Geneva – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has joined the chorus denouncing President Ahmadinejad’s speech at Durban II:
I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian President to accuse, divide and even incite. This is the opposite of what this Conference seeks to achieve. . . . I reminded the President that the UN General Assembly had adopted the resolutions to revoke the equation of Zionism with racism and to reaffirm the historical facts of the Holocaust respectively.
But Ahmadinejad isn’t the only one airing his noxious views here. Though less bombastic than the Iranian — and careful to eschew the term “Zionist” — other delegates taking the podium have echoed the sentiments in Ahmadinejad’s speech. For instance:
· The Palestinian representative excoriated Israel as a racist state in violation of international humanitarian law and human-rights law. Its occupation of Palestinian territories, the representative said, is the “worst violation of human rights and the ugliest face of racism and discrimination” in the world.
· The Syrian rep railed about “foreign occupation” (an oblique accusatory reference to Israel) and delivered a litany of alleged crimes perpetrated by Israel, including throwing Palestinians “into the sea” and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Such remarks are predictable, even common, in speeches at the U.N. However, that does not excuse them in this forum. The secretary-general felt compelled to criticize racist, anti-Semitic remarks uttered by Ahmadinejad. Where is his condemnation of similar statements by other countries?