by UN Watch
GENEVA, March 18, 2021 – An Arab Israeli activist defended Israel’s coronavirus vaccination program at the United Nations Human Rights Council after delegates from Iran, Qatar, and the Palestinian Authority accused the Jewish state of racism and discrimination. (Click here for video, now being viewed and shared by thousands on social media.)
“Any attempt to claim that Israel’s vaccine policy is racist is a blatant attempt to smear Israel and distract from the corruption of nations on this very council,” said Yoseph Haddad, who was invited to testify on Monday by UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group based in Geneva.
“Accusations have been made that Israel’s coronavirus vaccine program is ‘racist.’ This is false. Like me, my family, friends and hundreds of thousands of other Israeli Arabs have been vaccinated,” said Haddad, a Christian Arab from Nazareth who works to bridge the Arab minority within Israeli society as a whole.
Haddad’s testimony came in wake of numerous accusations hurled at the Jewish state during the current UNHRC session, which began on February 22 and concludes next week, and is being held virtually.
“Israel refuses to accept its responsibilities as an occupying power, not only in terms of providing vaccines to the Palestinian people but also in preventing them from arriving to Palestinian territories,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki told the council.
“Opting out of this responsibility can only be understood as an Apartheid,” said the delegate from Qatar.
Iran’s delegate accused Israel of “atrocities,” alleging its “denial of providing equitable vaccination facilities for the Palestinians.”
In response, Haddad turned the tables on the accusers.
“Instead of holding the PA accountable, you target Israel. Instead of discussing how Palestinians in Lebanon face discrimination, you attack Israel. Instead of holding nations accountable for human rights abuses, including China which sits on this council while committing genocide against Muslims, you smear my country.”
Haddad expressed pride in his Arab and Israeli identity “because Israel takes care of all it citizens and even others,” and called on countries to emulate its example, “instead of distracting from their own failures by attacking Israel.”
Today: UNHRC Holds Special Debate Targeting Israel
Today, the 47-nation council holds its debate focused on israel, under the only item on its permanent agenda that is devoted to a single country.
In response, UN Watch today at 12 noon New York time is holding a virtual event, featuring Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan, to launch a new website to combat anti-Israeli bigotry at the UN.
“There is no special agenda item on North Korea, Syria, Iran or any other country,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “Only Israel. It’s absurd.”
UN Watch recently released a report that for the first time responds in detail to claims made during the council’s debate targeting Israel.