Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

Iran and the UN platform for anti-semitism

Monday, April 24, 2006

Iran's election as one of the Vice-Chairpersons of the UN Disarmament Commission has begun to reap the predictable results. This past week Iranian Vice-Chair Reza Najafi was an active participant in the Commission's Working Group on "Recommendations for Achieving the Objectives of Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons." On April 19th he told the Commission that suggestions Iran had a nuclear weapons program were "Jewish propaganda" and a fabrication of "the Jewish lobby" in the United States. American delegate, John Bravaco, responded by complaining Iran's remarks were clearly anti-semitic and he asked the Chair to call the Iranian delegate to order. Chairperson Jean-Francis Zinsou of Benin refused to respond or make any comment. Only when the meeting was over did a handful of European delegates personally express their dismay over the Iranian comments to the Israeli representative but none of them had been publicly prepared to support the U.S. call to silence anti-semitism in the meeting rooms of the UN.