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US lawmakers backed by AIPAC call for UN to disband inquiry into Israel apartheid

February 28, 2023 at 3:01 pm

The AIPAC logo is displayed during a policy conference in Washington [Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images]

A bipartisan group of 18 Congressional lawmakers published a letter on Monday calling for the UN Commission of Inquiry into Israel to be disbanded, and the UN special rapporteur for Palestine, Francesca Albanese, to lose her job, the pro-Israel newspaper Algemeiner has reported.

The group was led by Republican Representative Brad Schneider. According to Open Secrets, a group tracking money in US politics, Schneider’s main financial backers include the influential pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

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The letter was addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk. Calling for the removal of Albanese, it cited comments by her which accused Israel of committing the crime of apartheid. Israel and advocates of the occupation state despise the claim and often react by smearing anyone labelling Israel in such a way as anti-Semitic.

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The letter follows a similar effort in January that called for Albanese’s ouster. Since taking over from her predecessor Michael Lynk, she has been subjected to a hostile campaign calling for her removal. In December, sixty-five scholars of Anti-Semitism, Holocaust and Jewish Studies denounced the escalating smear campaign against the Italian legal expert.

In their attack against the UN’s Commission of Inquiry into Israel, the AIPAC-sponsored US lawmakers accused Commission member Miloon Kothari of anti-Semitism. The Congressional letter describes the commission as part of the “endemic” anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitism within the UN system.

Like Albanese, the Commission has also been subjected to ongoing smears by Israel and apologists for the apartheid state. The Commission was set up in 2021 to investigate “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict,” and has itself said that it will investigate the charge made by every major human rights group that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid. Earlier this week, an editorial in Israeli newspaper Haaretz claimed that the state has erected a “formal, full-fledged apartheid regime”.

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