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Monday, April 20, 2009

Delegates Walk Out On Ahmadinejad At Geneva

Video above shows Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heckled by people dressed as clowns at the major UN conference against racism in Geneva.

Afterward when Ahmadinejad was making anti-semitic remarks, approximately 20 delegates walked out.

Times Online reports:

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.

Evidently, some countries had already threatened to walk out if Ahmadinejad started with his anti-Israel rhetoric and they did just that.

Fox News:

Ban, opening the global body's first racism conference in eight years, said racism including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia needed to be tackled.

"I fear that today's economic crisis, if not handled properly, could evolve into a full-scale political crisis marked by social unrest, weakened governments and angry publics who have lost faith in their leaders and their own future," the U.N. chief said.

"In such circumstances, the consequences for communities already victimized by prejudice or exclusion could be frightening."

He also said he regretted the absence of the United States and eight other Western nations that have pulled out because of fears Muslim nations will dominate the conference with calls for to denounce Israel and for a global ban on criticizing Islam.

"There comes a time to reaffirm our faith in fundamental human rights and the dignity and worth of us all," Ban told the gathering of thousands of ministers, diplomats and dignitaries at the U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva.

President Obama's administration announced Saturday it would boycott the weeklong meeting because it makes reference to a declaration made in 2001 at the global body's first 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.

Organizers have sought to steer clear of the controversies that marred the Durban meeting, but have run into many of the same contentious issues. Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland are also not participating, while Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to take the floor later Monday.

More from JPost:

Ahmadinejad began his speech by pointing the finger at the United States, Europe and Israel and said they were destabilizing the entire world. "Those in authority at the time set off two world wars," Ahmadinejad said, in an accusation directed at Western powers. He went on to accuse those powers of "killing hundred of millions of people and causing mass destruction" also in Africa and Asia.

"Those who won [the Second World War], considered that the world was with them," he said, and "set up laws that were oppressive and trampling."

Ahmadinejad then went on to criticize the UN: "The Security Council set up after World War II, let's analyze it. The veto vote - is that equality? Is that justice? Is that equality amongst human beings?" he asked, "Or rather is it arrogance and humiliation? The Security Council must be the most important body for decision-making in order to promote peace. If a law is based on force, how can we secure peace and justice? The seeking of power and arrogance means racism, injustice and occupation."

At this point the Iranian president's speech moved to the subject of Israel and the Palestinians.

"As was the case after World War II, armies occupied other territories and people were transferred from territories. In reality, under the pretext of compensating for the evil done in the name of xenophobia, they in fact set up the most violent xenophobes, in Palestine."

"The Security Council made it possible for that illegitimate government to be set up. For 60 years, this government was supported by the world. Many Western countries say they are fighting racism; but in fact support it with occupation, bombings and crimes such as those committed in Gaza. These countries support the criminals," Ahmadinejad said.

Good for the countries that refused to participate and for those that walked out when he started his anti-Semitic remarks. A conference against racism should never have a thug like Ahmadinejad be allowed to rant his own racist remarks.