Hillel Neuer
International human rights lawyer, writer & activist

UN status for antisemitic Hamas front group to be decided today

filastin-gaza-21-3-2014 cartoonScreen Shot 2015-05-28 at 3.57.27 PM

Above: Antisemitic image posted on Facebook by Majed Al-Zeer,
Director-General of the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre

GENEVA, May 28, 2015 – A UN committee dominated by Iran and its allies will decide today whether to grant official observer status to an antisemitic front group of the Hamas terrorist organization, warned UN Watch. The Geneva-based independent monitoring group called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to speak out against a “an alarming development that would negate the very principles of the United Nations.”

According to a UN timetable, the world body’s 19-member Committee on NGOs — which is is stacked with non-democracies including Iran, Sudan, China, Cuba, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, and Venezuela — is scheduled to decide on the application of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) to receive official UN accreditation as a non-governmental observer organization.

Iran, the main backer of Hamas, along with Sudan, also a Hamas ally, have spoken out in support of the group, most recently during a February meeting of the UN committee.

NGO status would allow representatives of the Hamas-linked PRC  to acquire official UN badges, full access to UN facilities and participation in debates in New York, Geneva, and Vienna, and, perhaps most significantly, global legitimacy.

PRC haniyeh

Above: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, center, with (on his left)
Majed Al-Zeer, director-general of the Palestinian Return Centre

Despite its pose as pro-Palestinian human rights group, the PRC is one of the few Palestinian advocacy groups to have been banned by Israel, on account of its deep entanglement with top leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization based in Gaza and abroad.

According to a report in The Telegraph, the PRC “has regularly hosted Palestinian leaders, including [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh, at its annual conferences.”

According to an intelligence digest monitoring worldwide activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, PRC leaders include Ghassan Faour, who is part of Interpal, designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity, for being one of several front groups that “provide support to Hamas and form part of its funding network in Europe”; and Zaher Birawi, head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV, which frequently features Hamas individuals and organizations, and which was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader who is “close to Hamas.”

PRC’s deep ties to senior Hamas officials were further documented in a detailed, 80-page report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The study, replete with photos of PRC leaders with Hamas officials, concludes that the PRC “is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and “some of its senior figures are Hamas activists who found refuge in Britain.”

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."