New York, NY, September 25, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed President Barack Obama's speech before the United Nations General Assembly warning that "a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained" and that "that is why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
ADL also expressed appreciation for the president's forceful and timely denunciation of extremism and hatred – noting among numerous examples, the scapegoating of Israel, Holocaust denial – and his statement that it is an obligation of world leaders to condemn and marginalize those who foment hate, extremism and violence.
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
It is vitally important that President Obama addressed the international community from the podium of the United Nations about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the international challenge to combat hate and violence.
We hope the international community heard the president as he set out the broad and significant stakes of a nuclear armed Iran for the entire Middle East and for the world, including: "the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy." The president reiterated his statements from earlier this year about Iran, particularly that containment is not an option, and that the U.S. "will do what it must" to prevent the Iranian regime from "obtaining" a nuclear weapon.
While we welcome the president's clear restatement of U.S. policy, that policy goal would have been better served by a call on the international community to intensify the diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran. In the year since President Obama last addressed the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program at the U.N. General Assembly, Iran's defiant march toward nuclear weapons capability has only accelerated. We urge the U.S. to continue its intensive engagement and consultation with Israel to work together to define and to flesh out the meaning of prevention and a mutually beneficial strategy to achieve this shared goal.
We welcome the president's eloquent explanation of America's unique ideal of freedom of speech and that American principles of freedom of speech carry with them responsibility – that leaders and opinion molders use their freedom of speech to speak out against evil and falsehoods and scapegoating.
The president's message regarding extremism was potent and timely, and made clear to the audience of international leaders in the General Assembly that they are responsible for condemning and marginalizing those who engage in scapegoating, incitement and violence.