Hillel Neuer
International human rights lawyer, writer & activist

No, President Hollande, focusing on Israel won’t bring “stability” to Syria, Iraq or Yemen

My open letter to French President Francois Hollande in response to his speech at the Paris Middle East Peace Conference.

January 15, 2017

Dear President François Hollande,

In your speech thjs afternoon, after you cited the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and the struggle against the Islamic State, you sought to justify the focus of today’s Paris summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by saying the Middle East cannot “regain its stability” unless we address “the oldest of its conflicts.”

Are you not aware that today’s Middle East wars in the name of Jihad, and internecine conflicts such as the Sunni-Shiite schism, are 1300 years older than the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Do you really believe that increased world focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue will cause Syria—a country that has disintegrated from Bashar Assad’s genocidal bombings of his Sunni population, backed by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia—to somehow “regain stability”?

Do you really believe that what Israel does or doesn’t do will affect the Islamic State’s genocidal massacre, abductions and rape of Yazidis and Christians in Iraq?

Do you believe it will affect the proxy war in Yemen between Wahhabist Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, in which Saudi-led airstrikes have killed more than 10,000 people?

Are you not really saying, in effect, that all of today’s Middle East wars—their death, destruction, and displacement of millions of refugees, many of whom are fleeing into Europe—can somehow be pinned on the Jewish state?

If not, then why did your country decide to call today’s event a “Middle East” peace conference—when, in fact, it was only about one of the region’s many conflicts (and, in the past six years, the least bloody and consequential of them all)?

In doing so, are you not echoing the U.N.’s frequent resort to euphemism, in its debates, reports, and web-pages, which claim broadly to address “the Middle East,” when in fact they focus only on actions by Israel?

Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director
UN Watch

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."