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July 28, 2022 12:24 pm

Israel Calls for Dismissal of UN Commission Over Investigator’s ‘Antisemitic, Racist Remarks’

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: UN.

Israel is calling for the dispersal of the United Nations panel tasked with investigating alleged rights abuses committed during the 2021 Israel-Hamas conflict, citing “antisemitic, racist remarks” made by one of its members about the influence of a so-called “Jewish lobby” on media.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s international spokeswoman, Keren Hajioff, declared that the “international community should be outraged by Miloon Kothari’s antisemitic comments.”

Kothari — a member of the UN’s “International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel” — said on a recent podcast interview that the panel was “very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by whether it’s the Jewish lobby or it’s the specific NGOs. A lot of money is being thrown in to trying to discredit us.”

He later said, “I would go as far as to raise the question as why are they even a member of the United Nations, because they don’t respect — the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a UN member state.”

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Israel, which has previously criticized the body’s open-ended mandate, on Thursday called the COI an example of “moral hypocrisy.”

“His racist remarks about ‘the Jewish lobby’ that controls the media and questioning Israel’s right to exist as a member of the family of nations echo the darkest days of antisemitism,” Hajioff said of Kothari. “The evidence is clear: this illegitimate and biased Commission must be disbanded and its commissioners disqualified from UN work.”

The COI was established last year by the UN Human Rights Council following the 11-day war in May between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation, which it describes as biased and one-sided.

“We are outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel COI,” said the US Permanent Representative to the UNHRC, Michele Taylor, on Thursday. “These unacceptable remarks sadly exacerbate our deep concerns about the open-ended nature and overly broad scope of the COI and the HRC’s disproportionate and biased treatment of Israel.”

Echoing the US envoy’s comments, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield emphasized that “these remarks by a COI commissioner cannot go unaddressed.”

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