UN Inquiry Blames Israel for October 7th, UN Watch Submits Response

GENEVA, June 13, 2024 — Following the release of the Pillay Commission of Inquiry’s new report to the Human Rights Council, Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch today submitted a legal analysis to the Commission and is awaiting its reply. The submission completely rejects the findings of the report, which assigned blame to Israel both for causing Hamas’ October 7th attack, and for failing to protect its civilians against it.

UN Watch noted the irony of the Pillay Commission’s criticism of Israel’s October 7th failures, given that the Council’s previous Commission of Inquiry in 2019 criticized Israel for responding to the March of Return riots with “disproportionate force” and effectively called on Israel to stand down. At the time, Col. Richard Kemp, speaking at an official UN side event organized by UN Watch, correctly warned that Hamas’s intention had been “to get through the border fence … to send people in very large numbers into Israel with the intention of getting into the Israeli communities – places like Nahal Oz which is a few hundred meters from the border – and slaughtering Israeli civilians and abducting Israeli civilians and torturing them.”

UN Watch had also warned then that the March of Return Commission’s approach would lead to “the death of innocent Israelis,” and now the Pillay Commission places the blame on Israel itself.

In addition to scrutinizing the report’s assignment of blame for October 7th, UN Watch also found that the report made conclusions based on old data and misinformation. Also, UN Watch found that the report makes one-sided assertions against Israel, such as the absurd accusation that any alleged sexual crimes committed by IDF soldiers were “ordered” and “condoned” by its leadership while those committed Hamas militants were not.


Inquiry Chair Navi Pillay Lobbied Countries to “Sanction Israeli Apartheid”

“The UN deliberately appointed three commissioners with records of extreme bias against Israel,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

In July 2021, Ms. Pillay accepted to chair the Pakistani-sponsored UN commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes and racism, with a mandate that, almost uniquely at the UN, has no end date.

“Prior to accepting the post, Pillay had already pronounced herself in extreme terms on the very issues that her inquiry is mandated to investigate,” said Neuer.

In June 2020, she signed a manifesto calling on governments to “Sanction Apartheid Israel.”

In June 2021, a month before heading the inquiry, Pillay wrote a letter to President Biden calling to punish Israel for the May 2021 war with Hamas. She also made many more prior prejudicial pronouncements. UN Watch documented her bias in a legal request that she recuse herself, but this was ignored.

In September 2022, after learning of these disturbing facts, the Mayor of Berlin withdrew her support for a Town Hall event set to honor Navi Pillay, and the award was canceled.

Commissioner Condemned for Antisemitism by 18 Countries and Top UN Officials

In July 2022, in an interview with the anti-Israel publication Mondoweiss, commissioner Kothari ranted about “the Jewish lobby” and questioned Israel’s right to be a member of the UN.

In reaction, Kothari was condemned by numerous countries for antisemitism, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.

“Commissioner Miloon Kothari is the first investigator in the history of the United Nations to be condemned for antisemitism by the head of the Human Rights Council, the Secretary General, as well as Britain, France, Germany, the US and 14 other countries. He has disgraced himself—yet inexplicably remains in his post,” said Neuer.

Astonishingly, Navi Pillay defended Kothari. But she was overruled by the UNHRC chair, who condemned him.

A year later, in June 2023, Kothari complained that the Western media was “an obstacle” to his work, and of “biased reporting” by the BBC, New York Times, and Washington Post, “and there are many others, almost verging towards fake news,” he said.

“Having an internationally condemned antisemite as their investigator on Israel, and installing as their chair someone with a lengthy prior record of partisan anti-Israel lobbying, speaks volumes as to the moral authority and credibility of the commission,” said Neuer.

UN Watch