The UN Watch organization has sent a detailed letter to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights demanding an end to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic discrimination.
The letter charges the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with ignoring former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s pledge that "the human rights machinery of the United Nations has been mobilized in the battle against anti-Semitism."
It was sent on April 28 to Commissioner Navi Pillay by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel C. Neuer.
The immediate reason for the letter was the UNHRC’s refusal to remove from its website an anti-Semitic text (A/HRC/13/NGO/23) that falsely accuses Israeli doctors of a racist conspiracy to steal organs from Palestinian Authority Arabs. The text was submitted by the International Organization for Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a group created in Libya and closely tied to Muammar Kaddafi’s regime
You Screened Us, Why Not Them?
Neuer charges that although the UNHRC justifies retaining the text on the grounds that the UN plays no screening role in publishing submissions it receives, "that premise is demonstrably untrue." He provides several examples of texts submitted by his own organization which were strongly screened, and "until we made the required changes, your office informed us, processing of our statement was ‘suspended.’"
Neuer also noted another anti-Semitic statement by the same group that was published, distributed and web-hosted under the imprimatur of the UN Human Rights Council. Published in September 2008, the statement (A/HRC/9/NGO/1) called Israel an "illegal state," and accused "Jews everywhere" of having "forgotten the terrors of the Holocaust to such an extent as to allow Israel to pursue and inflict one on the Palestinian people." The statement remains on the UNHRC site even now.
Neuer then summed up the UNHRC’s record on Israel in its four years of existence: 40 condemnations of countries, including 33 against Israel… Of its nine emergency sessions criticizing countries, six have been against Israel. Recent and well-publicized killings of innocents in Iran, China, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe have gone completely ignored… The council’s agenda that governs every session features a permanent item targeting Israel; no other country in the world is singled out in this fashion.
UN Watch wrote to the UNHRC:
"Secretary-General Annan specifically called on your office – whose resources include 982 employees and a budget in this biennium increasing from $312.7 million to $407.4 million – to ‘actively explore ways of combating anti-Semitism more effectively in the future.’ He called on all parts of the Secretariat to be vigilant. Madame High Commissioner, where is this vigilance?
"Secretary-General Annan concluded his call to action by proclaiming that ‘Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home, too.’ Yet Madame High Commissioner, how can this be possible so long as your website continues to host a statement that, to a worldwide audience, declares ‘Jews everywhere’ to be evil?"
UN Watch is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva whose mandate is to "monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter." Its mission statement notes that the "disproportionate attention and unfair treatment applied by the UN toward Israel over the years offers an object lesson (though not the only one) in how due process, equal treatment, and other fundamental principles of the UN Charter are often ignored or selectively upheld."