British delegates joined a dramatic diplomatic walkout today when President Ahmadinejad of Iran told a major UN conference against racism that the state of Israel had been founded “on the pretext of Jewish suffering” during the Second World War.
Around 20 delegates, including envoys from the UK, France, and Finland stood up and left the room at what was considered an anti-Semitic remark by the Iranian leader, who has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
Nine Western countries including Israel and the United States had already decided to boycott the conference entirely because its draft declaration endorsed the conclusions of an anti-racism conference in South Africa eight years ago in which Islamic nations pushed through a text equating Zionism with racism.
Even before the walkout, Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech had been interrupted by three protesters dressed as clowns who where quickly bundled from the vast conference room at the Palais des Nations by guards. Later, other protesters shouted down from the balcony as the Iranian president carried on his address.
The conference opened as Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day – which falls this year on the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth. This morning the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told his Cabinet that while Israel commemorates the six million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis, “in Switzerland, the guest of honour is a racist and a Holocaust-denier who doesn’t conceal his intention to wipe Israel off the face of this earth”.
The Obama administration announced at the weekend that it would boycott the meeting because its draft declaration makes reference to the text agreed in 2001 at the UN’s first anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa. That document was agreed after the United States and Israel walked out over attempts to liken Zionism – the movement to establish a Jewish state in the Holy Land – to racism.
Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland joined the boycott.
Referring again to the earlier article, this guy gives me no comfort whatsoever that there will be any stability for Israel if a Palestinian state co-exists within it’s borders.
Especially with this nutjob just down the street.