staff – and to terrorist organizations like Islamic Jihad which pressed UNRWA to reject the UN Watch report – that they don’t really object to the virulent antisemitism of their teachers, which UNRWA and its donors know pervades the agency,” Neuer said.

Quoted on The Times of Israel, “UNRWA places 6 staffers on leave for incitement in social media posts,” June 29, 2022:

“We have now exposed more than 120 UNRWA teachers and other staff who praise Hitler, glorify terrorism and spread antisemitism, and UNRWA has not given the name of a single one who has been fired,” said UN Watch head Hillel Neuer.

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “Media’s UNRWA Love Affair: Incitement to Murder Jews Goes Unreported,” June 29, 2022:

On the same day that [UNRWA chief Philippe] Lazzarini used his press conference to appeal for more funds, UN Watch revealed troves of evidence — including screenshots of social media posts — that numerous UNRWA schoolteachers had encouraged the murder of Jews; endorsed the recruitment of child soldiers by the Gaza-based Palestinian terror group Hamas; and called for the destruction of Israel and its citizens.

According to UN Watch, one schoolteacher in the West Bank, Nihaya Awad, posted on Facebook her support for Hamas rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians, and uploaded photos of a Hamas fighter instructing a young child dressed in military garb in May 2021.

UN Watch