Qatar’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Hend Al-Muftah has lost her bid to become chair of a UN human rights forum, after revelations that she had previously made a series of antisemitic and homophobic comments.
Qatar had been lobbying to place Al-Muftah as chair of the upcoming Forum on Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law, set to take place in November and opening the same week Qatar will controversially host the FIFA World Cup.
However, the Qatari bid came unstuck, after UN Watch, an independent human rights monitoring organization based in Geneva, uncovered dozens of discriminatory and conspiratorial tweets between 2011 and 2021, including blaming Israel for 9/11, calling Jews “our enemies,” and calling gays “disgusting.”
In her place, Bahamas Ambassador to the UN Patricia Hermanns will chair the forum.
UN Watch’s director, Hillel Neuer, praised the decision, saying that denying the post to the “ambassador of hate” was “the right thing.”
“Hend Al-Muftah is a rabid antisemite who for over a decade has been tweeting vile hate against Jews and gays while spreading malign conspiracy theories about Western countries. She is the last person in the world who should head a UN forum on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law,” Neuer said.
UN Watch said that Qatar had been making use of its deep pockets to win favor within the UN, including a $20 million “Hall of Qatar” located next to the Human Rights Council Chamber in Geneva.
UN Watch had previously penned an open letter to UN Human Rights Council president Federico Villegas, expressing “grave concern” over the nomination of Al-Muftah.
Among a slew of antisemitic tweets in both Arabic and English, most of which are still available online, Al-Muftah wrote that “the Jews” focused investments in industry and media, “and that is why they dominated, tyrannized and ruled the world.”
“The American Zionist controls the US media,” and “thus it is well-targeted for achieving their anti-Islam everywhere… We learned from a young age that the Jews are our enemies!” Al-Muftah said.
Al-Muftah was the first woman to be appointed to Qatar’s Shura Council, designated as Qatar’s most influential social media figure in 2016, and honored by the British Council in 2019.