Interviewed on Israeli TV by Lital Shemesh, Hillel Neuer addressed the scandal over UN commissioner Miloon Kothari who railed against “the Jewish Lobby” and questioned Israel’s right to be a member of the United Nation. Anti-Israel bias pervades the UN, said Neuer, and he called to dissolve the bigoted commission of inquiry on Israel. August 4, 2022.
Channel 14, Lital Shemesh: Hello, Shalom. Good evening, thank you for joining us.
Hillel Neuer: Thank you Lital, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Channel 14: So, basically, this commission member is questioning whether Israel should even be a member in the UN.
Hillel Neuer: That is correct. This is an investigator of a commission of inquiry who is obliged to be impartial, and in an interview, he actually questioned Israel’s right to be a member of the UN. He has never questioned the right of Iran, Syria, Pakistan, China or Venezuela to be in the UN. But on Israel, he is questioning their right to be in the UN. It’s absolutely outrageous.
Channel 14: And the other members of the UN Council, how are they tolerating this?
Hillel Neuer: Well look, this Human Rights Council created this commission of inquiry one year ago, because of a resolution by Pakistan on behalf of the Islamic states and the PLO. So the Commission of Inquiry from the very beginning was designed to target Israel, to promote Hamas.
But I have to say we have seen something interesting, and I think we should give some credit to the Israeli diplomats: 15 countries have now condemned this antisemitic investigator – not only the United States and Canada, but Belgium, Norway, France, Germany, Austria – 15 countries have now condemned him for antisemitism. Even the UN Secretary-General has called out Mr. Miloon Kothari for his antisemitic remarks. That’s a good thing.
Channel 14: Wow, and now you’re saying that this commissioner needs to be fired?
Hillel Neuer: Well, absolutely. Look, the UN rules are clear: UN investigators, including members of a Commission of Inquiry, are obliged to be impartial, and this includes, in the language of the UN rules, having no prior public statements that show bias towards one side. These investigators, including the chair Navi Pillay, are extremely biased. The chair, herself, Navi Pillay, has said that countries should “sanction apartheid Israel!” – she signed a petition two years ago, calling on countries to boycott, what she calls, apartheid Israel. So, it’s absolutely absurd that Navi Pillay, or Miloon Kothari should be on this commission.
They should be removed immediately, and of course the commission itself should be disbanded. The entire purpose of the commission is to strengthen the Hamas terrorist organization, to weaken Israel. It has nothing to do with justice; this commission is a travesty of justice.
Channel 14: I think that you were talking about strengthening the Palestinian Authority. In general, the UN is funding UNRWA, who is basically maintaining this conflict, not solving it.
Hillel Neuer: That is correct, and indeed it was the Swiss foreign minister who is today the President of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis, who said, just a few years ago, exactly as you put it Lital: “UNRWA is not solving the conflict, it is only perpetuating the conflict.” Money that we are giving, we in the Western states, democracies, are funding this conflict going forward and UNRWA is not there to solve it. For example, UNRWA is funding two million Palestinians who are in Jordan, who’ve been there for 70 years. They are Jordanian citizens; they are not refugees.
The whole point of UNRWA is to basically undo 1948, to undo the borders of Israel, to send back millions of Palestinians who were not born in Israel. It’s absolutely absurd. It is not there to help Palestinians; it is there, as you said, to perpetuate the conflict. And America is giving hundreds of millions of dollars. Biden just announced, I think, just announced $200 million more. Germany is funding it, all the European countries, Canada is funding it. And they should not be funding something that is designed to perpetuate conflict. And that is what it is.
Channel 14: Unbelievable, and I think that it’s also important to mention that they have one rule, one law, to the refugees of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and another law for all the rest of the refugees in the world.
Hillel Neuer: That is true, Lital, my office in Geneva, Switzerland, is right next to the UN refugee agency. They deal with tens of millions of refugees around the world. They have much less staff than UNRWA, which is only dedicated for the Palestinians. And the point is, the UN refugee agency, called UNHCR, they’re designed to solve refugee problems, to make people stop being refugees. That’s what they do, they resettle people.
UNRWA is the opposite. UNRWA is not trying to help Palestinians settle in Jordan or other places. They’re designed to make sure they’re not settled, so that they will be standing there as an ongoing political grievance, as the State of Israel. In effect, the Palestinians are being used by UNRWA, and its backers, as a political weapon against the State of Israel.
Channel 14: And by the way, we were talking about this commission; you have countries like India, like other countries who are very friendly to Israel. Yet again, in the UN, time and again, you know, choosing the wrong side. Is Israel doing anything about it?
Hillel Neuer: Well, I think Israel is trying very hard to fight against UN bias. We saw that, in recent years, Israel made visits; Israeli leaders made visits to Africa, and we saw that certain African countries changed their votes. It is very much an uphill battle. We are going back 50 years since the Soviet Union, together with the Arab and Islamic States, turned the majority of UN states against Israel, using the oil weapon, using the weapon of sovereign wealth funds. Billions of dollars from Qatar might flow to your country or not, depending on how you vote, and vote trading.
There are 56 Islamic States, there is one Jewish State, and they will vote trade to make sure they get what they want. So it’s very hard for Israel to get countries to change their votes, but it’s very important. And we have to keep fighting to get countries to treat Israel equally, which is what the UN Charter promises.
Channel 14: And you know, I’ve been following your amazing work for quite some time. You’ve been doing an incredible job with UN Watch monitoring what is happening in the UN. I have to ask you, how are you not discouraged with everything that’s been going there for years? It feels as if you’re banging your head against the wall, time and again.
Hillel Neuer: Yes, I think that’s a good question, and indeed, Lital, there are times when I am at the UN sitting there and hearing – not only dictatorships, one after the other, speak about human rights, to hear the Chinese dictatorship speaking about human rights, or Vladimir Putin’s representative, speaking about human rights – but also, democracies that sadly will take the floor and attack the only democracy in the region, which is Israel. And it is discouraging.
But we fight back, we tell the truth, we expose abusers, and I am happy to say that in the past week, as I said, some 15 countries have condemned this antisemitic investigator, UN Secretary-General, even the President of the Human Rights Council. We have supporters, tens and thousands of supporters, around the world, who support us financially, who sign our petitions. It means a lot; we are fighting back, we’re telling the truth, and we have no choice.
The UN is not going away. We have to be there to fight for what is right. To fight for democracy, to fight for freedom, to fight for equal treatment of all states, and we refuse to give up.
Channel 14: And thank God, baruch Hashem, that we have you there in Geneva. Hillel Neuer, thank you so much for joining us.
Hillel Neuer: Thank you for having me, Lital.