UN Watch in the News — September-October 2021

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during September and October 2021 on topics including: UNHRC cuts off Hillel Neuer on UNRWA antisemitism; UNRWA employees under investigation; Countries drop out of Durban IV conference; Taliban request to speak at the UN; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The Squad oppose Iron Dome funding bill; EU moves to condition UNRWA aid over incitement; Iranian guards sexually assault female UN nuclear inspectors.

UN Human Rights Council Holds Uncontested Election

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.

UNHRC Cuts Off Hillel Neuer on UNRWA Antisemitism

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 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.”

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.

UN Gathers For General Assembly

Cited in the New York Sun, “As UN Gathers in New York, Covid May Prove To Be the Least Scary Thing,” Sept. 15, 2021:
The sentiment that keeps America and others away from Durban IV still plagues the entire building even after the repeal in 1991 of the resolution known as “Zionism is Racism.” As the director of United Nations Watch, Hillel Neuer, notes, last year the General Assembly passed one resolution each on North Korea, Myanmar, Syria, and Iran; two resolutions on Crimea; and whooping 17 resolutions denouncing Israel.

Countries Drop Out of Durban IV Conference

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “Romania Makes 20 States Skipping 20th Anniversary of ‘Antisemitic Hatefest’ Durban Conference,” Sept. 19:
“It is not too late to urge more countries to pull out ahead of Wednesday’s Durban IV conference at UN headquarters in New York,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said. “We are encouraging all governments and NGOs to say no to Durban.”
Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “Recalling the 2001 Durban Conference 20 years later,” Sept. 22, 2021:
Members of the Jewish Caucus, representing Jewish organizations around the world, walked out of the Forum after their proposed language was deleted from the final Declaration while other victim groups were allowed to describe their own victimization in their own way.
Commenting on the vote against the proposed language from the Jewish Caucus, a member of UN Watch observed, “It was mob rule. There was no opportunity for Jewish delegates to respond. It was clearly a kangaroo court.”

Taliban Request to Speak at the UN

Quoted on the Daily Caller, “These Are The 9 Countries Set To Decide Whether Taliban Will Represent Afghanistan At The UN,” Sept. 22, 2021:

The fate of the Taliban at the United Nations (U.N.) rests in the hands of the nine countries making up the body’s Credentials Committee, including the United States, China and Russia.

The Islamic militant group wrote the U.N. Secretary-General, Portugal’s Antonio Guterres, Monday to request permission to participate in the ongoing gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, according to The Associated Press. Five days prior, Afghanistan’s current ambassador to the U.N., Ghulam, Isaczai, provided Guterres with a list of the Afghan government’s delegation for the proceedings.

Quoted in Il Foglio (Italy), “The return of the Taliban is “the grave of Western illusions” about Islam,” Sept. 4, 2021:

Yes, but soon the Taliban could sit in key posts at the UN. Under the deposed government of Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan had received a four-year term (2021-2025) in the Commission on the Status of Women. Afghanistan had been elected to UNESCO for four years (2019-2023) and to the Commission on Narcotics. The former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said that it is “likely” that the Taliban will soon sit on these commissions, also considering that Iran and Saudi Arabia have already passed through the commission on women, countries where they torture and arrest themselves women who do not wear the veil. Hillel Neuer of Un Watch writes: “The UN and the international community are adopting a policy of pacification towards the Taliban.”

AOC and The Squad Oppose Iron Dome Funding Bill

Interviewed on Sky News Australia, “‘Very sad’ AOC has an ‘irrational hatred of Israel’,” Sept. 26, 2021:

Executive Director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer says it is “very sad” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted ‘present’ on a bill funding Israel’s Iron Dome, which showed an “irrational hatred of Israel”.

Mr Neuer said Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘present’ vote on a bill funding Israel’s Iron Dome was a “betrayal of progressive values”.

“The Iron Dome defence system, that was under review this week at Congress, to replenish Israel’s stocks after more than 4000 Hamas rockets were fired at Israeli civilians,” Mr Neuer told Sky News host Sharri Markson.

“The notion that AOC and her colleagues Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who claim to be progressive and humanitarian, would be doing something that eliminates defence for civilians and effectively empowers terrorists … is truly unbelievable.”

Segment on UN weighing Taliban request to fill Afghan seat on UN Women’s Rights Commission below:

EU Moves to Condition UNRWA Aid Over Incitement

Cited on i24 News, “EU Parliament moves to condition UNRWA aid over PA incitement,” Sept. 30, 2021:

The issue of anti-Israel incitement runs deeper than the textbooks, according to UN Watch, an NGO based in Geneva that monitors the international body for bias against the Jewish state.

UN Watch this past summer released a report highlighting more than 100 UNRWA educators and staff who have publicly promoted violence and antisemitism on social media.

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.

Iranian Guards Sexually Assault Female UN Nuclear Inspectors

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “Iranian guards sexually assaulted female IAEA inspectors – report,” Sept. 14, 2021:

Domestic violence, marital rape, early and forced marriage are all offenses that Iranian authorities have failed to criminalize, according to Amnesty International. These offenses and other gender-based violence against women remain widespread in the country, according to Amnesty International.

Authorities have also failed to take steps against men who kill their wives or daughters and the legal age for marriage is 13, although men can obtain permission to marry their daughters and granddaughters earlier, said Amnesty International.

“Electing the Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, at the time. “It’s absurd — and morally reprehensible.”

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UN Watch’s Top Tweets in September 2021

Trending UN Watch tweets from September: Pakistan PM Imran Khan shills for the Taliban; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The Squad oppose funding the Iron Dome; Taliban ask