published : 2023-12-10

UN Committee Probing Hamas' Sexual Atrocities Sparks Fury and Accusations of Antisemitism

Israel's Ambassador to UN Asserts Investigation is Like Having Hamas Leader Investigate its Own Crimes

An aerial view of the United Nations headquarters in New York City, capturing the setting where the Commission of Inquiry is being debated. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The U.N.’s controversial Commission of Inquiry (COI) tasked with investigating Hamas’ crimes of rape and sexual abuse of Israelis is facing severe criticism. Israel's Ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, has labeled the committee as antisemitic and incapable of conducting a fair probe.

Erdan argues that the Commission, established by the Human Rights Council, which recently appointed Iran as the chair of its Social Forum, is highly biased against Israel. He believes that its investigation into Hamas' sexual crimes against Israeli women is akin to having Hamas' leader investigating its own crimes.

This furor against the COI is rooted in the longstanding alleged bias of the U.N. against Israel. Erdan has been a vocal critic of this prejudice and the commission's appointment only reinforces his stance.

Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, supports Erdan's claims and asserts that there is no possibility of a fair investigation by the COI. She criticizes the personal records of the committee members, including chairwoman Navi Pillay, as demonstrating rank antisemitism.

A close-up shot of Ambassador Gilad Erdan passionately speaking at the United Nations, advocating for a fair investigation into Hamas' sexual atrocities. (Taken with Nikon D850)

The origins of the COI can be traced back to a 2021 resolution from the Human Rights Council, an entity also accused of bias against Israel. This controversy surrounding the commission further underscores the deep-seated tensions between Israel and the U.N.

One member of the COI, Miloon Kothari, faced outrage after making alleged anti-Jewish remarks. Calls were made for the Biden administration to pressure the disbandment of the commission.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has defended the COI, highlighting that he has no involvement in its work or authority in the appointment of its members. He expresses confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of Navi Pillay and her colleagues.

However, critics argue that the COI is tainted by antisemitism and unfit to conduct an inquiry into Hamas' sexual assaults on Israel. Pramila Patten, the U.N.'s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, has expressed grave concern over emerging reports of sexual violence against both women and men in Hamas captivity.

A protest outside the Human Rights Council building, showing activists demanding justice and accountability for the victims of Hamas' sexual assaults. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7III)

While the International Commission of Inquiry faces allegations of bias and is being scrutinized for its ability to conduct a fair investigation, the victims of Hamas' sexual atrocities demand justice and accountability.

The controversy surrounding the COI highlights the larger issue of how the U.N. navigates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the challenges it faces in addressing such sensitive matters.

The outcry against the COI and accusations of antisemitism raise questions about the U.N.'s commitment to human rights and impartiality.

As the tensions continue to escalate, the world watches closely to see how the U.N. will address these allegations and deliver justice for the victims of Hamas' sexual abuses.