A United Nations investigator unequivocally apologised Thursday for utilizing the time period "Jewish foyer", which sparked Israeli accusations of anti-Semitism and requires his resignation.
Miloon Kothari, considered one of three members of a UN Fee of Inquiry (COI) investigating rights abuses in Israel and the Palestinian territories, triggered outrage after the interview with on-line publication Mondoweiss, which got here out on July 25.
Requested about member states' criticisms of the fee, Kothari pointed to wider efforts to undermine the investigation.
"We're very disheartened by the social media that's managed largely by, whether or not it's the Jewish foyer or it's particular NGOs, some huge cash is being thrown into making an attempt to discredit us," he mentioned.
Kothari apologised in a letter to Federico Villegas, the president of the Human Rights Council which mandated the COI.
"I want to sincerely specific my remorse and unequivocally apologise for utilizing the phrases 'the Jewish foyer'. The offence I've precipitated by utilizing these phrases has deeply distressed me," he mentioned.
Within the letter, printed on-line by the UN, Kothari mentioned he took with the utmost seriousness "considerations that my phrases had been perceived and skilled to be anti-Semitic".
"My intention was to denounce the relentless and vitriolic private assaults in opposition to the members of the fee on social media and a few publications, launched to delegitimise and undermine its work," he mentioned.
"It was fully flawed for me to explain the social media as 'being managed largely by the Jewish foyer'. This alternative of phrases was incorrect, inappropriate, and insensitive."
Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel's ambassador in Geneva, wrote to Villegas to protest in opposition to Kothari's "outrageous feedback, together with some which can be evidently anti-Semitic".
A number of ambassadors, together with from Britain and the USA, additionally tweeted their outrage.
The interview additionally led to accusations that Kothari, from India, had questioned whether or not Israel deserved its UN membership.
"My touch upon Israel's membership of the United Nations was made to focus on the truth that each member of this physique ought to uphold, and respect findings and suggestions issued by it," Kothari's letter mentioned.
"What I needed to focus on is the non-compliance of Israel with UN choices associated to its obligations beneath worldwide legislation.
"I didn't intend to counsel that Israel ought to be excluded from the United Nations.
"I realise that this alternative of phrases has additionally precipitated offence and sincerely remorse it."
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had upped stress on the UN to disband the fee, interesting to the UN secretary-general.
The COI "has been essentially tainted by the publicly expressed prejudices of its management", Lapid mentioned, demanding "the speedy removing of all three members".
Israel has flatly refused to cooperate with the fee.
The high-level staff of investigators was appointed final yr to probe "all underlying root causes" within the decades-long battle between Israel and the Palestinians.
The COI's first report in June pointed the finger squarely at Israel, saying its occupation and discrimination in opposition to Palestinians had been the principle causes of the infinite cycles of violence.