Against Moral Inversion
UN Watch Testimony to UN Human Rights Council
Sixth Special Session, Jan. 24, 2008
Delivered by Executive Director Hillel C. Neuer
The nations assembled in this special session on the Gaza Strip, convened by the Arab and Islamic states, face an immediate question. On the proposal to condemn Israel, for the alleged crime of targeting civilians, should they vote for, or against?
Let us consider the proposed resolution. To understand its purpose we are guided best not by the science that studies the conduct of governments, but that which studies the mind. In psychology, attributing one’s own malicious impulses to others is known as projection.
Mr. President, the resolution before us constitutes a classic case of such projection. It is, after all, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations, who deliberately fire rockets—over 200 in the past week alone—at innocent civilians in Sderot and other Israeli towns. It is they who attack from populated areas, using their fellow Palestinians as human shields. It is they who reject the very notion of a distinction between combatants and civilians.
Israel, like the rest of the civilized world, does the opposite. In exercising its right and obligation under international law to defend its citizens from such attacks, Israel risks the lives of its own soldiers to avoid harming civilians. To Israel, causing a civilian casualty is an unintended tragedy; to Hamas, it is a cause for celebration. The world knows this.
The supporters of those who fire rockets at nursery schools summoned us here to accuse Israel of violating international humanitarian law, when in reality it is they who deny—in word and deed—the very premise of that code.
Let us also consider who initiated this session: Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan—each of whom just received the lowest possible rating, Not Free, in the annual world survey by Freedom House. Another is Cuba, which just held an election where the ballots had only one candidate. Are these to be the world’s arbiters of human rights?
The truth is that this session was fixed from the start. Those who sponsored it could introduce a resolution declaring the earth to be flat, and it would be assured of the same automatic majority.
The real question we face is something deeper. Can civilization survive—the values of democracy, freedom and basic humanity—when its underlying ideas are, in such high forums, everywhere under assault?
That may not be decided here today, but every international declaration has its influence. Those countries who genuinely care about the future—of the Middle East, of a credible UN, of civilization—will vote No.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Cuba (exercising a right of reply):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, usually, Cuba doesn’t exercise its rights of reply for non-governmental organizations. We appreciate their interventions in the Council as we did before in the Commission, even when they have views different from ours. If I am responding now, I am exercising this right to answer something which is the antithesis of a non-governmental organization.
I am referring to UN Watch and the executive director, Hillel Neuer. I must say, he produced a Hollywood-type display, speaking to this Council and ambassadors and delegates.
UN Watch is a lucrative organization amply funded by the CIA and Mossad, which is devoted to denigrating certain member states and this Council. He told us that Israel and his own organization are within the so-called “civilized world.” This implied that this special session is in the world of the barbarians. But I don’t know anything greater than the acts of barbarians than are taking place in Gaza — dark hospitals, people without water, and other things that UN Watch and his executive director haven’t talked about.
I won’t take any more time talking about this false organization, whose voice I have never heard criticizing the concentration camps in Guantanamo. I will simply wait for them calmly in New York, where in the NGOs meeting they will have to render accounts. And we will see what to do with their consultative status.