ESCWA, which comprises 18 Arab states in Western Asia, released a report in March concluding that "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole."
The report raised ire in Israel and in the United States. The accusation—often directed against Israel by its critics—has never before been made by a United Nations body.
UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf resigned after what she described as pressure from the secretary general to withdraw the report.
At the time, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the report was published without prior consultation with the UN secretariat and that it therefore does not reflect Guterres's position.
But even after the report had been removed, the NGO UN Watch has found at least 20 posts, tweets or releases by ESCWA accusing Israel of apartheid.
In a letter to Guterres, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer urged the UN chief to intervene on the matter.
"In March, you rightly took action to remove ESCWA's unauthorized publication of a false report that obscenely demonized Israel as an 'apartheid' state... We are therefore alarmed to discover that, despite your clear and unequivocal stand, numerous ESCWA webpages, Facebook posts and tweets continue to display this same 'Israel Apartheid' slur."
The UN Watch noted that even after Khalaf's resignation, her quotes presenting Israel as an apartheid state remain on ESCWA's websites. The agency's Facebook page likewise still presents numerous posts from 2014 to 2017 claiming Israel is an apartheid state like South Africa.
"Former secretary-general Kofi Annan rightly described the General Assembly’s 1975 'Zionism is Racism' resolution as the low point of the UN’s experience with anti-Semitism. ESCWA’s 'Israel apartheid' slurs are but the latest reincarnation of the same libel—and we urge Mr. Guterres to order them removed immediately," Neuer added.