Senior U.S. Officials Slam UN Expert's 'Antisemitic' Comments on Israel

The U.S. is 'outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel Commission of Inquiry,' the U.S. ambassador to the UNHRC said following remarks by a rights expert questioning the legitimacy of Israel as a UN member

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A billboard commissioned by Israeli rights group B'Tselem hangs near the separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem ahead of Biden's Israel visit, in July.
A billboard commissioned by Israeli rights group B'Tselem hangs near the separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem ahead of Biden's Israel visit, in July.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington

WASHINGTON – Senior U.S. officials sharply condemned the "outrageous" and "antisemitic" comments made by a United Nations expert heading an open-ended Commission of Inquiry on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Miloon Kothari, one of three human rights experts on the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry, told the Mondoweiss website that he "would go as far as to raise the question of why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations." He added that "we are very disheartened by social media that is controlled largely by — whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs."

Is this Israeli politicians' most common lie? LISTEN to Election Overdose

Subscribe
0:00
-- : --

U.S. Ambassador to the UNHRC Michèle Taylor said the U.S. was "outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel COI. 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 & biased treatment of Israel."

Taylor reiterated the U.S. position on the COI, namely that it "firmly opposes the open-ended and vaguely defined nature of the 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."

U.S. antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt said it was "outrageous that a [UN Human Rights Council] appointed human rights expert on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza repeated antisemitic tropes and questioned Israel’s legitimacy as a UN member. It is wholly unacceptable that such comments would come from an appointed member of a Commission of Inquiry."

Monodweiss said in response on Twitter: "Mr. Kothari described efforts by governments and other organizations to discredit the commission. Some groups, individuals, and media outlets have deliberately distorted his statements in a dishonest effort to accuse him of antisemitism."

Kothari "was not making the claim that “social media” is controlled by Jewish lobbying organizations," the tweet read.

Israel has previously accused Kothari of having "appallingly used terms such as 'ethnic cleansing' and 'massacre' in relation to Israeli actions."

The COI was established last year following the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and is the first to have an “ongoing” mandate from the UN rights body. The Biden administration has formally and publicly opposed the COI since its inception, and bipartisan U.S. lawmakers have continuously pushed for its defunding and shuttering.

AIPAC has made legislation focused on its abolition a key lobbying priority, while the U.S. has endeavored to cut its budget by 25 percent in lieu of failing to block its establishment.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op