The European Jewish Congress Denounces Iranian President’s Participation In U.N. Conference

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(Paris, June 3, 2008)- The European Jewish Congress is deeply outraged and appalled that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be granted permission to attend the High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, opening today in Rome.

While the EJC acknowledges the importance of this issue, we are troubled by the attendance of Iranian President Ahmadinejad. We commend Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi for his refusal to meet with President Ahmadinejad and similarly applaud Pope Benedict XVI for his attitude towards the anti-Israeli, anti- Semitic Iranian leader.

Ever since his election, President Ahmadinejad has distinguished himself to be an anti-Semitic leader who has denied the Holocaust and the mass killing of the 6 million Jews of Europe. Moreover, Ahmadinejad has threatened on several occasions to erase Israel, a UN Member State, “off the world map” and declared that the State of Israel should not exist.

“Such an ill-advised decision by the United Nations Organization would be a complete dismissal of the historical realties wherein the very State of Israel was established on the ashes of the Second World War and following the mass murder of the Jews of Europe,” declared Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress.

To allow a national leader who so blatantly ignores that history to be given a public voice such as this is an affront to the memory of those millions of victims and the sensitivities of the survivors.

The United Nations therefore cannot and must not allow a leader of a country who calls for the destruction of another UN Member State to participate at its conferences. If it does, the UN cannot maintain its moral statute and will be the cause of its own self-destruction!

“The European Jewish Congress fears that this significant international conference will be used by the Iranian President as a platform for his anti-Semitic, Israel-bashing discourse” added Kantor.

Furthermore, allowing President Ahmadinejad to attend this conference is a damaging insult to the 90% of his people who live in poverty. The Iranian government spends billions of dollars in developing nuclear weapons, in defiance of the sanctions of the international community, while millions of Iranians are unable to receive proper nutrition and healthcare.