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Letter to Secretary General Following Concerning Remarks by Members of UNHRC Commission

July 29, 2022

Secretary-General Guterres

United Nations Headquarters

New York, N.Y. 10017 USA

Re: Responding to Recent and Systemic Antisemitism in the Commission of Inquiry on Israel

His Excellency Mr. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres:

StandWithUs is greatly concerned by Commissioner Miloon Kothari’s recent statements echoing antisemitic conspiracy theories. His comments reflect a larger problem of systemic bias in the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Israel that warrant its immediate termination. We therefore ask that you use your voice and good offices to condemn these comments and to defund and discredit the COI on Israel.

In his recent interview with Mondoweiss, Kothari said that, “[W]e are very disheartened by the social media, whether controlled by The Jewish Lobby, or specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown to try and discredit us [the COI on Israel]” (see 18:56).

Kothari’s rhetoric falls in line with example two of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism: “[m]aking mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

Kothari also stated in the interview that he “would go as far as to raise the question as why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations” (see 16:15). We are not aware of him suggesting that any other state should be stripped of UN member status. This reveals a discriminatory attitude towards the world’s only Jewish state and implies opposition to the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.

The COI on Israel remains the only COI whose mandate lasts forever and whose scope is not time bound, enabling it to delegitimize Israel for eternity. While UN guidelines instruct that COI commissioners have “a proven record” of “impartiality,” all three selected commissioners harbor patent anti-Israel bias. Some have accused Israel of apartheid or have referred to Palestinian terrorism as “resistance.”

The COI’s commissioners have now sought to silence concerns about antisemitism. Kothari expressed how the commission is “beginning to tackle this issue of how far you can take antisemitism” (see 34:25). And in June 2022, Commissioner Chris Sidoti victim-blamed Jews and Jewish organizations who spoke out against the COI’s first report and double standards. He not only called them “GONGOs” but suggested that they were “legitimiz[ing] antisemitism” against themselves by “throw[ing] around” allegations of antisemitism “like rice at a wedding.”

The COI’s commissioners have been quick to define what antisemitism is not. It is now time to identify what antisemitism is as the COI continues to remain silent in light of its commissioners’ comments. We therefore ask that you condemn the COI on Israel, and use your influence to defund and discredit this irredeemable institution, and to also adopt the IHRA definition in order to help UN officials avoid such displays of antisemitism in the future.


Roz Rothstein


Jerry Rothstein


Jordan Cope

Director of Policy Education

And the International team of StandWithUs

About StandWithUs

StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.

Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has programs on six continents with chapters and offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

For the last ten years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).


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