The Jerusalem-based research institute analyzed the 56-page report; highlights parroting of terror-linked NGOs, distortion of facts and figures, and an attack on civil society organizations critical of the COI.
Jerusalem – An expert analysis of the newly published UN Human Rights Council permanent “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Israel” (COI) report finds a disqualifying lack of transparency, inherent methodological flaws, sloppiness, omissions, and extreme ideological bias – all grossly in violation of UN requirements. Ironically, a report purporting to investigate “harassment of civil-society actors” is itself an exercise in harassment of civil society organizations that criticize the COI methods – according to NGO Monitor.
NGO Monitor’s detailed analysis identifies a severe lack of transparency and methodological flaws. The COI relies primarily on unverifiable, anonymous testimonies, and terror-linked and politicized NGOs. It is unclear if the COI attempted to independently corroborate the information before publication. The COI also refused to meet with key witnesses, or with any stakeholders who did not promote anti-Israel or anti-Zionist viewpoints.
Despite lacking a mandate or expertise to deal with antisemitism, the COI echoes NGO campaigns that malign the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as “controversial” and a tool for silencing criticism. In contrast to this false narrative, IHRA has been adopted by 40 countries and endorsed by UN officials, the EU Parliament, and other international bodies. In fact, as shown by NGO Monitor, the attack on IHRA is self-serving: Each of the commissioners has made antisemitic comments, or sought to erase and deny blatant antisemitism within the COI’s ranks. For example, Commissioner Miloon Kothari claimed that the “Jewish lobby” controls social media and questioned whether Israel should have UN membership.
The COI document contains little original research. Rather, it copies-and-pastes from previous UN attacks on Israel – themselves largely based on distorted NGO claims. NGO publications account for nearly 40% of all material cited in the report, including from Israeli-designated terrorist entities and other terror-linked NGOs. Additionally, the COI references only NGOs that advance an anti-Israel “apartheid” narrative, question Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and advocate for BDS tactics. This deeply flawed methodology is exacerbated by numerous omissions of facts and figures and distortions regarding Israeli legislation and policy, all of which serve the COI’s predetermined political agenda.
In an egregious breach of fact-finding standards, the COI rejects without foundation the Israeli designation (October 2021) of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist entities, due to their ties to the PFLP terrorist organization. As opposed to a legitimate body of inquiry, the COI simply ignores the plethora of publicly-available evidence indicating that these NGOs and their officials are linked to the PFLP. This includes a 2022 Dutch government investigation and the results of an 18-month audit conducted by a Dutch firm that identified 34 individuals who held positions in both one of the NGOs and the PFLP, as well as statements by the PFLP itself identifying leading NGO officials as PFLP operatives.
In contrast to its claims of supporting civil society, the COI disparages NGOs that are not part of its narrow ideological echo chamber. Since its inception in May 2021, the COI and its commissioners have launched numerous defamatory attacks against Israeli and Jewish NGOs that criticize its politicized agenda and antisemitism. These reprisals, in particular against NGO Monitor, continue in the current COI report, this time in an unprofessional copy-paste originating in a submission to the COI by the Palestinian terror-linked NGO network.
Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor legal advisor and UN representative, noted “The UN Commission of Inquiry has reached new heights of obsession. This third report of the COI firmly demonstrates that its work is not that of a legitimate investigatory body but rather one engaged in producing disinformation to bolster BDS and marginalize Jews that speak out against terrorism and antisemitism.”
“At no point did the COI contact NGO Monitor to discuss our fully-sourced research before issuing its defamatory attacks against us. In addition, there has still been no accountability for the egregious antisemitic comments made by Miloon Kothari and defended by Navi Pillay. Like most of its work, such behavior violates basic investigatory and fact-finding standards, reflecting the COI’s lack of professionalism and inherent bias” Herzberg added. “All Western member states of the Human Rights Council opposed the creation of this abusive COI and routinely speak out against the on-going discrimination and lack of credibility. They should ensure that at the November UN budget meetings, the COI funding is axed once and for all.”
The full analysis is available here.