Ronald S. Lauder, World Jewish Congress President
Ronald S. Lauder, World Jewish Congress President Shahar Azran/WJC

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Tuesday denounced recent antisemitic statements and attitudes by members of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry against Israel.

Last week, Commission of Inquiry member Miloon Kothari caused an uproar when he claimed that social media is controlled by a "Jewish lobby" and questioned why the Jewish state is a member of the United Nations.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lauder said, “Any United Nations investigation must be carried out by individuals of the highest moral standing. Unfortunately, this past week has shown us that the members of the Commission of Inquiry are unfit to carry out their sensitive duties.” 

“The statements made by Miloon Kothari during a recent interview in which he claimed Jews control social media and questioned Israel’s standing at a UN member, shine a light on his antisemitic views that will undoubtedly impact the course and results of the Commission. Compounding the issue, and raising further questions, the head of the Inquiry, Ms. Navi Pillay, doubled down on Mr. Kothari’s comments by rejecting all criticism,” he added.

“This issue is too important to allow politics to drive the conversation. I echo the call made by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to recognize that a one-sided Commission of Inquiry composed of openly antisemitic individuals is further proof of the brazen anti-Israel bias at the UN. It’s time to disband the investigation. I thank those members – Austria, Australia, Canada, Czechia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States and the European Union – who have offered their support of this issue,” concluded Lauder.

Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, last week blasted Kothari’s comments and said they are “a disgrace to institutions supposedly dedicated to the rule of law.”

B’nai Brith Canada later called on Western nations to push for the immediate dissolution of the Commission of Inquiry which was set up in response to last year’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.

Kothari is not the only member of the UN commission of inquiry to have come under fire. The committee’s chairperson, Navi Pillay, has a history of anti-Israel statements as well.

In 2014, she condemned Israel for "targeting" UN-run schools and hospitals in Gaza, while failing to mention three UN-run schools in Gaza had been used as rocket warehouses, a gross violation of international law that clearly falls within the category of war crimes.

Weeks before that, Pillay opened an emergency UN debate on Gaza by saying there is a "strong possibility" that Israel is violating law in Gaza, and that could amount to war crimes.

She said the killing of Gaza civilians, especially children, raises concerns on Israel's precautions and respect for proportionality.