UN Response to ADL Letter of July 11 to Kofi Annan
Posted: July 19, 2005
15 July 2005
Dear Ms. Balser and Mr. Foxman,
I write on behalf of the Secretary-General with regard to your letter of 11 July, in which you expressed concern about a UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace that was held in Paris on 12-13 July, as well as the decision by the Secretary-General to send a representative to address this meeting.
The UN meeting that was held earlier this week is an annual civil society conference that is mandated by the General Assembly and to which the Secretary-General regularly sends a message. This year, the Secretary-General stressed to the participants that the support of civil society in efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East is indispensable, and that civil society groups should be dedicated "to building bridges of understanding and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples." For the Secretary-General not to provide a message of hope and encouragement to civil society groups would have been a missed opportunity.
In your letter, you also expressed concern that the conference would be one-sided. I would agree with you that any meeting involving baseless allegations or denunciations of any one side to a conflict would not help to advance a constructive dialogue or to find agreed solutions to common concerns. That is one reason why I believe it is important for Israel and its supporters to be more fully represented at, and make their views known in UN fora. As you know, the Secretary-General always encourages and seeks a plurality of views and believes that these views should be aired. Naturally, the opinions expressed by some of the representatives of civil society at the meeting in Paris do not reflect the views of the United Nations, much less those of the Secretary-General's, on peace in the Middle East.
Finally, I note from your press release of 15 July that you have sent a second letter to the Secretary-General on this matter, and that you have published the text of this letter on the Anti-Defamation League website. This letter has not yet been received in the Office of the Secretary-General.
I would be grateful if you would please share this reply to your letter of 11 July with your constituents.
With all best wishes,
Director of Communications