UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a meeting of officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Center that “denial of Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism,” the organization said.
Mr. Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal and close friend of the late President of Israel, Shimon Peres, met senior members of the NGO at UN headquarters in New York and told them he rejects efforts to erase Jewish history in the Holy Land. “History must be respected. Jerusalem is a holy city for three religions,” Guterres said, according to a press release issued by the center.
Other topics covered in the meeting included efforts to make terrorism a crime against humanity, the UN’s role in countering burgeoning anti-Semitism in Europe, ending the demonizing and abuse of Israel in and by UN agencies, including UNRWA, UNESCO, and the UN Human Rights Council, and stumbling blocks hampering Middle East peace prospects.
The call to rein in the UN Human Rights Council follows years of it routinely singling out Israel in biased resolutions. So too the Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which in April 2016 approved a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Old City and the Temple Mount. The Mount is Judaism’s holiest site.
Rabbi Marvin Hier told Mr. Guterres that the world needs to work together to defeat the scourge of terrorism.
“There needs to be real consequences for perpetrators and supporters of terrorist acts like the recent suicide bombing carnage at a concert in Manchester,” Hier said. “England and the UN must declare that this scourge is a crime against humanity.”
Rabbi Hier pointed to Hamas’ genocidal founding charter and ongoing terrorist activities as the main roadblock to the peace process -not Israeli settlements.
Some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
Mr. Gutteres, who opposes expansion of Israeli communities on the West Bank, acknowledged that Hamas had succeeded in leveraging the UN presence in Gaza. He said that he has a “very strong commitment to not allowing UNWRA to be instrumentalized” in the future, the way Hamas and Islamic Jihad during the last Gaza War.
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