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JNS quoted B’nai B’rith International Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels in an article covering Jewish groups’ and leaders’ responses to anti-Semitic remarks made by Miloon Kothari, a member of the U.N.’s latest anti-Israel “Commission of Inquiry.”

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A U.N. investigator examining the Israel-Palestinian conflict questioned Israel’s membership in the world body and accused the “Jewish Lobby” of controlling media in a podcast published on July 25.

“We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs,” said Indian human-rights expert Miloon Kothari in an interview with Mondoweiss contributor David Kattenburg.

Kothari is part of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel.”

He was discussing opposition to the commission’s mandate when he made claims regarding the existence of a “Jewish lobby” controlling social media.

Established in July 2021 in response to a UNHRC resolution adopted after the end of “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May 2021, the commission had a mandate to investigate “alleged violations of international humanitarian law” and “alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Kothari was speaking to Kattenburg in the wake of the release of the commission’s first report in June, which called Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights a “belligerent occupation” and accused Israel of “forcible population transfers, failure to uphold laws of war, violation and abuses of individual, collective, social, cultural and economic rights, and attacking civic space.”

“Israel has no intention of ending the occupation,” said Kothari, claiming that Israel has not been cooperative with the commission’s investigations.

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

“The Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a U.N. member state,” he added, saying Israel “consistently either directly or through the United States” works to allegedly “undermine U.N. mechanisms.”

Aside from claiming Israel was unfit for U.N. membership and not cooperating with the commission’s investigation, Kothari also accused of Israel practicing “apartheid”  and “settler colonialism” against the Palestinians.


B’nai Brith international director of United Nations and intercommunal affairs David Michaels told JNS that Kothari’s comments disqualified him from working in the commission. “If this outrageous and absurd claim wasn’t anti-Semitism,” said Michaels, “I don’t know what is.”

UNHRC spokesman Rolando Gomez told JNS that the Council’s President Ambassador Federico Villegas has “expressed concern about certain comments contained in the Mondoweiss interview” and has “raised the matter” with the chairperson of the Commission Navi Pillay.

“The Human Rights Council takes a firm stance against anti-Semitism, including any form of stigmatization against the Jewish people,” he said.

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

Speaking to JNS, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that “generally” members of such U.N. commissions “wrapped” their attacks against Israel as “against Zionism and against the Jewish state.”

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