Lapid issues letter to UN secretary general calling to disband Gaza war probe over member’s ‘antisemitic remarks’

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds  a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 24, 2022. (RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on July 24, 2022. (RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid issues a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanding he disband the ongoing UN Commission of Inquiry into last year’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, over “antisemitic remarks” made by one of the members.

“I am writing to you to demand the immediate removal of all three members of the COI tasked with investigating Israel, and the disbanding of the Commission,” Lapid says in the letter.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres regarding the remarks made by a member of the Gaza war probe, July 31. 2022. (PMO)

“The COI has been fundamentally tainted by the publicly expressed prejudices of its leadership, who do not meet the basic standards of neutrality, independence and impartiality required by the United Nations,” he says.

Earlier this week, Miloon Kothari, a member of the commission, said on a podcast for Mondoweiss, a website highly critical of Israel, that a lot of money was being spent on efforts to “discredit” the UN Human Rights Council, which set up the commission, and that social media was “controlled largely by the Jewish lobby.”

“It’s not only governments. We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by, whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs. A lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us,” Kothari said.

“These antisemitic remarks are a stain on the entire United Nations and are not befitting of a person with such a position of responsibility,” Lapid says.

Lapid mentions that Navi Pillay, who chairs the COI, “chose to defend and excuse” the remarks, “instead of taking a moral stance and repudiating these comments.”

“I urge you to listen to Mr. Kothari’s interview and judge for yourself,” Lapid says.

“Excellency, I call on you today to honor your word in this egregious case, to set the record straight. This cannot stand. Slurs about a ‘Jewish lobby’ that acts to ‘control’ the media, are reminiscent of the darkest days of modern history,” the letter says.

“The fight against antisemitism cannot be waged with words alone, it requires action. This is the time for action; it is time to disband the Commission. From Mr. Kothari’s outrageous slurs to Ms. Pillay’s defense of the indefensible, this Commission does not just endorse antisemitism — it fuels it,” Lapid adds.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during a signing ceremony at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22, 2022 (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

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