(UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferre; Wikimedia Commons)
Miloon Kothari

All three members of a UN inquiry into Israel have now revealed their antisemitic prejudices.

By Pesach Benson, United with Israel

In an unusual move, the President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) called out antisemitic remarks made by a member of a commission investigating alleged Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians.

Miloon Kothari is one of three investigators on a controversial and unprecedented open-ended UN commission of inquiry created by the Geneva-based UNHRC. It’s widely believed that the inquiry’s ultimate aim is to label Israel as an “apartheid state.”

In a podcast interview last week with Mondoweiss, a virulently anti-Israel website, Kothari claimed that social media is controlled by Jews and questioned if Israel deserved to have its UN membership revoked.

“We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by, whether it is the Jewish lobby or it is specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us,” said Kothari, an Indian architect.

“”I would go as far as to raise the question is why are they even a member of the United Nations,” Kothari continued, accusing Israel of being in “systemic violation” of U.N. resolutions, international human rights law, humanitarian law and criminal law.”

Kothari also accused of Israel practicing “apartheid” and “settler colonialism” against the Palestinians.

Navi Pillay, the head of the probe, quickly came to Kothari’s defense, saying the remarks reflected the commission’s “disappointment” with Israel’s “continued lack of cooperation.”

Israeli Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar, who represents Israel at the Geneva-based UN agencies, slammed Pillay’s “defense of the indefensible” in a letter to UNHRC President Federico Villegas.

The letter, which was seen by AFP, said Pillay “endorsed anti-Semitism.”

AFP also reported that Villegas sent a letter to Pillay noting that Kothari’s remarks “could reasonably be interpreted as stigmatization of the Jewish people, which… is at the heart of any expression of antisemitism.”

Villegas added, “I would respectfully suggest that Commissioner Kothari consider the possibility of publicly clarifying his unfortunate comments and his intentions behind them.”

So far, Kothari has issued no such clarification.

Other Western diplomats criticized Kothari’s remarks.

U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt characterized Kothari’s remarks as “outrageous,” insisting that it was “wholly unacceptable that such comments would come from an appointed member of a Commission of Inquiry.”

History of Hate

Ambassador Shahar’s letter also called for the resignations of the commission of inquiry’s other two investigators, South African jurist Navi Pillay and Australian human rights lawyer Chris Sidoti.

UN Watch called out Pillay in February citing her history of prejudiced statements against Israel.

In a joint letter addressed to President Joe Biden on June 14, 2021, Pillay decried Israel’s “domination and oppression of the Palestinian people,” and called on the U.S. to “address the root causes of the violence” by ending Israel’s “ever-expanding discrimination and systemic oppression.”

UN Watch said “Pillay publicly declared Israel guilty of the very crimes she is meant to impartially investigate.”

Israel is the only country whose human rights record is a permanent agenda item for the UN Human Rights Council. Although UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and previous High Commissioners criticized the council for only subjecting Israel to this level of scrutiny, Pillay has repeatedly defended this discrimination.

Pillay has also advocated for the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court and supported Palestinian efforts to label Israel as a criminal state “through the language and mechanisms of international law.”

Sidoti has been associated with pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations that raise questions about his own impartiality, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

He has written for and been described as a “close friend and ally” with a Palestinian NGO called the Independent Commission for Human Rights. The Ramallah-based ICHR refers to the Israeli Defense Forces as the Israeli Occupation Forces, or IOF for short. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, the ICHR claimed “the IOF committed crimes against humanity.”

Sidoti is also closely associated with he “Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ), which in 2021 called on the Australian government to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel.

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