Hillel Neuer
International human rights lawyer, writer & activist

Today: UN to declare 2014 ‘Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’ — and condemn Israel 6 times

UN chief Ban Ki-moon rejects criticism of UN interpreter caught on hot mic, says he “respects the right of Member states” to adopt resolutions on Israel, which “need to be upheld by all countries”

GENEVA, November 25 – The U.N. General Assembly is poised to condemn Israel in six resolutions today, the most significant of which declares 2014 as a “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

In a related development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has categorically rejected the now-famous UN interpreter’s criticism of anti-Israel bias, caught on an open microphone, through his spokesperson’s response to a reporter’s question seeking the UN chief’s views on the now-famous gaffe, the video of which Prime Minister Netanyahu played to his cabinet meeting last week.

As seen on the above YouTube video, publicized by UN Watch today, Ban’s spokesperson on November 19th told journalists that “the Secretary-General respects the right of the Member States as they move forward on their resolutions” which, he insisted, “need to be upheld by all countries.”

Given that Ban Ki-moon has himself criticized the singling out of Israel by UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council, I am disappointed that he is rejecting and refusing to acknowledge the simple truth of the UN interpreter’s candid and entirely correct observations.

After all, if the secretary-general could voice disappointment at the Human Rights Council’s “decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world,” why can’t he endorse the virtually identical sentiment expressed by the interpreter at this year’s absurd amount of General Assembly resolutions singling out Israel?

Today’s cluster of condemnations will be adopted as the UN observes its annual “Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” which was held four days earlier than usual due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The event is usually held on November 29, to effectively mourn the day the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Beyond the hypocrisy of adopting six resolutions on Israel and none on egregious abusers of human rights such as China, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, there is a particular absurdity in the content of the resolutions.

We have a resolution condemning Israel for its actions on the Golan Heights yet none on Syria’s massacre of 100,000 of its own people; the same text also absurdly asks Israel to immediately hand the population in the Golan over to the murderous rule of Syria’s Assad regime.

There are also resolutions recognizing the self-determination of the Palestinians, even though the UN already recognized Palestine as a state; yet there is no resolution on the right to self-determination of the Tibetans, who really could use such a text.

There will be massive politicization in 2014 at the UN now that it has been declared a year for “Palestinian solidarity.”

The resolution requests the UN “to organize activities to be held during the year, in cooperation with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations.”

Today’s six resolutions can be seen here, marked under “Plenary” (L.12 through L.17)

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."