The close alliance between United Nations frameworks that demonize Israel and politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) keeps coming to the surface. The latest case materialized on March 15, 2017, when a little known agency — the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) — published a report alleging that beyond “reasonable doubt” Israel is an apartheid regime. The report, authored by the notoriously anti-Israel Richard Falk (also a 9/11 conspiracy theorist) and Virginia Tilley (author of The One State Solution), was subsequently revoked by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, prompting the resignation of the head of UNESCWA.
Examining the NGOs sourced in both documents further demonstrates that the ESCWA’s conclusions are pure political farce. For example, the report demonizes Israeli laws as comprising “a regime of systematic racial discrimination that imposes second-class citizenship on Palestinian citizens of Israel.” Falk and Tilley cite the Israeli NGO Adalah’s “Discriminatory Laws Database,” an online “resource” that does not distinguish between actual laws and long-dead legislative proposals, while also referring to Zionism pejoratively. Tilley’s chapter similarly cites Adalah 13 times, referring to various articles that attack Israeli legislation.
Guterres should be applauded for his swift action in disowning this vituperative report. However, this incident again highlights the lack of oversight that allowed this document to be published in the first place. The authors’ personal biases should have rendered them incapable from the start. Tilley’s extensive self-reference and reliance on political NGOs for much of the text created another huge embarrassment for the UN.