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