Kofi Annan's Planned Meeting With Ahmadinejad "Demeans And Degrades His Office"
Jerusalem, August 30, 2006 … U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's plans to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran "demeans and degrades his office," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today.
"Would he go to meet Hitler?" asked Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is currently in Israel. "This is a man who time and again has vowed to destroy Israel and who openly questions the Holocaust."
Mr. Foxman also noted that Mr. Annan, during the first leg of his Mideast tour, has strongly condemned Israel's actions in the recent war, while largely reserving judgment for Hezbollah. "Kofi Annan clearly has a blind spot when it comes to Israel," said Mr. Foxman. "Why doesn't he understand what the Israelis have gone through?"
In Israel, Mr. Annan said he was determined to meet with Ahmadinejad, telling reporters that as the leader of the U.N., "… I have no hesitation maintaining contacts with any president."
"It is not enough for Mr. Annan to merely dismiss Ahmadinejad's poisoned rhetoric," said Mr. Foxman. "Ahmadinejad represents a threat not only to Israel, but to Western values. He is a dictator with nuclear ambitions. He is thumbing his nose at the Security Council. Aren't there enough people representing the U.N. with access to the president of Iran? It demeans and degrades the office of the Secretary General and lowers the prestige of the U.N., while raising the profile of Ahmadinejad."
Mr. Foxman said it was "ironic and sad" that Mr. Annan could speak out so forcefully against anti-Semitism yet have no qualms about meeting with leaders of Iran and Hezbollah, a government and a terrorist organization who pose the most lethal threats to Jews since the Holocaust.
"He is doing business with purveyors of the worst form of anti-Semitism imaginable – those who call for the elimination of the Jewish people," said Mr. Foxman.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.