Fury at UN ‘antisemitic’ committee probing Hamas’ sexual atrocities against Israeli women


JERUSALEM — The U.N.’s controversial Commission of Inquiry (COI) tasked with investigating Hamas’ crimes of rape and sexual abuse of Israelis has been deemed an “antisemitic” group by the Jewish State’s ambassador to the U.N. that is incapable of conducting a fair probe.

“The antisemitic Commission of Inquiry, established by the morally distorted Human Rights Council, which recently appointed Iran as chair of the council’s Social Forum, is biased against Israel in every way,” Israel’s Ambassador Gilad Erdan told Fox News Digital.

“Therefore, Israel has zero trust in its findings and its illegitimate activities. Its ‘investigation’ into the terror organization’s sexual crimes against Israeli women on Oct. 7 is akin to Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza, investigating its crimes.”

Erdan is a fierce critic of the U.N.’s longstanding alleged bias against the Jewish state.

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Israel’s United Nations Ambassador Gilad Erdan addresses the United Nations over its Commission of Inquiry into Israel. (Israeli Mission to the UN)

“The commissioners’ pre-existing prejudice against Israel is abundantly clear,” he added. “They have denied Israel’s right to be a member of the U.N., they have undermined the accepted working definition of antisemitism, and they support the boycott of Israel.”

Anne Bayefsky, director of the New York-based Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, told Fox News Digital, “There is no possibility whatsoever that the COI will investigate anything about Israel in a fair manner. This isn’t speculation, it’s fact.”

The origin of the COI is grounded in a 2021 resolution from the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council, which has also been embroiled in scandal over its alleged bias against Israel. 

Nir Oz bloodied hand

A bloodied handprint stains a wall in a house in Nir Oz after Hamas terrorists attacked this kibbutz near the border of Gaza. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

The Human Rights Council established “an ongoing, independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of international human rights law leading up and since 13 April 2021.”

Bayefsky, also president of Human Rights Voices, has written extensively about the COI, and she took the chairwoman of the COI, Navi Pillay, and her fellow committee members to task for stoking antisemitism. 

“The three individuals on this so-called ‘inquiry,’ starting with Pillay herself, are utterly biased,” Bayefsky said. “That’s precisely why they were selected in the first place. Their personal records demonstrate rank antisemitism.

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“They are running an antisemitic inquisition, not an investigation. And the only reason they have a sudden interest in the horrifying reality of Palestinian Arab rape of Jewish women and girls is because their faux legal charade is at risk of even greater delegitimization.”

Israeli music festival abandoned

Destroyed cars and personal effects are still left scattered around the Supernova music festival site, where hundreds were killed and dozens taken by Hamas terrorists near the border with Gaza Oct. 13, 2023, in Kibbutz Re’im. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Fox News Digital reported in July 2022 on Miloon Kothari, a member of the COI who told an obscure anti-Israel blog, “We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by — whether it’s the Jewish Lobby or it’s the specific NGOs. A lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us.”

Kothari’s alleged anti-Jewish rant sparked outrage at the time, including calls for the Biden administration to apply pressure to disband the COI.

Palestinian terrorists drive to Gaza Strip during attack on Israel

Terrorists drive to the Gaza Strip with the body of Shani Louk, a German-Israeli dual citizen 7, 2023 (AP Photo/Ali Mahmud)

When asked if the COI is infected with antisemitism and unfit to conduct an inquiry into Hamas’ sexual assaults on Israel, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, defended the COI.

“The Secretary-general is not involved in the work of bodies that report to the Human Rights Council,” Dujarric said. “He also has no authority of the appointment of its members. That being said, he has no reason to doubt the impartiality and professionalism of Navi Pillay and her colleagues.”

UN commision of inquiry chair Navi Pillay

Navi Pillay is the controversial chair of the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. (Reuters/Ruben Sprich)

Numerous Fox News Digital press queries to the Human Rights Council were not answered. When questioned if the secretary-general believes Hamas is a terrorist organization, Dujarric said, “The U.N. has consistently condemned the horrific actions taken by Hamas. The secretary-general strongly condemned the Hamas attacks on (Oct. 7) within hours of their occurrence and did the same concerning sexual assaults as more evidence came in about them.

“In the U.N. system, designations of terrorist bodies are to be made by the relevant member state bodies, namely the Security Council and the General Assembly. They do not fall within the secretary-general’s authority.” 

While the EU and U.S. and many additional countries have designated Hamas a foreign terrorist organization, the U.N. has not classified Hamas a terrorist entity.

Guterres

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Gaza at U.N. headquarters in New York City Dec. 8, 2023.  (Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images)

Asked about the antisemitism allegations against the COI and its members, Guterres’ spokesman said his “statements and actions, as secretary-general and his previous roles at the national level, clearly demonstrate his life-long fight against antisemitism.”

In late October, Israel’s ambassador, Erdan, urged Guterres to resign after he allegedly blamed the Jewish victims of the Hamas massacre Oct. 7, in which 1,200 people were murdered, including over 30 American citizens.

Under growing pressure and criticism for silence over Hamas’ sexual atrocities, Pramila Patten, the U.N.’s special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, said in a statement she was “gravely concerned about emerging reports of sexual violence against both women and men while they were held in Hamas captivity. 

“Special Representative Patten expresses concern for those civilians still held hostage by Hamas and calls for their immediate, safe and unconditional release,” her statement added. 

Protesters denounce antisemitism and demand Hamas release hostages held captive in Gaza

Demonstrators in support of Israel gather to denounce antisemitism and call for the release of Israeli hostages on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

According to her statement, Patten calls for “robust and independent investigations into all allegations of sexual violence in connection with the current conflict. In this respect, she urges the State of Israel to grant access to United Nations entities with an investigative mandate, which have promptly signaled their availability and willingness to examine the scope and extent of these crimes, including allegations of sexual violence against Palestinians.”

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Bayefsky also noted that Jordanian national Reem Alsalem, U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, “went silent for two months” and she “has refused to denounce Hamas’ sexual violence against Jewish women and girls.”  

Alsalem issued a statement Nov. 20 on the U.N. website but did not explicitly condemn Hamas for carrying out rapes and sexual assaults against Israeli women and girls. The bulk of Alsalem’s press release was devoted to blaming Israel for alleged violence against Palestinian women. Fox News Digital sent press queries to Alsalem. 

UN Human Rights Geneva

The Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 12, 2022.  (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

“Israel is a democracy governed by the rule of law,” Bayefsky said. “It knows how to conduct an inquiry of criminal acts perpetrated against its citizens on its soil. The question for the rest of the world is, do you really give a damn about ensuring Palestinian terrorists are held accountable?”

Israeli women are outraged over the conduct of U.N. bodies toward Hamas’ rape and sexual assault campaign targeting Jewish women and girls. 

“The U.N. continues to tell the world loud and clear that ‘believe all women’ does not apply to Jewish or Israeli women,” Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem, told Fox News Digital.

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“I would argue that the appointment of the members of this COI, given their history of antisemitic comments, could amount to a threat to re-traumatize still-living victims and the families of those who were murdered. For the U.N. to relegate this topic to their untrustworthy hands is akin to a farmer asking a local fox to look after its chickens.”

The U.S. State Department did not immediately answer a Fox News Digital press query.



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