UN Watch in the News

UN Watch in the News — October 2021

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during October 2021 on topics including: U.S. confronts China at Human Rights Council; UN Watch executive director profiled; UNHRC censors Hillel Neuer on UNRWA antisemitism; U.S. rejoins HRC; abuser regimes launch new club; Hillel Neuer attends Oslo Freedom Forum.

UN Envoy Criticized For Agenda-Driven Zimbabwe Visit

Cited in The Times of London, “End Mugabe-era sanctions on Zimbabwe, UN envoy tells West,” Oct. 28, 2021:

A UN rapporteur has urged the West to lift its 20-year-old sanctions in Zimbabwe, saying that they restrict public access to healthcare, food and sanitation.

Alena Douhan has a history of blaming problems in countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba on western sanctions, according to the monitoring group UN Watch.

In February she visited Venezuela and portrayed the Maduro regime as a victim of US sanctions.

Maduro name-checked Douhan in his speech to the UN general assembly last month, pointing to her report which argued that western sanctions had worsened pre-existing economic problems in Venezuela.

U.S. Confronts China at Human Rights Council

Quoted in the South China Morning Post, “As US returns to the UN Human Rights Council, it confronts an increasingly forceful China,” Oct. 10, 2021:

The latest US effort to challenge China’s expanding global footprint will take place on Thursday when Washington is expected to return to the United Nations Human Rights Council at a time when Beijing is working overtime to blunt criticism over its crackdown in Xinjiang and revamp the UN in line with its world view.

The US also needed to adjust to a new normal, others said. Since Washington’s 2018 departure from the council, China has grown more sophisticated, presenting new challenges.

“It’s not the same superpower it was,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch. “China has raised its game enormously.”

UN Watch Executive Director Profiled

Featured in the Jerusalem Report & Jerusalem Post, “Hillel Neuer: Warrior for Israel  in Geneva,” Oct. 28, 2021:

Hillel Neuer is used to getting the cold shoulder at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“When I walk into the room at the UN, if looks could kill I’d be dead by a thousand blows,” he said.

It’s no wonder, because as executive director of the non-governmental organization UN Watch, Neuer points out the myriad ways in which the UN does not live up to the tenets of its own charter. He regularly calls out countries and their leaders on human rights abuses, racism, antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.

Most recently, UN Watch has focused on urging nations to pull out of the Durban IV conference marking the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. It has also exposed more than 100 UN Relief and Works Agency educators’ propagating hate against Jews and promoting terrorism against Israelis, leading to an investigation.

U.S. Rejoins Human Rights Council

Quoted in AFP, “US set to rejoin UN Human Rights Council after walk-out,” Oct. 14, 2021:

Non-governmental organizations accused UN regional groups of stitching up a “legitimizing facade” rather than a genuine contest at the human rights council, by presenting the same number of candidates as vacant seats.

The executive director of the UN Watch NGO said the elections were designed to weed out the world’s worst rights abusers.

But “oppressive regimes like China, Cuba, Libya, Russia and Eritrea routinely win election, and the stamp of international legitimacy”, said Hillel Neuer.

Quoted on CBN News, “The US Returns to the UN Human Rights Council, Vows to Defend Israel,” Oct. 15, 2021:

UN Watch, an NGO that monitors anti-Israel bias and concerns, told AFP the elections are supposed to weed out the world’s worst human rights abusers.

But “oppressive regimes like China, Cuba, Libya, Russia and Eritrea routinely win election, and the stamp of international legitimacy,” said Hillel Neuer.

Quoted in the Korea Times, “US returns to UN’s Human Rights Council,” Oct. 25, 2021:

Hillel Neuer, the executive secretary of the watchdog group, U.N. Watch, tweeted that while elections are designed to weed out the world’s worst rights abusers, “oppressive regimes like China, Cuba, Libya, Russia and Eritrea routinely win elections, and the stamp of international legitimacy.”

UN Human Rights Council Censors Hillel Neuer on UNRWA Antisemitism

Quoted in The Algemeiner & i24 News, “UNHRC Stops Video Quoting Antisemitic Posts by UNRWA Teachers,” Oct. 3, 2021:

President of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Nazhat Shameem Khan on Friday cut off a video presentation by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer quoting antisemitic social media posts by UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) teachers.

After stopping the video, Khan said that “insulting and inflammatory remarks” were made that amount to “personal attacks” against individuals. She then went on to say that the “statement is out of order” before giving the floor to the UK-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), which has been accused of having ties with Hamas.

UN Watch is an NGO based in Geneva that monitors the intergovernmental organization for anti-Israel bias.

Quoted in YNet News, “UNHRC cuts off testimony about UNRWA teachers’ anti-Semitic rhetoric,” Oct. 3, 2021:

Hillel Neuer was highlighting a recent UN Watch report that, according to the organization’s website, “exposed more than 100 teachers, school principals and other employees that praise Hitler, propagate hatred against Jews and support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians on social media.”

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “UNHRC cuts off UN Watch for quoting antisemitic posts by UNRWA teachers,” Oct. 3, 2021:

Neuer questioned why Khan cut him off, saying on Twitter that Khan made up a rule and that he had “every right to quote the racist Facebook posts of UNRWA teachers—funded with hundreds of millions by US, Germany, EU, Canada—and to name them.”

Quoted in the Jewish Journal, “UN Cuts Off UN Watch Director for Highlighting UNRWA Antisemitism,” Oct. 4, 2021:

In a series of tweets, Neuer called on Khan “to apologize and rescind your ruling” or else he will ask U.N. Secretary-General Antonio-Guterres to publicly state “that the highest human rights body of the United Nations has just sent a dangerous message to the world when, without any basis, you summarily and arbitrarily blocked me from presenting a report about systemic antisemitism incited daily by the teachers of UNRWA.”

Neuer also noted in a tweet that “Israel is the only nation treated as a standing item on the UNHRC agenda” and that “for three hours, tyrants vilified Israel” during Shabbat, when Israel was unable to defend itself in the forum.

Cited on JNS, “UN bars Israel’s ambassador from displaying pro-Hitler posts by UNRWA teacher,” Oct. 5, 2021:

On Friday, the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Nazhat Shameem Khan, cut off a video presentation by U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer highlighting anti-Semitic social-media posts by UNRWA teachers.

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “UN Watchdog Group Demands Secretary-General End Censorship of UNRWA Antisemitism,” Oct. 6, 2021:

Neuer issued an appeal to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, calling on him to acknowledge that Neuer’s presentation was “perfectly legitimate.”

“The highest human rights body of the United Nations sends a dangerous message to the world when, without any basis, it summarily and arbitrarily blocks human rights activists from presenting a report on systemic antisemitism incited daily by the teachers of UNRWA, a UN agency,” Neuer said.

Quoted in the New York Sun, “UN Grows Nervous Over How a Teacher It Backs Has Been Praising Hitler,” Oct. 6, 2021:

Earlier in Geneva, during a typical Israel-bashing session on Saturday, the Human Rights Council’s president, Nazhat Shameem Khan, cut off a speech by Hillel Neuer shortly after he started unveiling his organization’s deep investigation into antisemitism at UNRWA.

Mr. Neuer took to Twitter, where he attached the incident’s videotape, writing, “No joke: The U.N. Human Rights Council just cut me off for testifying about UNRWA teachers who glorify Hitler. Chair says I made ‘derogatory, insulting & inflammatory remarks’ — by quoting their own Facebook posts. ‘This amounts to personal attacks. This statement is out of order.’”

In a separate tweet, Mr. Neuer called on the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to publicly state “that the highest human rights body of the United Nations has just sent a dangerous message to the world” about blocking a speech. Yet, a mere couple days later, officials under Mr. Guterres blocked the Israeli ambassador from graphically making the same point.

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post: “UNRWA’s deceitful ploys to stifle Israeli truth-telling,” Oct. 7, 2021:

Be that as it may, the placard incident came on the heels of another UNRWA attempt at stifling critics. On October 3, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer was cut off in mid-sentence while testifying on this very topic via video conference before the UN Human Rights Council.

“Madame President, is UNRWA supporting peace?” he asked rhetorically, then going on to illustrate why the answer is no.

“Let us consider UN Watch’s recent report on the teachers they hire, by looking at their social media,” he began. “Nahed Sharawi, an UNRWA math teacher in Gaza, posted a video of Adolf Hitler, along with quotes ‘to enrich and enlighten your thoughts and minds.’”

He went on: “Husni Masri, an UNRWA teacher in the West Bank, posted antisemitic conspiracy theories about how Jews control the world, created the coronavirus and seek to destroy Islam.”

Just as he was about to name a certain Esraa Abdal Raheem as a third UNRWA antisemite, UNHRC President Nazhat Shameem suddenly interrupted him.

Quoted in JNS, The Algemeiner & Israel Hayom, “Watchdog group asks UNRWA to reveal names of staffers suspended for incitement,” Oct. 27, 2021:

A watchdog group called on the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees to reveal which employees were recently suspended for allegedly inciting anti-Semitism and violence.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reportedly suspended at least six of its employees after a report by UN Watch named 113 of its educators and other staffers who have publicly promoted anti-Semitism and violence on social media. In his letter on Tuesday, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer asked UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini to identify which of the named employees were suspended.

Neuer accused Lazzarini of “refusing to engage with the extensive research and documentation of United Nations Watch, which demonstrates UNRWA’s failure to apply its purported ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards teachers who incite racism and violence, while at the same time seeking to kill the messenger by maliciously defaming United Nations Watch for providing a minimal form of oversight that UNRWA itself has failed to exercise.”

Quoted in the National Review, “Watchdog Demands Accountability for UNRWA Anti-Semitism,” Oct. 29, 2021:

Neuer pointed out that UNRWA had suspended some of the employees named in the U.N. Watch report and promised penalties for those whose allegations against them are proved. “We are confused, however, as to why no statement was published on the UNRWA website,” he wrote. In the letter to Lazzarini he also asked which of the employees have been suspended, and why teachers who have engaged in this conduct haven’t been removed from the classroom. Puzzlingly, as Neuer wrote, UNRWA had initially called the U.N. Watch report a validation of “sensationalist and politically-motivated attacks.”

Abuser Regimes Launch New Club

Quoted on CNS News, “US-Sanctioned Regimes at UN Push Back Against ‘Rules Based Order’,” Oct. 20, 2021:

Unhappy with the U.S. and allies’ focus on upholding a “ruled-based order” in international affairs, China and Russia are helping to spearhead a response at the United Nations by mobilizing like-minded nations to form a new “Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations.”

“Trusting China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela to be defenders of the United Nations Charter is like asking Col. Sanders to babysit your chickens,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of the non-governmental organization U.N. Watch, commented in response to the initiative.

Hillel Neuer Attends Oslo Freedom Forum

Quoted in the National Review, “‘Be Human’,” Oct. 15, 2021:

I am at the Oslo Freedom Forum, where no one cares whether the tyranny is red or black. All they care about is that tyranny be opposed and defeated, and that freedom prevail.

Hillel Neuer is here — the brainy, gutsy lawyer from Montreal who runs UN Watch, in Geneva. One of the things he keeps an eye on is hypocrisy: hypocrisy regarding human rights (and you can imagine how busy he is).

Someone asks him, “Is it expensive in Geneva?” “No,” he answers, “not if you don’t buy anything.”

UN Watch