Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday branded Israel a "racist government," charging the West with dispossessing the Palestinians "on the pretext of Jewish suffering from World War II."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday branded Israel a “racist government,” charging the West with dispossessing the Palestinians “on the pretext of Jewish suffering from World War II.”
The remarks seemingly living up to concerns that the United Nations conference on racism which he was addressing would turn into a forum to vilify the Jewish state.
The comments sparked a mass walk-out of the conference hall by dozens of Western delegates to the summit.
Ahmadinejad accused Israel of “being the most cruel and racist regime,” sparking a walkout by angry Western diplomats at the conference and protests from others.
In a rambling speech, Ahmadinejad on Monday pointed the finger at the United States, Europe and Israel and said they were “destabilizing the entire world.”
Some European diplomats immediately walked out of the room when Ahmadinejad said Israel was “created on the pretext of Jewish suffering from World War II.”
“The UN security council has stabilized this occupation regime and supported it in the last 60 years giving them a free hand to continue their crimes,” Ahmadinejad said.
“What were the root causes of the U.S. attacks against Iraq or invasion of Afghanistan?” the Iranian president said. “The Iraqi people have suffered enormous losses … wasn’t the military action against Iraq planned by the Zionists … in the U.S. administration, in complicity with the arms manufacturing companies?”
“The Security Council made it possible for that illegitimate government to be set up,” Ahmadinejad said. “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 committed in Gaza. These countries support the criminals.”
A wigged protester shouting “Racist! racist!” threw a soft red object at
Ahmadinejad, hitting the podium and interrupting his speech.
Ahmadinejad’s speech came as Israel prepared to mark its own Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Iranian leader has repeatedly claimed the Holocaust never happened and has called repeatedly for Israel’s destruction.
The president also criticized the United States, which had boycotted the conference along with a host of other countries, accusing it of invading Iraq and Afghanistan solely to “expand its sphere of control.”
The first anti-racism conference, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, was dominated by condemnation of Israel, which led to a walk-out by the United States and Israel.
“Such outrageous anti-Semitic remarks should have no place in a UN anti-racism forum,” said British ambassador Peter Gooderham, whose country chose not to send a minister to Geneva.
And French ambassador Jean-Baptiste Mattei said: “It is a pity that Mr. Ahmadinejad is trying to take this conference hostage. We are ready for serious discussion but this is beyond what should have been expected.”