The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed its shock and dismay at United Nations Secretary
General Koffi Annan's failure to respond to the antisemitic attacks launched against Israel
by Arab leaders at the just concluded Arab League Summit in Amman, Jordan. Rabbi
Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the leading Jewish NGO said that Annan's silence was
more devastating than the Arab leaders' antisemitic slurs.
"For Koffi Annan to sit in silence while Syria's President Bashar al-Assad called Israel 'more
racist than the Nazis' and to listen to President Saddam Hussein's emissary curse the
Jewish people, compromises his role as a legitimate mediator between the parties in the
Middle East conflict," said Rabbi Hier, noting that at the end of the Summit Arab delegates
endorsed Mr. Annan's bid for a second term as secretary general of the UN.
"These were no mere footnotes to a political discourse he was listening to. The
statements made were blatant antisemitic attacks demonizing an entire people that
demanded a vigorous public response from the person who represents the fundamental
human rights of all nations," he continued.
Further, the Wiesenthal Center was deeply disappointed by Mr. Annan's own speech to
the conference when he asserted that "…the Arab world has every right to criticize Israel
for its continued occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory and for its excessively
harsh response to the intifada" but failed to condemn, or even mention, the ongoing
violence and terrorism by Palestinians against Israelis.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights
organizations with a membership of over 400,000 families in the United States. It
preserves the memory of the Holocaust through community programs, outreach and social
action. The Center is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations,
UNESCO, and the OSCE.