Navi Pillay’s commission of inquiry on Israel was called out by democracies today in an annual debate held at the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee.
Pillay presented her commission’s latest report, which according to UN Watch analysis, is entirely one-sided and downplays Hamas terrorism.
Those objecting to the mandate and report of the commission included the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, the Czech Republic and Albania.
Britain critiqued the commission’s “overly-expansive mandate” and stated that it “cannot support an investigation that furthers the [UN Human Rights Council]’s disproportionate focus on Israel.”
The US noted that the “commission of inquiry demonstrates a particular bias against Israel in subjecting it to a unique mechanism that does not exist for any other member state.” The US also emphasized that Hamas was responsible for starting the current conflict.
“I assure you, I’m not antisemitic, Commissioner Kothari is not antisemitic,” said Pillay, in response to the criticism of her inquiry by numerous member states.
Last year, 18 member states had delivered statements blasting Pillay’s commission, after commission member Miloon Kothari had been widely condemned for his comments about “the Jewish Lobby” and for questioning Israel’s membership in the UN.
Following are selections from the debate:
UK: The UK regrets the establishment of the commission of inquiry in May 2021 with an overly-expansive mandate. The UK cannot support an investigation that furthers the [Human Rights Council’s] disproportionate focus on Israel by failing to include a time-limited mandate.
Albania: Unfortunately the report presented to us today remains one-sided and very unbalanced. The report fails to reflect the destructive role and actions of Hamas and other terrorist groups which clearly aim to cause indiscriminate destruction and civilian casualties and human suffering. These actions are not only illegal and immoral but also pose a severe threat to the security and wellbeing of the Israelis and Palestinians alike. Albania expresses deep concern regarding the open-endedness of the commission, its unlimited time frame and geographical scope. We expect the commission to be independent and impartial. Failure to do so may be counterproductive to our common force to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We reiterate that Albania refuses and strongly condemns all forms of antisemitism, including antisemitic comments made here.
Romania: Madame special rapporteur, we took note of the way the facts are noted in your report. The commission of inquiry has an essential responsibility in presenting a document that would not trigger further inflammatory antisemitic speech around the world.
Australia: It remains the Australian government’s view that the Human Rights Council’s disproportionate scrutiny of Israel and the commission of inquiry’s excessive mandate do not advance the cause of peace.
Germany: We reiterate our criticism of the open-ended nature of the mandate of this commission. While we respect the independence of UN bodies and investigative mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, we remain concerned about the disproportionate attention given to Israel in UN fora.
Guatemala: We strongly reject any bias shown in this report. This is prejudice against Israel… We call upon the commission that its reports based on its investigations and that its statements respect life and that they avoid any distortions, recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to defend its people against terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations
Hungary: In light of recent developments, Hungary calls its serious concern about the establishment and work of this committee and the bias nature of its approach. We reiterate our serious concern about the open-ended nature and overly broad scope of the commission as well. We express our solidarity with the government of Israel and the Israeli people and emphasize that we reject antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.
Bulgaria: Bulgaria reiterates its concern about the non-comprehensive mandate and imprecisely defined scope, territorial limit and timeframe of the activities of the commission of inquiry. The commission of inquiry contributes to the disproportionate attention given to Israel within the UN system.
Italy: Concern for lack of clear definition of the mandate of the commission of inquiry and for its open-ended nature, which could harm the overall credibility of the monitoring and investigative mechanism of the Human Rights Council. We urge the commission to carry out its task with impartiality.
Micronesia: Unprecedented nature of the commission of inquiry and the disproportionate focus on the State of Israel clearly demonstrate an obsession, one that targets and singles out Israel and ignores entirely the instigation of Hamas and other terrorist groups and their role in the conflict. The antisemitism and anti-Israel bias expressed by members of the commission are irresponsible and unacceptable. They run counter to the impartial and independent role expected of members of the commission.
Czech Republic: We voted against the establishment of the commission of inquiry… we cannot support a one-sided mechanism with an open-ended mandate that has no potential to contribute to a peaceful solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
US: The US remains deeply concerned about the scope and nature of the open-ended commission of inquiry established in May 2021. The commission of inquiry demonstrates a particular bias against Israel in subjecting it to a unique mechanism that does not exist for any other member state.
Nauru: Nauru expresses its deep concern with this open-ended commission of inquiry. We note that the commission members did not take a balanced approach and is one-sided, targeting Israel. We believe the nature of the commission established in May 2021 is further demonstration of disproportionate attention and double-standards towards Israel. The General Assembly and Human Rights Council should address all human rights concerns, regardless of the country, in an unbiased manner. The commission’s report makes no mention of the most recent terror attack by Hamas, the genocidal Jihadist terror organization, which took place on October 7th in Israel, causing the loss of over 700 innocent lives. It is clear that Israel should not be the one subject to an inquiry. In this regard, we believe that all questions should be shifted to Hamas, the entity that took over the Gaza Strip, who is responsible for causing the loss of innocent lives in Israel.