Hillel Neuer
International human rights lawyer, writer & activist
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‘Algeria, where are your Jews?’ — UNHRC’s Israel ‘apartheid’ debate

UN Watch silences the Arab countries' condemnation of Israel as an apartheid state, in the UNHRC

When the UN Human Rights Council met on Monday under its permanent targeting Israel, Arab states echoed the now-deleted UN report by Richard Falk which accused Israel of “apartheid.”

After the PLO, Qatar, Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab regimes accused the Jewish state of racism, I took the floor: “Algeria, where are your Jews?”

See the video above — with the interruptions trying to stop me by the Palestinian, Egyptian and Pakistani delegations — and the transcript below.


UN Human Rights Council
Agenda Item 7, targeting Israel
March 20, 2017

PLO:  “Israel has used the worst kinds of abuse, ethnic cleansing and imposing a regime of apartheid.”

Qatar: “Israel continues to exercise apartheid in Palestine, which constitutes a crime against humanity.”

Sudan: “Violence and terrorism are being exercised against the Palestinian people.”

Syria: “Violations including building of apartheid walls… to legitimize theft of land and to Judaize Jerusalem.”

Bahrain: “Separation wall is an example of the apartheid policy practiced by Israel… to legitimize theft of land and to Judaize Jerusalem.”

Bahrain: “The separation wall is an example of the apartheid policy practiced by Israel.”

Saudi Arabia: “Israel’s practices of discrimination and extremism…”

UN Watch (Executive Director Hillel Neuer): Mr. President, let me begin by putting the following on the record: Everything we just heard — from the world’s worst abusers of human rights, of women’s rights, of freedom of religion, of the press, of assembly, of speech — is absolutely false; and, indeed, Orwellian.

Today’s report does not consider Israelis to be deserving of human rights — consistent with the approach of this council, where today’s notorious agenda item against Israel completely ignores their human rights.

Over the weekend, President Abbas announced he was giving his highest medal to Rima Khalaf, who resigned from the Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia, a Beirut-based UN agency of 18 Arab states, after Secretary General Guterres rightly instructed her to remove an absurd report which accused Israel of “apartheid.”

Mr. President, why is Mr. Abbas celebrating a report written by the notorious Richard Falk, after his own Palestinian Mission here, tried in 2010, to remove Mr. Falk on the basis that he was “a partisan of Hamas,” as we know from WikiLeaks?

The accusation against Israel is absurd. Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs…

[Interruption with objections by Palestinians, Egypt, and Pakistan.]

President gives UN Watch back the floor.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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.

Now I’d like to ask the members of that commission, that commissioned that report, the Arab states from which we just heard. Egypt, Iraq, and the others:

How many Jews live in your countries? How many Jews lived in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco?

Once upon a time, the Middle East was full of Jews.

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?

Mr. President, where is the apartheid?

Why is there a UN commission on the Middle East that does not include Israel? From the 1960s and the ‘70s they refuse to include Israel. Where is the apartheid, Mr. President?

Mr. President, why are we meeting today on an agenda item singling out only one state, the Jewish state, for targeting.

Where is the apartheid, Mr. President?

UNHRC chamber goes silent.

About the Author
Hillel Neuer is executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization in Geneva, Switzerland. An international lawyer, Neuer has been described by the Tribune de Genève as a human rights activist who is “feared and dreaded” by the world’s dictatorships. Israel's Ma’ariv newspaper ranked Neuer as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Jewish People in the World.” Hillel Neuer is a renowned speaker who has published widely, testified before the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, and appeared on CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. On September 14, 2016, the City of Chicago adopted a resolution declaring “Hillel Neuer Day” in recognition of his work as “one of the world’s foremost human rights advocates.” In June 2018, McGill University awarded Neuer with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, citing his work as “an innovator” in “creating global platforms for courageous dissidents and champions of human rights from around the world,” and for being “a passionate advocate for human rights, fighting tirelessly against discrimination, torture, and injustice."
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