An immediate urgency
This week, the United Nations launched its first global racism conference in eight years. The conference in Geneva, titled with the intention of fighting racism, has actually hosted a forum for the direct opposite and provided a stage for one of the world’s most racist leaders to spew his slanderous speech directed at Israel.
The Conference opened with remarks from its guest-of-honor, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose hateful and provocative speech included remarks about his call for the eradication of Israel and accusations of Israel being the “most cruel and racist regime.” Ahmadinejad, a known Holocaust-denier, has been forthright about his commitment to the eradication of Israel and does not hide his intentions to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
Instead of addressing its primary goals as the global fight against racism and xenophobia, the U.N. conference has once again become hostage to one-sided, nonconstructive politicization and biased rhetoric, as was the case at the Durban Conference in 2001.
Israel, the United States and a handful of other countries, sensing the anti-Zionist goals of the conference, decided to boycott it all together, while more than 40 diplomats from European countries participated in a demonstrative walkout in protest during Ahmadinejad’s remarks.
What makes this conference most horrendous and regrettable is the upsetting fact that it took place on the eve of the Holocaust Memorial Day. Ahmadinejad has been extremely forthright about his refusal to acknowledge the authenticity of the Holocaust. The commemoration of those six million Jews persecuted at the hands of racism has been disrupted by a conference with claims of combating racism, while in reality it only furthered discrimination.
As an Israeli diplomat, I must recognize an immediate urgency to address Iran as the largest roadblock for Israel and the free world.
(Editor’s note: The author is Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States.)