TEL AVIV – The United Nation’s global tourism body has appointed as its special ambassador a Jordanian businessman accused of anti-Semitism and peddling “solutions” to the Israeli-Arab conflict such as the ethnic cleansing of Jews.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) this week tapped wealthy businessman Talal Abu Ghazaleh as Special Ambassador of Tourism and Sustainable Development Goals ahead of its summit in Russia in 2019.
A Palestinian who was born in Jaffa in 1938, Abu Ghazaleh founded the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, a leading accounting and consultancy firm in the Arab world.
Earlier this year, Abu Ghazaleh told BBC‘s Arabic TV of his “international plan to transfer” the Jewish population of Israel to other countries.
“Just like the Jews believe in the Right of Return, we Palestinians believe in the Right of Return,” Abu Ghazaleh said in remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “Let every Palestinian return to Palestine and every Jew return to his own country.”
“I’m prepared to secure jobs for them all,” he said, before adding the oft-repeated Arab conspiracy theory that all Israelis carry a second passport. “They won’t need to worry about passports or visas, because they all have dual citizenships – Israeli citizenship and citizenship of his country of origin,” he declared.
On another occasion, Abu Ghazaleh repeated the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory prevalent in the Arab world that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were the result of a “Zionist plot.”
“In this day and age, Zionist power controls the decision-making centers. I always say that just like us Arabs, the U.S. is a victim of Zionist influence, which often – if not always – steers U.S. decisions against American interests, and in keeping with Zionist interests at all times,” Abu Ghazaleh explained.
“Hence, global Zionism created the notion of an enemy called ‘the terrorist Islam.’ … Therefore, to put it in an historical context, Zionism, which has been plotting all this time, came across an historic opportunity, and convinced the U.S. administration that this was an opportunity for it as well.”
“This is how it all began. This is how the war began,” he added.
Abu Ghazaleh has in the past been given several high level UN Task Force roles from UN secretary-generals including Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon. In 2016, Abu Ghazaleh was honored for furthering the UNDP’s development goals and for his “commitment to bettering society.” Sitting UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres recently pledged to “do everything possible to fight anti-Semitism in all its expressions.”
“I understand the security concerns of Israel, and I repeat that the idea or the intention or the will to destroy the State of Israel is something totally unacceptable from my perspective,” Guterres said.