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Israeli PM urges UN to disband judicial body over ‘anti-Semitic’ remarks

#Israeli #urges #disband #judicial #body #antiSemitic #remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday increased pressure on the United Nations to disband a commission investigating Israel, appealing to the Secretary-General over “anti-Semitic” remarks by a member of the panel.

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate human rights abuses in Israel and the Palestinian Territories was set up last year by the UN Human Rights Council after an 11-day war between Israel and armed militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has flatly refused to cooperate with the commission, which has so far largely blamed Israel for investigating “all the underlying causes” of the decades-long conflict.

On July 25, Commissioner Miloon Kothari was quoted as alluding to a “Jewish lobby” and questioning whether Israel deserves its UN membership, reviving long-standing claims that the council is biased against the Jewish state.

“These anti-Semitic statements are a disgrace to the entire United Nations and do not befit a person in such a position of responsibility,” Lapid said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Commission was “fundamentally besmirched by the publicly expressed prejudices of its leadership,” Lapid added, calling for “the immediate dismissal of all three members.”

On Friday, Israel’s ambassador in Geneva asked the President of the Council to dissolve the commission.

In an interview published by online publication Mondoweiss on Monday, asked about member states’ criticism of the commission, Kothari pointed to wider efforts to undermine its investigations.

“We are very discouraged by social media, which is largely controlled by the Jewish lobby or certain NGOs. A lot of money is being poured into trying to discredit us,” he said.

Several ambassadors, including those from Britain and the United States, have also expressed outrage at the comments.

Commission chairman Navi Pillay, a former UN law chief, said Kothari’s remarks were “deliberately taken out of context” and “deliberately misquoted”.

She said his comments reflected the commission’s “disappointment at the continued lack of cooperation” from Israel in its investigation.

Lapid called Pillay’s defense of Kothari “false” and accused the commission of “fomenting” anti-Semitism.

“Insults about a ‘Jewish lobby’ that ‘controls’ the media are reminiscent of the darkest days of modern history,” Lapid said.

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