An Anti-Semitic UN Commissioner Admits to Lobbying Congress and Otherwise Exceeding His Mandate

That the United Nations is institutionally hostile to the Jewish state is hardly news. Nor should it be surprising that a commission of inquiry established in the wake of the 2021 Gaza war by the UN Human Rights Council—one of the organization’s worst offenders in this regard—has devoted itself single-mindedly to compiling ill-founded accusations against Israel. But it is somewhat unexpected that a member of the commission, Miloon Kothari, declared forthrightly in an interview that he doubts whether Israel should be allowed into the United National at all, and then expressed his frustration at “social media controlled largely by . . . the Jewish lobby.” Anne Bayefsky, moreover, points to part of the interview that has received less attention:

Kothari revealed in his interview that the inquiry intends to act “well beyond just our reports,” and to that end, is now lobbying members of Congress. He made the startling admission that “we’ve had some communications even with congresspeople and senators in the United States” and that commission members were also planning to come to the United States for “about two weeks” to visit campuses and hold public meetings.

Lobbying is not in the inquiry’s UN mandate. . . . Moreover, UN commissions of inquiry on country-specific issues, like this one, are not allowed to waltz into the United States and conduct a lobbying and indoctrination tour.

But Washington has the means to retaliate, and Bayefsky urges it to:

• revoke any permission provided to members of the inquiry to travel anywhere outside the immediate vicinity of UN Headquarters and condition their entry into the United States on acting in conformity with their mandate and the UN Charter;

• withhold American taxpayer dollars from being used to support the inquiry and encourage allies to do the same;

• insist that the UN secretary-general issue a robust condemnation, and develop a plan for much stronger repercussions for relationships with the United Nations if the inquiry remains intact.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Anti-Semitism, Congress, U.S. Foreign policy, UNHRC, United Nations

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood