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JERUSALEM, Israel – Yet another scandal involving alleged antisemitism is roiling a controversial U.N. Commission of Inquiry after it was accused in June of publishing an antisemitic report against Israel.
U.N. experts and human rights groups told Fox News Digital that the Biden administration should strip the U.N. commission of funding that is being used to stoke hatred of Jews and Israel.
Miloon Kothari, a member of the “U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel” that published the report, told an obscure anti-Israel blog, “We are 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 into trying to discredit us,” Kothari declared.
Ambassador Michèle Taylor, the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, tweeted on Thursday, “We are outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel COI [Commission of Inquiry]. These unacceptable remarks sadly exacerbate our deep concerns about the open-ended nature & overly broad scope of the COI and the HRC [Human Rights Council]’s disproportionate & biased treatment of Israel.”
Kothari went as far as to call for Israel to be dismantled in the interview published on July 25 by Mondoweiss, a website deemed “vociferously anti-Israel” by the Anti-Defamation League.
“I would go as far as to raise the question of why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations,” Kothari said, “The Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a U.N. member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine U.N. mechanisms.”
Israel’s permanent mission in Geneva slammed the Commission of Inquiry: “The interview given by Mr. Kothari is just the latest in a number of extremely concerning comments expressed by the members to this commission. Just last month, another member, Chris Sidoti, claimed that some Jews were throwing around accusations of antisemitism ‘like rice at a wedding’ and in fact legitimizing antisemitism against themselves. He also claimed these Jews, who felt they experienced antisemitism, defiled the memory of the six million victims of the Shoah.”
The Israeli mission to the United Nations in Switzerland noted, “These comments completely undermine the experience of many Jewish people, and undermine the global struggle against antisemitism, which is on the rise throughout the world.”
The ADL noted that Mondoweiss, the platform where Kothari delivered his anti-Israel remarks, “posted a cartoon by antisemitic cartoonist Carlos Latuff, who won second place in a 2006 Iranian contest for the ‘best’ cartoon belittling or denying the Holocaust.”
“All three members of the UN inquiry, including its Chair Navi Pillay, were appointed precisely because of their very well-known bias against Israel − which this interview obviously confirms,” said Anne Bayefsky, president of Human Rights Voices and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.
“They fail to satisfy the most elementary requirements and the U.N. promise of impartiality and objectivity. The right thing to do is to defund and disband a mission that brings the U.N. and its top human rights body into deep disrepute,” she told Fox News Digital.
She added, “There really is no way to avoid describing this outburst by Mr. Kothari as anything but a grotesque display of antisemitism. The legitimacy of this U.N. inquiry is shot. It is an ‘inquiry’ supposedly about ‘systematic discrimination’ whose purpose and practice is to engage in systematic discrimination – against the Jewish state and Jews.”
Navi Pillay, the chairwoman of the COI, said in a letter to the president of the Human Rights Council, “The Commission does not question the status or United Nations membership of either of the concerned states of its mandate. The foundations for the legality of the State of Israel, alongside that of the State of Palestine were laid out by General Assembly resolution 181 and are not and never will be in question by this Commission.”
Pillay did not condemn the remarks but rather claimed that “Kothari’s comments on efforts by governments as well as specific NGOs to discredit individual members of the Commission were again deliberately misquoted to imply that ‘social media’ was controlled by the Jewish lobby.”
The Los Angeles-based human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter on Wednesday to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield urging the Biden administration to take action against the Commission of Inquiry.
The Wiesenthal Center termed Kothari’s comments antisemitic and urged the ambassador to “publicly denounce Kothari’s libelous statements, false accusations, and anti-Jewish remarks against America’s ally Israel and the Jewish people.”
The Wiesenthal Center also requested that “the administration voice full support for proposed bipartisan legislation in Congress to eliminate the anti-Israel Commission of Inquiry.”
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted in response to Kothari’s attack on Israel:
“Falsely labeling Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ belies history & the facts. Instead of fueling fringe members within the @UN_HRC who relentlessly promote a clear bias against Israel, the @UN needs to address this prejudice undermining its critical work.”
And while no action has so far been taken against the two members – which observers doubt will happen – a Human Rights Council spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “The Human Rights Council takes a vigilant stance against antisemitism, including any comments or actions seen as stigmatizing the Jewish people. The Council has a long track record speaking out against all forms of discrimination and racism and vehemently condemns such abhorrent acts.”