BREAKING: UN panel slams Palestinians for ‘hate speech that fuels antisemitism’
UN WATCH: YOUR VOICE AT THE UNITED NATIONS
First time ever: UN panel urges Palestinians to stop ‘hate speech against Israelis that fuels antisemitism’
UN Watch interventions played key role; Palestinian rep blasts UN Watch for ‘spreading lies & half-truths’
GENEVA, August 30, 2019 — Thanks to UN Watch interventions that included a major legal submission and expert briefings, the UN’s anti-racism committee criticized the Palestinians for the first time in history, calling on Ramallah to combat “hate speech and incitement to violence,” saying it was “concerned” about statements by Palestinian officials, as well as in school textbooks, that promote “hate speech against Israelis” which it found “fuels hatred” and “may incite violence” and “antisemitism.”
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) further called on the Palestinians to “remove any derogatory comments and images from school curricula and textbooks that perpetuate prejudices and hatred.”
In addition, the panel found that Palestinians laws and policies failed to implement UN treaties on racism, or to properly investigate complaints for acts of racial discrimination.
Palestinian Delegate Lashes Out at UN Watch
In wake of the review session two weeks ago, Palestinian representative Ammar Hiajzi lashed out at UN Watch after the Geneva-based non-governmental organization briefed the UN experts on Palestinian incitement.
“We must not allow our discussions to be diverted and side-tracked by those organizations founded and funded to deny the Palestinian narrative, dehumanize the Palestinian people by spreading lies and half-truths about them,” he tweeted on August 15th.
“Mr. Hijazi,” responded UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer on Twitter, “you really should not cast aspersions on UN Watch’s founding. When our founder Morris B. Abram was drafting the UN anti-racism convention in 1964—under which you were just reviewed—your founder Yasser Arafat was fathering modern terrorism.”
Reaction by UN Watch
UN Watch, one of the few NGOs to brief the committee on the Palestinian record, commends the UN experts for calling on the representatives of President Mahmoud Abbas to take action against antisemitism in Palestinian textbooks, and for spotlighting the mistreatment of minorities in Palestinian-controlled areas.
UN Watch’s founder, civil rights leader Morris Abram, was a key drafter of the UN anti-racism committee’s core document, the convention to eliminate racism, when he served as a UN expert in the 1960s. A new book to be published by David Lowe in December, “Touched with Fire: Morris B. Abram and the Battle against Racial and Religious Discrimination,” recounts this history.
What happened this week was unprecedented. Since 1974, when Yasser Arafat and the PLO were welcomed into the United Nations, this is the first time that the world body’s spotlight was officially placed on Palestinian racism, discrimination and antisemitism. Accountability is always the best disinfectant.
UN Watch submitted a major legal submission, and our Legal Advisor Dina Rovner appearedbefore the committee in an expert briefing to document systematic anti-Jewish hate and other forms of racism incited daily by Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials, preachers, school books, TV stations, and social media.
Importantly, several committee experts used UN Watch materials to ask serious questions of the Palestinian delegation.
Sadly, despite their signing of UN treaties, the Palestinian side failed to show any sense of accountability, instead repeatedly pointing the finger at Israel as an excuse. The Palestinians declined to explain why, for example, their newspapers and websites publish grotesque caricatures of Jews that look straight out of Der Sturmer. UN Watch regrets the Palestinian attempt to politicize the review session.
Astonishingly, while dozens of EU-funded Palestinian NGOs routinely address UN sessions on Israeli actions, and submit voluminous reports, not a single one of these groups submitted a report at this first-ever UN review of the Palestinians’ record on racism.
Likewise, international NGOs that claim to care about Palestinian human rights — including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, FIDH, and the International Service for Human Rights — were completely absent. The effective boycott by these groups of a UN meeting on Palestinian human rights was the elephant in the room that no one dared to mention.
UN Watch commended NGO Monitor and IMPACT-se for their interventions with the committee as well.
UN Watch founder Morris B. Abram, expert member of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, addressing the world body on January 15, 1964, when the world body voted to endorse Abram’s draft of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which UN Watch upheld in its appearance at the UN this week.