Israel Protests ‘Blatant Double Standards’ Over Firing of UN Official Who Condemned Palestinian Rocket Attacks
Israel’s envoy to the United Nations has accused the international body of employing “blatant double standards,” after a high-ranking aid official was fired for condemning Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli targets while other UN personnel have evaded the same fate for harsh criticism of Israel.
Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan sent a sharply worded letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres protesting the firing of Sarah Muscroft — the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA) — after she tweeted, “Relieved to see a ceasefire agreed ending hostilities impacting both Palestinians and Israeli civilians. Such indiscriminate rocket fire of Islamic Jihad provoking Israeli retaliation is condemned.”
Muscroft posted the tweet at the end of the three-day conflict earlier this month between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
“Somehow, it is always open season to criticize Israel, with no repercussions; but if a UN staffer dares to speak against Palestinian terrorism, there is immediate backlash in fear of reprisal,” Erdan told Guterres in the letter delivered on Sunday evening.
Erdan pointed specifically to the recent controversy around Miloon Kothari, a member of the UN’s International Commission of Inquiry into the Occupied Palestinian Territory (COI), who was widely panned for antisemitism after he claimed that social media platforms are under the thumb of the “Jewish lobby.”
“[W]e recently witnessed a clear case in which a UN official who clearly breached the principles of impartiality and neutrality required from a member of an HRC Commission of Inquiry used clear antisemitic vicious parlance, and yet still maintains his
position. HRC Commissioner Miloon Kothari’s interview, where he clearly stated that the Jewish lobby controls the social media, should have been met with a firm response that would have led to his resignation. Outrageous is diplomatic understatement. We expect the UN to act accordingly,” Erdan wrote.
The treatment of Muscroft also stood in stark contrast to the lack of any disciplinary measures against Francesca Albanese, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Palestine.
A tweet posted by Albanese during the fighting in Gaza stated, “An unlawful act of resistance does not make the resistance unlawful. An unlawful act of an unlawful occupation makes the occupation more unlawful (and the list on the desk of the [International Criminal Court] Prosecutor longer).”
Albanese has repeatedly accused Israel of “apartheid,” “genocide” and “war-crimes,” according to UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO monitoring UN activity.
Erdan ended his letter with a call for Muscroft to be reinstated.
“We call on OCHA and the UN to reverse this unfortunate decision which is perceived as a reward for intimidation and threats,” he wrote. “While Israel supports constructive engagement with UN officials and agencies, we cannot accept such blatant double standards.”