UN investigator apologises for ‘Jewish lobby’ remark
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

UN investigator apologises for ‘Jewish lobby’ remark

Miloon Kothari sent an apology letter to the head of the UN Human Rights Council, for statements made during a podcast with the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss site.

Miloon Kothari, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Miloon Kothari, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

A United Nations investigator has apologised for recently using the phrase “Jewish lobby” and suggesting that Israel could lose its U.N. membership, comments that drew widespread condemnation, including from U.S. officials.

Miloon Kothari sent an apology letter on Thursday to Federico Villegas, head of the U.N. Human Rights Council, for statements he made during a podcast interview last week with the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss site.

Kothari is a member of the Human Rights Council’s commission to investigate human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that was formed following Israel-Gaza violence in the spring of 2021.

In the interview, he said, “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, but the important thing is our mandate is based on international human rights and humanitarian standards and that we are all seeking the truth.”

He added that “the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a U.N. member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine U.N. mechanisms.”

At the time, the head of the commission, Navi Pillay, defended Kothari’s comments as being taken out of context. Deborah Lipstadt, the State Department’s special envoy on antisemitism, and Michèle Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council, both condemned Kothari’s rhetoric.

“We are outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel COI,” Taylor tweeted last week.

In his letter sent Thursday, Kothari wrote that “It was completely wrong for me to describe the social media as ‘being controlled largely by the Jewish lobby.’ This choice of words was incorrect, inappropriate, and insensitive.”

Israel, which has refused to participate in the U.N. commission’s inquiry, was unsatisfied with Kothari’s apology. A deputy director general at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the statement “pitiful” and “unconvincing.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments