New York, September 20th, 2022 – European Coalition for Israel has written to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres to express their concern over recent remarks by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Chilean President Gabriel Boric ahead of this week’s General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York which begins today Tuesday.
In a recent TV Interview President Raisi said that “more research is needed to verify if there was ever a Holocaust.”
“This form of Holocaust trivialization is simply unacceptable for anyone who is invited to speak in the UN General Assembly Hall given that the United Nations was literally built out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Those who deny these historical facts are doomed to repeat them. Consequently, the Iranian leader has threatened to annihilate the Jewish state”, ECI directors Tomas Sandell and Gregory Lafitte said in their letter.
Sandell and Lafitte reiterated how ECI already in 2012 had brought up their concern with the predecessor of Guterres, Ban Ki-moon as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had then expressed similar views as Raisi. In a speech at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran in August 2012 Ban Ki-moon stated, “I strongly reject any threat by any UN member state to destroy another, or to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust.”
In the letter ECI also expressed their concern over the situation in Chile where the newly elected President Gabriel Boric has refused to accept the credentials of the new Israeli Ambassador in a clear breach of diplomatic protocol, an action that the Chilean Jewish Community has called an antisemitic “double standard.” President Boric has consistently displayed hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people. He has repeatedly singled out Israel for criticism, including accusing Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid”. Furthermore, he has characterized Chilean Jews not as “Chileans” but as “people who live in our country,” thus implying dual loyalty and that Jews are somehow different from other citizens.
Current UN Secretary-General António Guterres is one of the signatories of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism which explicitly lists Holocaust denial or accusations of Israel as a racist endeavour, as clear expressions of antisemitism.
The General Debate of the UNGA begins today Tuesday, 20th September, as representatives of each 193 UN member states are scheduled to address the UN General Assembly. The Chilean President will be one of the first speakers on Tuesday morning whereas the Iranian President is scheduled to speak the following day, on Wednesday.