Israeli PM urges UN to disband inquiry into Israel after alleged antisemitic comments by investigator

Yair Lapid called the inquiry 'tainted' in a letter to the UN


TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - MAY 06: Yesh Atid Party leader, Yair Lapid, speaks at a press conference on May 6, 2021 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin asked Lapid to form a new Israeli government after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a new government. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has called on the UN to end its inquiry into the 2021 Israel/Hamas conflict after a member of the team involved made antisemitic comments on a podcast.

In a letter posted on Twitter and addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres  Lapid said: "The Commission of Inquiry 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 continued: "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's comments referred to remarks made by COI member Miloon Kothari in a podcast interview released last week.

In the interview, Kothari 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 in to try to discredit us," 

He also said he didn't understand why Israel was "even a member of the United Nations." and added: "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.”

Kothari is one of three UN investigators charged with investigating "all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law" in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

The COI was set up after the May 2021 conflict between Hamas and Israel and was given a broader remit than previous inquiries, which usually focus on specific incidents.

Supporters of Israel have said that this unique remit shows the body's bias against the Jewish state, while critics of the Israeli government's actions say it's necessary to monitor the complex situation.

Kothari's comments have also been condemned by officials from countries across Europe and North America including: UK, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

Simon Manley, the UK permanent representative to the UN said the comments were "unacceptable and offensive."

The Israeli government has previously said they would not co-operate with the commission, accusing the body of being overtly hostile to Israel.

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