Hillel Neuer
International human rights lawyer, writer & activist
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The 10 most insane UN anti-Israel actions of 2017

The year in scapegoating, historical revision, falsehoods, hypocracy and canards
Michael Lynk briefs reporters at UN headquarters in New York on October 26, 2017. (Kim Haughton/UN)
Michael Lynk briefs reporters at UN headquarters in New York on October 26, 2017. (Kim Haughton/UN)

The list you’ve all been waiting for. While there were a myriad of other bona fide anti-Israel resolutions, reports and statements produced in 2017 by U.N. agencies and officials, I regret that I could only include ten.

10. The U.N.’s Beirut-based agency of 18 Arab states published a report accusing Israel of “Apartheid.”

In response, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer took the floor to ask Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, and the others, a simple question: “Where are your Jews?” For once, the room was silenced. UN Watch’s speech went viral on the Internet, with the video viewed 5 million times worldwide.

9. The U.N. women’s rights commission condemned Israel as the world’s only violator of women’s rightsReal abusers of women’s rights, such as Iran, Yemen, and Afghanistan, were ignored.

The next month, UN Watch exposed the U.N.’s election of Saudi Arabia to this same women’s rights commission—and the fact that at least five EU states voted for the Saudis. The story went viral, and created a major scandal in Belgium, where the prime minister eventually admitted their vote and apologized, and sparked controversies in Ireland, Norway and Sweden. Click for video.

8. In June, 16 U.N. agencies signed an agreement with the “State of Palestine” to spend an unprecedented $18 million to fund lawfare attacks on Israel, couched in the language of human rights, international law and “accountability.”

The U.N. campaign seeks to erode Israel’s ability to defend itself from terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah. As noted by Fox News, “UN Watch, an independent monitoring group based in Switzerland, was one of the first places to highlight and criticize the U.N. spending; executive director Hillel Neuer called on the United States, Canada, and Australia and other democracies to ensure that their taxpayer contributions are not being misused to undermine U.N. institutions through an escalation of politicized attacks on Israel.”

7. In October, U.N. Palestine Rapporteur Michael Lynk issued a report advocating an economic boycott of Israeli companies.

When Lynk arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York for his annual press conference, he was startled when three different journalists challenged him over his biased report and mandate. The reporters were prompted by UN Watch’s complaint letter to the Secretary-General which objected to Lynk’s call for a boycott and his ignoring of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Lynk falsely claimed to be “unaware” that he could reference Palestinian violations of human rights.

“Unaware.” U.N. Palestine Rapporteur Michael Lynk

Thanks to UN Watch’s campaign, the U.S. government issued a statement saying that “Mr. Lynk’s remarks, and the very existence of this report, underscore the Human Rights Council’s chronic anti-Israel bias. The United States will continue to oppose attempts to undermine the UN system through actions that unfairly target Israel.”

6. The UN’s World Health Organization singled out Israel as the only violator in the world of “mental, physical and environmental health, ” and, under pressure from Syria’s Assad regime, deleted parts of a report on Israeli actions in the Golan Heights—because they were positive to Israel. 

5. Dubravka Simonovic, the U.N. expert on violence against women, visited Israel and the territories and concluded: When Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault.

UN Watch’s executive director took the floor to challenge the U.N. investigator’s report: “Why did you fail to mention that official Palestinian TV regularly broadcasts Islamic preachers who tell the people how to beat their wives?”

In reaction, the Egyptian chair of the meeting broke with parliamentary protocol: “I would like to say thank you, but I can’t,” said Ambassador Amr Ramadan. “Because I think that you need to respect this council more.” Click for video.

4. In its ritual annual scapegoating of the Jewish state, the UN General Assembly adopted 20 one-sided resolutions against Israel—and only 6 resolutions on the rest of the world combined. Tomorrow, at an emergency meeting called by the Arab and Islamic states to condemn the United States over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a 21st resolution will be adopted criticizing the Jewish state.

3. UNESCO negated its mandate to protect world heritage by adopting a resolution recognizing Hebron—second holiest city in Judaism because of the Tomb of the Patriarchs—as a Palestinian world heritage site.

UN Watch revealed that UNESCO had rejected its own experts’ advice, who opposed the Palestinian nomination on account of failing to properly recognize Hebron’s Jewish and Christian heritage.

2. UNRWA launched a global campaign showing the picture of an 11-year-old girl, “Aya from Gaza,” in a bombed-out building—portraying Israel as a cruel oppressor of Palestinian children—but UN Watch exposed it as a fraud: the photo was actually from Syria. The story went viral online. UNRWA suffered massive embarrassment, and was forced to remove the photo worldwide.

1. The office of U.N. human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein spent the past year preparing to inflame the anti-Israel boycott campaign by drawing up a blacklist of companies that do business in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and other Jewish communities over the 1949 armistice line. The report is due to be submitted this month, and presented before the council in March. UN Watch will take the lead in countering the blacklist, what Nikki Haley this week called the “ugly creation” of the UNHRC.

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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