The United Nations Human Rights Council cut off a video by UN Watch chairman Hillel Neuer because he was quoting the anti-Semitic views of UNRWA teachers and saying their names. Instead of cutting off the person exposing the anti-Semitism, UNHRC should be addressing the anti-Semitism of UN-funded staff members.
UNHRC President Nazhat Khan said Neuer was making “derogatory, insulting and inflammatory remarks” when in fact he was quoting UN employees own Facebook posts. Khan declared: “This amounts to personal attacks. This statement is out of order.”
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) deals directly with Palestinian refugees and has long been accused of not being fit for purpose. Neuer was simply quoting teachers of UNRWA who had made public statements on social media. He was not saying anything against them as individuals, just repeating what they had shared publicly.
A video of the incident can be viewed here:
In response to being cut off, Neuer said on Twitter:
“Dear UNHRC President Nazhat Khan,
On Friday you cut me off while presenting a report on UNRWA teachers’ systemic antisemitism. You read out a prepared statement accusing me of “inflammatory remarks” and ruled me out of order.
I urge you to apologize and rescind your ruling.
Otherwise, I will be calling on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly declare:
1. That my quoting of antisemitic posts by UN teachers can in no way be characterized as “derogatory, insulting and inflammatory remarks” nor as “personal attacks.”
2. That the highest human rights body of the United Nations has just sent a dangerous message to the world when, without any basis, you summarily and arbitrarily blocked me from presenting a report about systemic antisemitism incited daily by the teachers of UNRWA, a UN agency.
3. That the United Nations reaffirms its unequivocal commitment to respecting Freedom of Speech as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that it will support the work of non-governmental delegates in exposing and combating Antisemitism.
In conclusion, Madam President, I urge you to uphold the basic human rights and anti-racism principles upon which the United Nations and your Human Rights Council were founded.”
This is not the only time the UN has this week silenced the voice of those exposing anti-Semitism within UNRWA.
Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations was barred on Monday from bringing a photo into the General Assembly highlighting the anti-Semitic views of a schoolteacher in the Gaza Strip.
Erdan had meant to show the picture during a discussion on the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in an effort to highlight the problem of incitement in UNRWA-operated schools in Gaza. However, a security team was instructed by UNRWA staff to prevent him from entering the General Assembly hall with the photo, which showed an online post by the UNRWA-employed teacher in which he spread anti-Semitic views and quoted Hitler as a source of inspiration.
Erdan addressed the incident in his speech, saying: “I am shocked because I brought here with me a photo of a 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.”
This, he said, was “a very dangerous precedent … preventing my freedom of expression, preventing my freedom of speech, and hiding the truth from the U.N.”