Antisemitism at the United Nations may be as ubiquitous as the UN’s dead silence on human rights violations around the world, but rarely has it been as brazen and transparent as on October 27, 2022. A presentation of a report to the General Assembly of a unique UN Commission of Inquiry on Israel, followed by a press conference with the three inquisitors at UN Headquarters in New York, was nasty, brutish and long-winded. Responding to the evidence-based charges of antisemitism tainting the inquiry and its members, Chair Navi Pillay wailed: “They’re all false and lies.” A response to her lies is essential to recognizing the real dangers of this exceptional UN attack on Israel and the Jewish people.
The Inquiry was created in May 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council at the behest of the Organization of Islamic states,2 joined by Council members and human rights aficionados like China, Libya, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, and Venezuela.3 The “inquiry” garnered zero Western democratic support.4
Quickly appointed as members of the inquiry were three individuals who lacked these qualities: objectivity, impartiality and independence. All those qualifications were mandatory under UN rules5 and all were summarily flouted when the target was the Jewish state. Navi Pillay from South Africa, who was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014, was named as Chair, along with Miloon Kothari from India, and Chris Sidoti of Australia.6 All of them were extreme anti-Israel partisans who had pronounced themselves on the subject matter of the “inquiry” before passing go.7
Public scandals soon followed. Over the past four months, Sidoti ridiculed accusations of antisemitism8, Kothari said the “Jewish lobby” controlled social media and objected to Israel’s membership in the UN,9 and Pillay shamelessly defended them both.10 The UN circled the wagons and left all three reprobates still standing.
The official job description of the “inquiry” is to investigate “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression.”11
But the official summary of the “inquiry’s” first report to the General Assembly, issued on October 20, 2022, announced that the only human rights it dealt with were Palestinian.12 The report ended with a recommendation section directed to Israel, the UN and member states, and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.13 Not a single recommendation was directed to Palestinians. The report never mentioned the word terror. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad never appeared. It was, in short, a farce masquerading as law.
The General Assembly: October 27, 2022
On October 27, 2022, the three inquisitors demonstrated why the world’s worst human rights violators are their biggest admirers, and how the UN system has been enlisted in the service of their anti-human rights and antisemitic agenda.
Pillay stage-managed the two-part event, both the “dialogue” with states14 and the news conference.15 She began by presenting the report at the General Assembly’s Third Committee. This Committee is composed of all 193 UN member states and is tasked with addressing human rights, even though the majority of UN members are not free democracies and think human rights protection is for losers. The sources of enthusiastic support for the “inquiry” from this environment was revealing.
Iran – currently engaged in a brutal bloody crackdown on the members of its civil society – participated in the General Assembly dialogue with this:
The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses support for the work of the Commission of Inquiry…The brutal Israeli regime has resorted to a new law in order to hinder the Commission’s work and its cooperation with civil society…Madam Pillay, in your opinion, how critical is the role of civil society in resolving the question of Palestine?16
Iran thus reminded listeners of the true nature of the exercise, namely, cynical political gamesmanship.
Syria – which murdered its own population by means of weapons of mass destruction – told “inquiry” members and the General Assembly:
I would like to thank the Chair and members of the Committee. We fully support your mandate, your efforts, and your report. And actually, we don’t find what was mentioned in your report weird or unreal. This is an ordinary result for a continuous occupation since 1948.17
Thus, Syria reminded listeners of the actual root cause of the conflict, namely, Arab rejection of Jewish self-determination.
Pillay’s presentation was a no holds barred attack on Israel from the UN podium, where she sat beside her two colleagues, accompanied by the Third Committee’s Chair, Ambassador José Blanco of the Dominican Republic. When she finished her tirade, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan was given the floor.
Ambassador Erdan criticized the report, pointed to the bias of its authors, and introduced actual victims of Palestinian terror that were physically present in the seats behind him and dehumanized by the report.18
The next move was extraordinary. The Chair did not proceed simply to call the next speaker. Instead, Ambassador Blanco said:
Before we continue with the statement of the State of Palestine, I would like to recall to the Delegation of Israel that let’s stick to the text of the document and let’s avoid personal attacks or provocations for Members of the Commission.19
Such a reprimand from the Chair of the Third Committee to the Ambassador of any state – let alone a state responding to a direct attack on its legitimacy and its people – was unprecedented.
Blanco had no comment for the next speaker, the representative of the “State of Palestine,” after her series of vicious slanders like apartheid, killing, maiming, domination, and oppression.20 Just “Thank you very much.”
A few minutes later, the Chair gave the high-ranking Deputy Permanent Representative of Czechia (the Czech Republic), Miroslav Klíma, the same treatment he had meted out to Ambassador Erdan. Klíma said:
We were shocked by a recent interview in which one of the members of the Commission used terms such as ‘Jewish lobby’ and questioned Israeli UN membership. We strongly reject any form of antisemitism. Such comments contribute to the polarization of the situation and threaten to undermine the impartiality of the UN human rights mechanisms.21
Whereupon the Chair responded: “I remind all delegations that we should focus on the report being submitted and avoid personal attacks on members of the Commission.”22
This was not some trivial development in UN minutiae. It was an outrageous effort by the leadership of the General Assembly to silence the voices of member states objecting to antisemitism, and especially antisemitism emanating from a UN source. The UN apparatus had decided Kothari and his grotesque antisemitism, and his defenders, deserved protection and that it was the Israeli Ambassador and the Czech Deputy Perm Rep objecting to antisemitism who offended.
UN rules demanding impartiality, objectivity, independence, as well as personal integrity,23 are personal by definition. There’s nothing impersonal about personal integrity. The authors of the report don’t have immunity from fundamental breaches of key operating standards. And their bias goes to the heart of the credibility of their report.
So how did this contemptible action by the General Assembly’s top brass to curtail member states from naming and shaming the purveyors of modern antisemitism occur? Pillay herself exposed the source at the subsequent news conference. She said:
All three of us are not antisemitic. Let me make that clear. And then to add insult to injury, they said that the report is also antisemitic. Now, there isn’t one word in this report that can even be interpreted as antisemitic. Of course, it’s not new to us that this is always raised as a diversion. The President of the General Assembly [sic24] asked them to address the content of the report…We should not be subject to abuse such as this, which is just totally false. I don’t want to go into all the things they said. They’re all false and lies.25
The public criticism of the Israeli Ambassador and the Czechian representative – and the intimidation of all the other diplomats who might have attempted now or in the future to object to UN-driven antisemitism – had originated with the antisemitic bullies on the inquiry themselves.
Pillay’s outburst corroborated the very conclusion she was trying so hard to avoid. She had spent a high-profile career as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014 and thereafter, peddling dangerous falsehoods about Israel and the Jewish people: blood libels such as Israelis deliberately target the innocent and murder children,26 and the Jewish state is racist.27 The claim that charges of antisemitism are a “diversion” is the diversion of the antisemite. The whine of the abusers that they are the abused is the classic diversion from the hurt of their victims, the victims of the Palestinian violence that Pillay and company incite and excuse. What’s totally false is that she and her crew are immune from criticism, and that well-documented charges of antisemitism are off limits because she says so.
Lies from Navi Pillay and the UN Commission of Inquiry
Pillay’s claim that the criticism directed at the inquisitors and their reports was “all false and lies” was deceptive propaganda. What follows, therefore, is a closer look at just some of the lies that should not be allowed to travel around the world before the truth gets its pants on.
Lie number one.
At the press conference a reporter from I24 News28 addressed the members of the “inquiry” with this question:
you’re already on record vocally as declaring Israel as an apartheid state. You’re vocally a proponent of boycotting and sanctioning Israel. Three weeks before you were appointed chairwoman of this Commission, you were signatory to a letter to President Biden attempting to implement punishment on Israel. So you have essentially prejudged every matter that is before this Commission in one form or fashion…How can you sit here and tell the world that this is an impartial commission?29
it’s all news to me that I have done all this. I have signed no petition or made no statement…I’d like to see it. I’ve never seen it. You know, because then maybe somebody has used my name, I want to know.30
That was a lie. She did sign the statement, an open letter to President Biden dated June 14, 2021.31 It’s easily accessible on the web – with her name on it, identified as former UN High Commissioner.32 It was issued shortly before she was appointed to the job of determining the same facts that the letter had pre-determined.
The letter says such things as:
We, the undersigned global coalition of leaders…call for U.S. leadership to take action to help bring an end to Israel’s institutionalized domination and oppression of the Palestinian people…[T]he United States must address the root causes of the violence… Your administration must apply concerted diplomatic pressure to help end the ever-expanding discrimination and systemic oppression and ensure accountability for Israeli authorities that violate Palestinian rights.33
(The undersigned global coalition of leaders – which included Pillay – made no call for pressure or accountability for any Palestinian violation of Israeli rights.)
Given the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry is to find “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression” – the charge of prejudging was exactly right.
Lie number two.
In the same press conference exchange, Pillay said she wanted to know where her signature on the June 14, 2021 open letter to President Biden could be found, as if it was all news to her. If we pretend for a moment that she didn’t sign it knowingly in the first place, she has certainly known for almost a year that her name was on it.
Numerous public complaints of bias have directed readers to her signature on that very document – and provided the link for her viewing ease. She has never removed what she now claims she didn’t approve.
Lie number three.
Pillay told reporters at the news conference when asked about her bias “all that’s been twisted into that I’m a campaigner for BDS. You know, I truly am not.”34
Actually, on November 29, 2017, Pillay spoke at a special event for “United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” Here she is in her own words after speaking about the world-wide boycott and sanctions campaign against apartheid South Africa:
I hope that the Palestinian struggle to end colonization gains this kind of momentum, especially in the civilian campaign of BDS, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions…On the BDS campaign. I’m very pleased to hear that there’s so much activity and support from South African civil society activists as well.35
On June 18, 2020 she signed a public letter organized by the South African BDS Coalition. The letter said:
We endorse the Palestinian call for banning arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel; suspending free trade agreements with Israel; prohibiting trade with illegal Israeli settlements and accountability from individuals and corporate actors complicit in Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime…We demand that our governments fulfil their obligations under international law by: Adopting a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly which renews the call for, and provides the means to implement, targeted and lawful sanctions on Israel, including a military embargo.36
Pillay’s signature on the letter is accessible on the web, where it has been for over two years, and has been drawn to her attention multiple times.
Lie number four.
The “inquiry” on Israel is not discriminatory. Israel is treated in the same way as what the inquisitors consider to be the relevant comparisons: Ukraine (subject to a Russian invasion characterized by the daily targeting of civilians for 10 months); Syria (responsible for using chemical weapons against its own population and the murder of over 200,000 civilians in the last decade); and Myanmar (where grotesque forms of ethnic cleansing, sexual violence, and infanticide have victimized hundreds of thousands).
On this lie, not only is the democratic state of Israel not comparable to the human rights degenerates running Russia, Syria and Myanmar, the UN operations directed at these countries are not identical to the Israel “inquiry” – even according to Pillay and her colleagues. On the contrary, the members of the “inquiry” have repeatedly crowed that their mandate is a unique UN attack on Israel.
Here’s Pillay at the October UN press conference:
this morning we presented our first report to the General Assembly, and that alone is unusual. Commissions of Inquiry do not get the mandate to deliver in Geneva and here, and the reports we delivered are different.37
She also said: “Unlike other commissions, we have an open-ended mandate.”38
At the General Assembly Pillay herself expressly referred to “the unique mandate we are given.”39
Moreover, in a June news conference in Geneva, held after presenting their first report to the UN Human Rights Council, Pillay said: “we are very interested in the part of the mandate that requires us to identify individuals who are responsible and to work with judicial institutions for possible prosecutions and to secure justice. So all this is new.”40 On the same occasion, Chris Sidoti said: “the way in which accountability is framed in the mandate it’s different from other commissions of inquiry.”41
Lie number five.
These anti-Israel and anti-Jewish partisans are very keen on establishing their credentials by bloviating that all they’re doing is “law.” Irritated by the criticism, Pillay lectured states at the General Assembly: “if you read the report you’ll see clearly it’s based on law.”42 And she told the press conference: “how would I exercise the prejudice anyway? I’m dealing with international law here.”43
Not so. They are political hacks hired by political actors to conduct a political onslaught. Here’s “inquiry” member Miloon Kothari – who is not a lawyer – admitting to their non-legal agenda at the same press conference:
It’s quite different this mandate. If I may dare to say, it goes into the political issue rather than just reporting on violations, who killed who, and what happened.44
Of course, there is a reason these inquisitors cannot accurately apply the law to what actually happened. They don’t know the facts, including the realities facing military and security forces that might allow an armchair general to apply the legal standards associated with self-defense. And they don’t care.
Pillay herself said at the June news conference: “we want everyone to take this commission seriously because it’s the first time it can look into political questions which you can’t do under the Human Rights Council regular mandates.”45
At the October news conference a reporter asked Pillay: “imagine…the Government of Israel, the leaders of Palestinians, and even the President of the United States ask you, what we should do, what is the solution to our problem?”46 Addressing the global audience in response was one person, an anti-Israel radical appointed by anti-Israel radical states and their UN entourage, an individual having no authority, jurisdiction, knowledge or expertise to decide the terms and conditions of Arab-Israeli peace – let alone overrule the negotiated terms of existing agreements between the parties. And yet, without hesitation, Pillay rattled off a list of demands only for Israel and concluded with this: “I can think of a number of first steps that should be done before they enter into talks.”47
It wasn’t just hubris. This legal fraudster purported to dictate political answers by reciting a Palestinian list of demands – starting with derailing negotiations and eschewing an immediate unconditional halt to violence.
As even the Security Council has repeatedly reaffirmed, negotiations are the only hope to peace because they necessitate acceptance or recognition of the legitimacy of the other, while Pillay’s Palestinian clientele haven’t accepted the legitimacy of a Jewish state in 75 years.
Lie number six.
Pillay told the General Assembly and the world’s press corps: “I’m 81 years old, and this is the first time I’ve been accused of antisemitism.”48 Guffaws could be heard in the room.
Take but one example I can provide from as long ago as 2008. Pillay was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and busy mounting a massive campaign to convince countries to back a UN racist “anti-racism” Durban “review conference.” Dubbed “Durban II,” the conference was intended to regurgitate the 2001 “Durban Declaration” and its antisemitic message smearing one country with the charge of racism – the Jewish one. At the time, I wrote in The Australian: “Human rights commissioner Navanethem Pillay, who will be the secretary-general of Durban II, has unleashed a wave of misinformation intended to whitewash UN-based anti-Semitism.”49 I also wrote in Forbes: “Durban I was the 2001 U.N. world conference on racism, most famous for spreading anti-Semitism rather than defeating it. Pillay is engaged in a frenzied attempt to silence critics of round two.”50
In this case, Pillay’s deceitful attempt to dodge and deny her role in enabling antisemitism vividly exploded. Pillay responded to the criticisms leading up to Durban II in a press release in March 2009: “[T]he review conference has also been the target of a disparaging media and lobbying campaign on the part of those who fear a repetition of anti-Semitic outbursts. This is unwarranted.”51
A month later, the only head of state to attend her UN confab was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose invective from the UN stage included:
Following the World War II they resorted to military aggressions to make an entire nation homeless on the pretext of Jewish sufferings…The word Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religion and abuses religious sentiments to hide their hatred and ugly faces.52
Lie number seven.
A reporter from the New York Sun53 asked Pillay at the October news conference: “I am told there were several NGOs that sent you all kinds of comments and reports that were ignored. Could you answer that?” Pillay responded:
“One of our first methods was to call for submissions…I think there were 5 million submissions or emails came from one address…It seems that they’re really records of Holocaust victims and so on, so not relevant to us. Our mandate doesn’t require us to look at the Holocaust.”54
The remark should be compared to Pillay’s statement when she opened the news conference:
“We are also mandated to investigate all underlying root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict. So no time limit there. Look at the root causes from time immemorial to now.”55
So the inquisitors could deal with anything they chose from “time immemorial” and decided the that the murder of six million Jews who didn’t have self-determination and the protection of a Jewish state were irrelevant.
Since I submitted the millions of submissions to which she referred, here’s why the voices of Jewish victims ought to have counted in this UN “human rights” world.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, was a Nazi collaborator and propagandist. But Palestinian Arabs called him “Palestine’s national leader,” “our hero,” and “the voice of the Palestinian people.”56 He continues to be a singular role model to the Palestinian terrorists and political leaders of today. If Pillay and company were actually looking for the root cause of the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict, al-Husseini’s antisemitism is key. He wrote the script for how to achieve the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East throughout the 20th and 21st centuries by equating the Jewish presence in the land of Israel with an existential threat to the Muslim faith – thus rendering Palestinian Arab rejectionism of Jewish self-determination intractable, if not insoluble.57 But to Pillay and company, antisemitism was a “diversion.”
Lie number eight.
All of the submissions sent by myself and a group of other non-governmental organizations – in response to the public call for submissions by the “inquiry” – were described by Pillay to the same reporter as: “I think there were 5 million submissions or emails that came from one address…It seems that they’re really records of Holocaust victims.”
Another lie. In fact, we sent 4,890,902 unique submissions in advance of the “inquiry’s” June 2022 report to the Human Rights Council, and another 180,316 unique submissions in advance of their October 2022 report to the General Assembly. These submissions were from multiple sources on a large range of subjects. In addition to submissions from the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and Human Rights Voices, they included:
- 11,699 submissions from Palestinian Media Watch (PMW);58
- 11,132 submissions from AICE and its Jewish Virtual Library;59
- 12,642 submissions from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI);60
- 2,872 submissions from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center;61 and
- 7,807 submissions from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).62
The inquisitors advertised on the UN website that they wanted specifics about “victims.” Over the course of seven months from February to August 2022, we obliged. In addition to the specifics of 4,987,090 victims of antisemitism during the Holocaust and the role and legacy of Nazi collaborator, propagandist and Palestinian role model al-Husseini,63 we sent the individual names and details of
- 613,500 specific Jewish refugees and victims of Arab persecution in the Middle East and North African nations over the past 75 years, individuals who returned to their indigenous homeland in the land of Israel;64
- 4,220 civilian victims murdered in Arab campaigns to eradicate Israel;65
- 24,092 Israeli forces who fell defending their country and its people from Arab Jew-hatred;66
The “inquiry” repeatedly said that its central task was to identify the “root cause” of the conflict. So we sent the evidence that violent Palestinian Jew-hatred is at the root of the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict – including the specifics of
- 5,875 attacks by Palestinian Arabs and their collaborators in the 21st century,
- seven Arab wars against the Jewish state from 1947 on, and
- seventeen defensive Israeli military operations in response to Arab aggression in the 20th and 21st centuries.67
So no, these submissions could not be obscenely dismissed as “only” records of Holocaust victims, nor were they only from one address.
Lie number nine.
Pillay said at the news conference the “inquiry” called for submissions but in the case of our submissions “Some of them are a bit difficult to read.”68
In fact, all of our submissions were in electronic form, readily searchable, and clearly formatted using a standardized template. All they needed in order to comprehend the material, including the volumes of photographic and video evidence, were their lying eyes.
Lie number ten.
Pillay told the press, referring to our submissions, “we didn’t ignore [them].”
False. To give but one example, our submissions included the details of the historical connection of the Jewish people to Hebron from “time immemorial” and the Arab massacre of the Jews of Hebron in 1922. The report mentions Hebron 14 times, does go back to 1922 and makes claims about historical ownership of Hebron. But it turns out that every one of these comments is about Israeli violations of Palestinian “rights” in Hebron. Palestinian violations of the rights of Jews in Hebron over an entire century is never mentioned. And the only historical connection to Hebron that these inquisitors could locate was to Palestinian Arabs.69
So yes, they did ignore.
Lie number eleven.
Pillay boasted to the General Assembly about the “inquiry’s” outreach to so-called “civil society” and how much they value and utilize the input from civil society. In her words:
We’ve consulted very many experts, both from Israel and Palestine and the rest of the world, and here we will continue to do that kind of research and get the opinions of civil society…This Commission began immediately by going straight to civil society representatives and academics who address these issues. Their role is vital to raise awareness of violations and possible international crimes.70
Actually, Pillay and company went straight to civil society representatives and academics – provided their contribution was more Israel-bashing. Those who she belittled at the June news conference as “pro-Israel” sources,71 those who she has labeled as “the extremist Israel lobby,”72 and those who fellow inquisitor Chris Sidoti dismissed as “GONGOs”73 – the acronym for government organized (fake) NGOs – got no calls, no invitations, and no requests for their opinions. They weren’t consulted, they were detoured.
Dismissing the voices of genuinely independent Jewish experts and victims of antisemitism as government of Israel toadies is especially ironic in view of the affiliations of “inquiry” member and allegedly “independent” expert Chris Sidoti. Sidoti, for instance, has had a close working relationship with the Palestinian Authority’s so-called “Independent Commission on Human Rights.”74
Lie number twelve.
When the going got rough at the press conference, “inquiry” members took the unusual step of calling upon the moderator, a UN staffer, for answers. The UN spokesperson for the “Human Rights Council branch” answered a question about the double-standards that the “inquiry” mandate applied to Israel this way:
there are several other open-ended mandates of the Human Rights Council, and all one needs to do is look at the website and you can see the large array of them.75
Actually, when you look at the UN website there is an array of thirty-six “International Commissions of Inquiry, Commissions on Human Rights, Fact-Finding Missions and other Investigations,”76 ever created by the Human Rights Council. In addition to the “inquiry” on Israel, only one other has no end date. That’s the clearly distinguishable case of Myanmar, where there was a prior finding that crimes against humanity had occurred before the permanent mission was created.77 And if “open-ended” includes a permit to investigate from “time immemorial,” the Israel-bashing license stands alone.
Lie number thirteen.
After Pillay’s presentation at the General Assembly, there was an unprecedented intervention by diplomats from eighteen states, and the European Union. Each of them took the floor either to condemn the antisemitism from “inquiry” members or to register objections to the “inquiry” itself. Given the last word, Pillay attempted to brush them all off with this scolding:
let me make absolutely clear, we are not antisemitic. Now there was a reference to statement made by one of the commissioners. This has been dealt fully by the President of the Human Rights Council, who is the proper authority to clear up criticism of the mandate and clear up criticism of those he selected for appointment as commissioners. So I do encourage you to look at the President’s website on that.78
The claim was insulting and false on many levels. Kothari made his overtly antisemitic remarks on July 25, 2022. At the time, criticism was swift and widespread. Nineteen states and the European Union condemned his remarks.79 The President of the Human Rights Council, Ferderico Villegas (Argentina), apparently spoke to Pillay privately about his behavior. Pillay responded by producing a formal public letter directed to the Council President on July 28, 2022.80 In her riposte she made no apologies; on the contrary, she defended her colleagues – no doubt well aware of her own comparable vulnerabilities.
The Council President then produced a written and public reply to Pillay on July 29, 2022 in which he called Kothari’s remarks “unfortunate” and said they “could reasonably be interpreted as the stigmatization of the Jewish people, which, as you’re all aware, is at the heart of any expression of antisemitism.”81 As for taking action, he did nothing. He whimpered that Kothari “consider the possibility” of “publicly clarifying” his comments and intentions. Though his predecessor in the position of President of the Human Rights Council82 had appointed all three inquisitors, he took no action to dismiss Kothari and the others, or to garner support for dismissal in any number of ways at his disposal, starting with a simple declaration that any or all of them had violated the UN “Code of Conduct”83 and were unfit for office.
On August 4, 2022, Kothari wrote to the President of the Human Rights Council to “clarify” his remarks.84 He was apologetic for his “choice of words.” Twice he called his choice of words “insensitive.” Poor Kothari said: “the offence I have caused by using these words has deeply distressed me.” Then he slammed Israel for what he said was “non-compliance” with UN decisions.
And that was the end of it – for the UN. The Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid wrote to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Lapid called upon the Secretary-General to honor his pledge to stand “in the front line of the struggle against antisemitism” by taking the “necessary measures to bring about the immediate resignation of Ms. Pillay and the other commissioners, and the disbanding of the Commission..”85 Israel’s Prime Minister was completely ignored.
As far as the UN was concerned antisemitism from a UN “human rights” official, with a job description to find “discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity,” in a conflict between Jews and non-Jews (Arab or Muslim), had been dealt with “fully” by leaving the antisemitism exponent in the job.
Or more accurately, it hadn’t been dealt with at all.
This UN “inquiry” has only been in operation a year, but it has already left a deep stain on the United Nations. Its creators, enablers and mandate-holders are bent on the demonization and delegitimization of Israel and the self-determination of the Jewish people – the face of modern antisemitism. Evidently, they have no compunction about using deceit to accomplish these ends. Dishonesty that must not be allowed to stand.
* * *
* Thank you to Sarah Willig J.D. for her exceptional research.
1 This paper is one of a series on the UN Human Rights Council’s “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel” (COI). See for more detail: Anne Bayefsky, “The Newest Anti-Israel UN Action Must Be Challenged – Now,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, December 20, 2021, https://jcpa.org/article/the-newest-anti-israel-un-action-must-be-challenged-now; Anne Bayefsky, “The UN Commission of Inquiry: An Exercise in Historical Revisionism,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, June 8, 2022, https://jcpa.org/article/the-un-commission-of-inquiry-an-exercise-in-historical-revisionism; Anne Bayefsky, “The Latest UN Commission of Inquiry on ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ Is an Inquisition,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, June 27, 2022, https://jcpa.org/the-latest-un-commission-of-inquiry-on-occupied-palestinian-territory-is-an-inquisition/; Anne Bayefsky, “The UN Human Rights Council’s “Commission of Inquiry” Goes Openly Antisemitic,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, August 1, 2022, https://jcpa.org/article/the-un-human-rights-councils-commission-of-inquiry-goes-openly-antisemitic/; Anne Bayefsky, “New UN Commission of Inquiry Report a Masterpiece of Modern Antisemitism,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 23, 2022, https://jcpa.org/new-un-commission-of-inquiry-report-a-masterpiece-of-modern-antisemitism/
2 Letter from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan and the Permanent Observer of the “State of Palestine” to the President of the Human Rights Council requesting the convening of a special session “to address the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” May 19, 2021, https://undocs.org/A/HRC/S-30/1
3 “Ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel,” United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/ S-30/1, May 27, 2021, https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/S-30/1
4 Results of the vote on “Ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel,” U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution, A/HRC/RES/S-30/1, May 27, 2021, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/HRCSessions/SpecialSessions/30session/Documents/Vote_Result.pdf
5 “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders,” Annex (Articles 3 (a), 3(e), 5, 8, 13(b)), UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/2, June 18, 2007, https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/5/2; “United Nations Human Rights Council: Institution-building,” Annex, II. Special Procedures, A. Selection and appointment of mandate-holders, Article 39, UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1, June 18, 2007, https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=a/hrc/res/5/1
6 “President of Human Rights Council appoints Members of Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Press Release, July 22, 2021, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=27331&LangID=E
7 See “The ‘Inquiry’ Members,” Human Rights Voices website, https://humanrightsvoices.org/pillays-pogrom/the-inquiry-members/; Anne Bayefsky, “The Newest Anti-Israel UN Action Must Be Challenged – Now,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, December 20, 2021, https://jcpa.org/article/the-newest-anti-israel-un-action-must-be-challenged-now/
8 Chris Sidoti: “Accusations of antisemitism are thrown around like rice at a wedding.” “ID (cont’d): Commission of Inquiry on OPT – 3rd Meeting, 50th Regular Session of Human Rights Council,” UN Webcast, June 14, 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1q/k1qtlzmbs2
9 In an online interview, Miloon Kothari said: “We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by whether it’s the Jewish lobby or it’s the specific NGOs. A lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us.” Referring to Israel, he also told the interviewer: “I would go so far as to raise the question as why are they even a member of the United Nations.” “Mondoweiss Podcast Episode 39: The UN is investigating the root causes of violence between Israelis and Palestinians,” July 25, 2022, http://mondoweiss.libsyn.com/39-investigating-israel-itself-a-conversation-with-un-human-rights-commissioner-miloon-kothari; transcript can be found here: https://hrvoices.org/assets/attachments/articles/Mondoweiss_Podcast_Episode_39_UN_Investigates_Root_Cause_Violence_Israelis_and_Palestinians_July_25_2022-2.docx
10 “Letter from Chair of the COI on the OPT, including East Jerusalem, and Israel to HRC President,” July 28, 2022, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/PresidencyBureau/BureauRegionalGroupsCorrespondence/Correspondence/Letter%20from%20Chair%20of%20the%20COI%20on%20the%20OPT,%20including%20East%20Jerusalem,%20and%20Israel%20to%20HRC%20President.pdf
11 “Ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/ S-30/1, May 27, 2021, https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/S-30/1, para. 10
12 The “Summary” of the report to the General Assembly states that it is only about “the human rights implications for Palestinians.” “Summary,” “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” UN General Assembly, A/77/328, issued October 20, 2022, https://undocs.org/en/A/77/328, p. 2
13 “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” (hereinafter COI), UN General Assembly, A/77/328, issued October 20, 2022, https://undocs.org/en/A/77/328, paras. 92-95
18 “Third Committee, 35th plenary meeting – General Assembly, 77th session,” UN Webcast, October 27, 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1u/k1ukq81w1h. Shani and Asaf Avigal, the parents of five year-old Edo Avigal who was killed by Palestinian rocket fire on May 12, 2021, were present at the meeting and stood with a photo of their son as Ambassador Erdan spoke.
23 “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders,” Annex (Articles 3 (a), 3(e), 5, 8, 13(b)), UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/2, June 18, 2007, https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/5/2; “United Nations Human Rights Council: Institution-building,” Annex, II. Special Procedures, A. Selection and appointment of mandate-holders, Article 39, UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1, June 18, 2007, https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=a/hrc/res/5/1
24 She meant the Chair of the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
26 See for example: Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Council, 21st Special Session, July 23, 2014, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/HRCSessions/SpecialSessions/21stSession/Documents/HC.doc; “Pillay condemns continuing attacks on civilians in Gaza,” OHCHR Press Release, July 31, 2014, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14916&LangID=E; Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Council, 21st Special Session, July 23, 2014, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/HRCSessions/SpecialSessions/21stSession/Documents/HC.doc; “Pillay condemns continuing attacks on civilians in Gaza,” OHCHR Press Release,” July 31, 2014, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14916&LangID=E
27 Pillay was the world’s leading promoter of the manifesto of the Durban Conference (the 2001 UN “anti-racism” conference that declared Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism). She championed “Durban II” in 2009 and “Durban III” in 2011. See for example: “High Commissioner for Human Rights stresses need to tackle discrimination and inequality, and prevent genocide,” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, September 8, 2008, https://www.un.org/en/durbanreview2009/pr_8-9-08.shtm;Tony Eastley and Sarah Collerton, “Anti-racism conference decision looms,” Australia ABC News, March 12, 2009, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-03-12/anti-racism-conference-decision-looms/1617096; Opening remarks by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, at the closing press conference at the Durban Review Conference, April 24, 2009, https://www.un.org/en/durbanreview2009/stmt24-04-09_pillay.shtml; “Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination opens seventy-ninth session,” Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights website, August 8, 2011, https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2011/08/committee-elimination-racial-discrimination-opens-seventy-ninth-session
28 Mike Wagenheim
31 “#NowIsTheTime A global call to President Biden,” Open letter by Now is the Time Coalition, June 14, 2021,
32 “#NowIsTheTime A global call to President Biden,” Open letter by Now is the Time Coalition, June 14, 2021,
35 Pillay continued: “So the Human Rights Council authorized the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a database and a study of businesses that are cooperating in products made in the settlements. Now this is a huge victory…Watch their webpage, and you can always call the Palestinian desk at OHCHR [Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights] to find out when the likely date is.” Judge Navi Pillay; Former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights,” United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Seminar: The Year of Oliver Tambo and The Palestinian Struggle under Apartheid Rule, Pretoria, South Africa, November 29, 2017, Youtube video by Africa4Palestine, posted December 13, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF61qfb5J-k
36 “250+ prominent South Africans call for sanctions to stop annexation,” South African BDS Coalition, June 18, 2020, https://bdsmovement.net/news/250-prominent-south-africans-call-for-sanctions-stop-annexation; The statement: https://mcusercontent.com/36542688e353931ee951122b3/files/f6b47740-527e-4747-bb30-b348b750dd2c/Global_South_Statement_FINAL.pdf; The signatories to the statement: “Endorsements of Global South Statement against Annexation of Palestine,” https://mcusercontent.com/36542688e353931ee951122b3/files/a274a945-68f2-4385-80c0-a6465753fb30/ENDORSEMENTS.pdf
48 “Third Committee, 35th plenary meeting – General Assembly, 77th session,” UN Webcast, October 27, 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1u/k1ukq81w1h; “Press Conference: COI, UN Webcast, October 27, 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1j/k1jzwzf8gg
49 Anne Bayefsky, “When hate states set the agenda,” The Australian, December 23, 2008, Now available only at: https://hrvoices.org/newsletters/when-hate-states-set-the-agenda/
50 Anne Bayefsky, “The U.N.’s Dangerous High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Forbes, December 24, 2008, https://www.forbes.com/2008/12/24/navanethem-pillay-durban-oped-cx_ab_1224bayefsky.html
51 “UN rights chief urges all States to take part in anti-racism conference,” UN News website, March 2, 2009, https://news.un.org/en/story/2009/03/292712
52 “Statement by the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as delivered at the Durban Review Conference,” April 20, 2009, transcript of statement as delivered available at http://www.humanrightsvoices.org/document/statement-by-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-as-delivered-unofficial-transcript (unofficial video available at: (Part 1) at 9:34 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXQvZe9IPmE); (Part 3) at 2:30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq2QMaJ73O4
53 Benny Avni
56 See submission concerning the victims of Jew hatred and incitement by Nazi collaborator and Palestinian leader and mentor Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini, Human Rights Voices, https://hrvoices.org/assets/attachments/documents/Holocaust_Victims_of_Hate_Monger_Al-Husseini.docx
57 See for instance: “Hajj Amin al-Husayni: Arab Nationalist and Muslim Leader,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/hajj-amin-al-husayni-arab-nationalist-and-muslim-leader; Jeffrey Herf, “Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Nazis and the Holocaust: the Origins, Nature and Aftereffects of Collaboration,” Jewish Political Studies Review, Fall 2014, Vol. 26, No. 3/4, pp. 13-37, at p. 17
63 See for submissions and accompanying text: https://hrvoices.org/assets/attachments/documents/Holocaust_Victims_of_Hate_Monger_Al-Husseini.docx; see original names (examples): https://hrvoices.org/pillays-pogrom/touro-college-institute-on-human-rights-and-the-holocaust-submissions
64 See for submissions and accompanying text: https://hrvoices.org/assets/attachments/documents/Jews_from_Arab._Muslim_Lands_Submissions_to_date.docx; see original immigration lists: https://hrvoices.org/pillays-pogrom/touro-college-institute-on-human-rights-and-the-holocaust-submissions
65 See for civilian victims of Arab violence: https://laad.btl.gov.il/Web/He/TerrorVictims/Default.aspx?page=0
66 See for fallen defense and security forces of Israel: https://www.izkor.gov.il/%D7%90%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9F%20%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%A8/en_399451c07d6af2edbb259e94a77362b2
67 Wars: 1947-1949: Israel’s War of Independence; October 29, 1956 -November 7, 1956: Suez Crisis; June 5-10, 1967: Six-Day War; March 1969-August 1970: War of Attrition; October 6-25, 1973: Yom Kippur War; June 1982-September 1982: First Lebanon War; July 12-August 14, 2006: Second Lebanon War; Defensive Military Operations: February 28, 1955: “Operation Black Arrow;” October 31, 1968: “Operation Shock;” April 9-10, 1973: “Operation Spring of Youth;” June 27-July 4, 1976: “Operation Thunderbolt;” March 14-June 13, 1978: “Operation Litani;” October 1, 1985: “Operation Wooden Leg;” July 25-31, 1993: “Operation Accountability;” April 11-27, 1996: “Operation Grapes of Wrath;” March 29-April 21, 2002: “Operation Defensive Shield;” June 28-November 26, 2006: “Operation Summer Rains;” November 1-7, 2006: “Operation Autumn Clouds;” December 2008-January 2009: “Operation Cast Lead;” November 14-21, 2012: “Operation Pillar of Defense;” June 12-30, 2014: “Operation Brother’s Keeper;” July 8-August 26, 2014: “Operation Protective Edge;” December 4, 2018-January 13, 2019: “Operation Northern Shield;” May 10-20, 2021: “Operation Guardian of the Walls”
69 “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” UN General Assembly, A/77/328, issued October 20, 2022, https://undocs.org/en/A/77/328, p. 22 (The report quotes an unnamed Palestinian declaring that Hebron is “our land and our fathers’ and grandfathers’ land.”)
71 “In the Council today, there was an NGO input that they sent us 5 million submissions. So all of them would be pro-Israel, shall I characterize them as such.” “Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory – Press Conference: Presentation of HRC report,” June 14, 2022, UN Webcast, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1u/k1ukz5cf2s
72 Judge Navi Pillay; Former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Seminar: The Year of O R Tambo and The Palestinian Struggle under Apartheid Rule, Pretoria, South Africa, 29 November 2017, Youtube video by Africa4Palestine, posted December 13, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF61qfb5J-k
74 “Chris Sidoti… worked closely with Arab and Palestinian Human Rights organisations, and is a close friend and ally to ICHR [Independent Commission for Human Rights]” Chris Sidoti, “The Importance of a National Human Rights Institution for Palestine,” November 14, 2018, Independent Commission for Human Rights, https://www.ichr.ps/en/media-center/1366.html
75 Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer at the Human Rights Council Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Press Conference: UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel,” UN Webcast, October 27, 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1j/k1jzwzf8gg
76 “List of HRC-mandated Commissions of Inquiries / Fact-Finding Missions & Other Bodies (as of May 2022),” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website, https://www.ohchr.org/en/hr-bodies/hrc/list-hrc-mandat
77 Report of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar, A/HRC/39/64, September 12, 2018, https://undocs.org/A/HRC/39/64, para. 88 (“88. On the basis of information gathered, the mission finds that crimes against humanity have been committed…”). Subsequently, the Human Rights Council established “an ongoing independent mechanism” for Myanmar. United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution “Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar,” A/HRC/RES/39/2, September 27, 2018, https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/39/2, para. 22.
78 “Third Committee, 35th plenary meeting – General Assembly, 77th session,” UN Webcast, October 27, 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1u/k1ukq81w1h
79 See “Positions and Advocacy Opposing Pillay’s Pogrom,” Human Rights Voices website, https://hrvoices.org/pillays-pogrom/positions-and-advocacy-opposing-pillays-pogrom/
80 Letter from Chair of the “Commission of Inquiry” Navi Pillay to the Human Rights Council President remarks by Miloon Kothari, U.N. Human Rights Council Extranet, July 28, 2022, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/PresidencyBureau/BureauRegionalGroupsCorrespondence/Correspondence/Letter%20from%20Chair%20of%20the%20COI%20on%20the%20OPT,%20including%20East%20Jerusalem,%20and%20Israel%20to%20HRC%20President.pdf
81 Letter From President Of The Human Rights Council To Chair Of The “Commission Of Inquiry” Navi Pillay Regarding Remarks By Miloon Kothari, U.N. Human Rights Council Extranet, July 29, 2022, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/PresidencyBureau/BureauRegionalGroupsCorrespondence/Correspondence/Letter%20from%20President%20of%20HRC%20to%20the%20Chair%20of%20the%20COI%20on%20the%20OPT,%20including%20East%20Jerusalem,%20and%20Israel.pdf
82 Nazhat Shameem Khan (Fiji)
83 “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders,” Annex (Articles 3 (a), 3(e), 5, 8, 13(b)), UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/2, June 18, 2007, https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/5/2
84 Letter from “Commission of Inquiry” Member Miloon Kothari to U.N. Human Rights Council President Regarding His Recent Comments, U.N. Human Rights Council Extranet, August 4, 2022, https://hrcmeetings.ohchr.org/PresidencyBureau/BureauRegionalGroupsCorrespondence/Correspondence/Letter%20from%20Miloon%20Kothari%20to%20HRC%20President.pdf
85 Letter From Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Office of the Israeli Prime Minister, July 31, 2022, https://www.gov.il/BlobFolder/news/spoke_guterres310722/en/UN.%20Sec%20Gen%20Antonio%20Guterres.%20COI.%2031.7.22.pdf