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AIJAC’s Colin Rubenstein quoted in The Australian on Australia’s condemnation of UN Human Rights Council antisemitism

Aug 5, 2022

Australian UN Representative Amanda Gorely
Australian UN Representative Amanda Gorely

Ambassador decries UN anti-Semitic comments

 

Ben Packham

The Australian, Aug 4 2022

Australia’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN office in Geneva, Amanda Gorely, has condemned anti-Semitic comments by a human rights investigator who claimed the “Jewish lobby” controlled social media.

Indian activist Miloon Kothari is one of the investigators running an open-ended UN Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, which is investigating human rights violations in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Israel has accused him of bias after a recent interview in which he questioned its membership of the UN and said Jewish interests were trying to undermine the ­inquiry by influencing public opinion.

“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 into trying to discredit us,” he told the Mondoweiss website last week.

Ms Gorely tweeted this week: “Deeply concerned by recent comments made by @UN_HRC Israel Commission of Inquiry Commissioner Miloon Kothari.

“Anti-Semitism is unacceptable and we condemn it wherever it appear(s).”

UN Monitor on Freedom of Religion Ahmed Shaheed also condemned Mr Kothari’s comments, comparing them to Pakistani Foreign Minister’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s claim last year that Israel controlled the global media.

“Now this trope has come to the UN!” Mr Shaheed tweeted.

The Australia/Israel and ­Jewish Affairs Council said Mr Kothari’s comments had underscored that “this blatantly biased inquiry disgraces the whole UN system”.

“Australia, to its credit, has ­opposed this open-ended inquiry from the beginning and Australia’s ambassador to the Human Rights Council has rightly condemned Kothari’s anti-­Semitic remarks,” AIJAC exec­utive director Colin Rubenstein said.

He said the AIJAC had urged the federal government to call for “the wholly unacceptable and unfair inquiry”, set up in the wake of the May 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis, to be disbanded.

Dr Rubenstein also criticised commission chair Navi Pillay, who defended Mr Kothari’s remarks, and the third commissioner, Australian Chris Sidoti, who said “accusations of anti-Semitism are thrown around like rice at a wedding.”

“It is clear that the problems with the inquiry are not limited to Kothari, but extend to the two other commissioners,” Dr Rubenstein said.

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