The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution establishing an ongoing Commission of Inquiry which has unprecedented scope to demonise Israel. With a vote from New Zealand, the Commission has been granted a budget of more than US$5,000,000 per annum, allowing it to hire approximately 24 full-time staff members, for an indefinite period of time. For comparison, there are 20 permanent staff for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) branch covering all of Asia.
No such open-ended investigation has ever been levelled against any other UN member state. This is just the latest evidence of institutional bias from the United Nations, and the UNHRC in particular. Since its establishment in 2006, the UNHRC has set up 32 investigative bodies, with nine – nearly a third – of these focused exclusively on Israel.
What makes this probe particularly egregious is not only its eye-watering budget and indefinite period, but also the terms of reference and the appointed commissioners.
The Commission was ostensibly set up to investigate the conflict between Hamas and Israel in May 2021. They have asked for submissions and it seems clear that the only target in mind is Israel – there is no mention of Hamas or any other terror group. The focus is clearly and uniquely on Israel.
The Commission is currently led by South Africa’s Navi Pillay, who served as the UN High Commissioner for human rights and has displayed a consistent, well-documented animus toward Israel. Her accusations of illegal Israeli conduct during the Gaza flotilla raid of 2010 were later refuted by a UN commission headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
Pillay is a leading champion of the UN Durban conference’s antisemitic mantra that the Jewish state is a racist state. As High Commissioner during the 2008-09 and 2014 Gaza wars, Pillay played a pivotal role in promoting the Goldstone report, which was famously rejected by the lead author in 2011. Since leaving office, she’s made a habit of promoting BDS and falsely accusing Israel of apartheid.
The two other members of the Commission are Millon Kothari and Chris Sidoti, both with public records of anti-Israel extremism and Palestinian partisanship.
For the above reasons, some of the few democratic countries at the United Nations have opposed the probe.
The United States opposed the move, saying it
“perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN and, like prior US administrations, we strongly oppose such treatment of Israel,”US representative
A representative from Australia said “We oppose anti-Israel bias,” and said the mandate for this particular inquiry “is excessively broad” and “over-resourced,”. And the Canadian representative said this probe was a particularly “unacceptable outlier” and that the resources needed were “significantly larger than” those allocated for “all of the investigations we approved resources for today.”
The Israel Institute of New Zealand has written to Foreign Minister Mahuta to understand if she was fully briefed about the probe and whether she supports it or is willing to join traditional allied democracies and condemn the unfair treatment of the Jewish nation.
If you want to respond to the Commission request for submissions, use the form below with our pre-prepared text responding to their framework: