(August 4, 2022 / JNS) The term “Jewish lobby” used by an investigator associated with the United Nations sparked accusations of anti-Semitism in Israel, prompting calls for his resignation and an apology from the investigator on Thursday.
Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor, blasted the apology in a tweet: “Shocking letter from Miloon Kothari to UNHRC president. He admits that his remarks were not taken out of context as claimed by [former U.N. high commissioner for human rights] Navi Pillay; blames them on supposed ‘vitriolic personal attacks’; doubles down on work of the COI [Commission of Inquiry].”
One of three members of a U.N. Commission of Inquiry looking into human-rights violations in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Miloon Kothari sparked outrage following an interview with the website Mondoweiss that was published on July 25.
When questioned about member states’ criticisms of the commission, Kothari referred to broader attempts to sabotage the inquiry.
“We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by, whether it is the Jewish lobby or it is specific NGOs, a lot of money being thrown into trying to discredit us,” he said in a letter to Federico Villegas, president of the Human Rights Council.
“I wish to sincerely express my regret and unequivocally apologize for using the words ‘the Jewish lobby,’ ” he said. “The offense I have caused by using these words has deeply distressed me.”
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