Jerusalem, 28 July, 2022 (TPS) — “Echo the darkest days of anti-Semitism” – this is how Israel responded to remarks made by Miloon Kothari, a member of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry, who said that “the Jewish Lobby” controls the media and questioned Israel’s right to exist in the UN.
Kothari, one of the three members of the Commission, gave an interview to the Mondoweiss site this week to speak about the situation in Israel and said that “I would go as far as to raise the question of why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations. Because … the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a UN member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine UN mechanisms.”
“We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by – whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs,” he said.
He further accused Israel of being worse than apartheid and of a long list of crimes.
“We will get to the apartheid question at some point in the future,” Kothari said. “We will be looking at discrimination in general, you know, from the river to the sea,” seemingly parroting part of the anti-Israel slogan “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,”
In response, Keren Hajioff, International Spokeswoman for Prime Minister Yair Lapid, stated Thursday that “the international community should be outraged by Miloon Kothari’s anti-Semitic comments.”
“His racist remarks about ‘the Jewish Lobby that controls the media and his questioning Israel’s right to exist as a member of the family of nations — echo the darkest days of anti-Semitism,” she said.
She further criticized the Commission of Inquiry for being “the epitome of moral hypocrisy. It makes a mockery of the UN Human Rights Council’s own supposed standards of independence and impartiality.”
“The evidence is clear: this illegitimate and biased Commission must be disbanded and its commissioners disqualified from UN work,” she demanded.
In May 2021, the UNHRC approved an open-ended investigation of Israel’s alleged “war crimes, treatment of Palestinians, and human rights violations,” the only country-specific agenda item on the Council’s agenda. The Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Israel solely focuses on the actions Israel takes against the terrorist group Hamas.
This unprecedented committee is now a permanent UN fixture with a budget of US $4,151,800 for the year 2022 alone, that reports to the UN twice every year on Israel’s alleged human rights violations.
The COI, in its first report published in June, placed the onus on Israel when it claimed that “the continued occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Palestinians are the key root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict in the region.”
Kothari stated then that “ending Israel’s occupation, in full conformity with Security Council resolutions, remains essential in stopping the persistent cycle of violence. It is only with the ending of occupation that the world can begin to reverse historical injustices and move towards self-determination of the Palestinian peoples.”
Ambassador Michèle Taylor, the US Permanent Representative to the UNHRC, stated that the US is “outraged” by Kothari’s “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel comments. 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.”
The US “firmly opposes the open-ended and vaguely defined nature of the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry on the situation in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. This one-sided, biased approach to Israel does nothing to advance the prospects for peace,” she said.
The UN Human Rights Council members include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Qatar, Egypt, Cuba, China, Venezuela, Mauritania, Sudan, and Libya.
The UNHRC is infamously biased against Israel, with nearly half of its resolutions focused solely on Israel while it ignores war, strife and atrocities committed around the globe. It passed roughly an equal number of resolutions from 2006-2019 condemning Israel and the rest of the world combined.