UN Watchdog Group Demands Secretary-General End Censorship of UNRWA Antisemitism
A prominent watchdog group called on Tuesday for the UN Secretary-General to intervene over what it called the international body’s “ban” on identifying the antisemitism rampant in its Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.
The call came after Hillel Neuer, the head of UN Watch NGO, was prevented from presenting video footage to the UN Human Rights Council containing evidence of antisemitism expressed by UNRWA educators. The video included over 100 examples of such hate speech.
UNHRC President Nazhat Shameem Khan unilaterally cut off Neuer’s speech before he could show the evidence, claiming the video contained “derogatory, insulting and inflammatory remarks” that constituted “personal attacks” on the staff in question, and was therefore “out of order.”
Neuer issued an appeal to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, calling on him to acknowledge that Neuer’s presentation was “perfectly legitimate.”
“The highest human rights body of the United Nations sends a dangerous message to the world when, without any basis, it summarily and arbitrarily blocks human rights activists from presenting a report on systemic antisemitism incited daily by the teachers of UNRWA, a UN agency,” Neuer said.
Days earlier, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan was forcibly stopped from bringing a picture displaying antisemitic incitement by UNRWA educators on social media into the General Assembly.
The censorship of Erdan’s presentation on Monday was carried out by the UN’s own security personnel.
Erdan commented on the incident, “I am shocked because I brought here with me a photo of an UNRWA teacher’s post glorifying the most horrific mass murderer in history, Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, shockingly, I was prevented from bringing in this photo in order to share this proof with the other distinguished ambassadors here.”
“I see it as a very dangerous precedent here,” he said, “preventing my freedom of expression, preventing my freedom of speech, and basically hiding the truth from the UN. But I will continue to fight for the truth.”