New York – August 26 – AJC welcomed the clarification of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s comments on the UN and Israel.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, was interviewed yesterday on an Israeli radio station and said: “I’ve been in touch with the Secretary-General’s office in New York, and I can assure you that what he meant there in New York was not a retraction [of his earlier comment that there is discrimination against Israel at the UN]. He has said, unfortunately, because of the conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism, and suffered from lies and sometimes even discrimination. This is what I know he has been saying here, and I know this is what he stands for.”
Serry spoke because the Secretary-General, after initially commenting during a visit to Israel earlier this month that Israel experienced discrimination at the UN, appeared to contradict himself when, later in New York, he commented that, “No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the UN.”
AJC, which has followed UN matters closely for decades, was quick to react to the surprising retraction. In both a press release and an op-ed that was published in The Huffington Post and Jerusalem Post, AJC set forth nine examples—by no means meant as an exhaustive list—of systemic and structural discrimination against Israel in the UN system.
“We are pleased that Mr. Serry has reiterated the Secretary-General’s belief that Israel is not treated fairly, and does indeed suffer from ‘lies’ and ‘discrimination’ in the world body,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “That said, what is most important is to confront and correct the injustices, both for Israel’s sake and, no less, for the integrity of the UN itself. After all, the UN Charter calls for equal treatment of all member states, which clearly is not operative in the case of Israel.”