(JNS) Congress members are again calling for the dissolution of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Israel following recent controversial remarks by one of the commission’s members.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives said they were deeply disappointed with not only the creation of the permanent COI last year, but that statements by member Miloon Kothari show the COI’s imbalance and prejudice against Israel.
In late July, Kothari—an Indian human-rights expert and investigator with the COI—appeared on a podcast with Mondoweiss contributor David Kattenburg.
In a conversation where he made statements considered antisemitic by the Anti-Defamation League, Kothari told Kattenburg that Israel practiced apartheid and settler colonialism against the Palestinians and denounced criticism of the commission as the work of the Jewish lobby that controls the media.
The letter sent to Guterres was signed by 34 Congress members, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.).
“Mr. Kothari’s comments—reflecting both an abhorrent, deep-seated antisemitism and a rejection of the very legitimacy of the State of Israel—warrant universal condemnation,” wrote the members. “These comments should have no place at the United Nations and clearly demonstrate the lack of impartiality and disproportionate focus on Israel by the COI.”
The letter urged Guterres to take “definitive” action to make it clear that antisemitism has no place in the United Nations by disbanding the inquiry, which the members called one of many attempts to discredit Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council.