Delegates walk out on Ahmadinejad

As Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the eradication of Israel in his address to the United Nations anti-racism conference which opened its week long event in Geneva on Monday, delegates walked out, hecklers wearing clown-wigs shouted ‘racist’ towards him and were escorted out by security personnel and his speech was continually interrupted.

“Governments must be encouraged and supported in their fights at eradicating this barbaric racism. Efforts must be made to put an end to Zionism,” he said in the rambling speech he gave at the podium.

As he spoke, some 23 EU delegates were seen walking out the room when Ahmadinejad said Israel was created on the “pretext of Jewish suffering” from World War II.

Ahmadinejad began his speech by pointing the finger at the United States, Europe and Israel and said they were destabilizing the entire world. “Those in authority at the time set off two world wars,” Ahmadinejad said, in an accusation directed at Western powers. He went on to accuse those powers of “killing hundred of millions of people and causing mass destruction” also in Africa and Asia.

“Those who won [the Second World War], considered that the world was with them,” he said, and “set up laws that were oppressive and trampling.”

{inset} A member of the United Union of Jewish Students shouts and holds up a sign saying ‘This is a circus, a racist can’t fight racism’ during the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN Racism conference at the United Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday.
Photo: AP {end inset}

Ahmadinejad then went on to criticize the UN: “The Security Council set up after World War II, let’s analyze it. The veto vote – is that equality? Is that justice? Is that equality amongst human beings?” he asked, “Or rather is it arrogance and humiliation? The Security Council must be the most important body for decision-making in order to promote peace. If a law is based on force, how can we secure peace and justice? The seeking of power and arrogance means racism, injustice and occupation.”

At this point the Iranian president’s speech moved to the subject of Israel and the Palestinians.

“As was the case after World War II, armies occupied other territories and people were transferred from territories. In reality, under the pretext of compensating for the evil done in the name of xenophobia, they in fact set up the most violent xenophobes, in Palestine.”

“The Security Council made it possible for that illegitimate government to be set up. For 60 years, this government was supported by the world. Many Western countries say they are fighting racism; but in fact support it with occupation, bombings and crimes such as those committed in Gaza. These countries support the criminals,” Ahmadinejad said.

Just as Ahmadinejad took the podium at the opening of the international anti-racism conference in Geneva on Monday, two men in multi-colored clown wigs stood up from both sides of the conference hall and tried to reach the podium. One of the men threw a soft red object at Ahmadinejad.

He was immediately escorted out of the hall by security personnel. In his opening remarks, Ahmadinejad called the man “ignorant.”

Calls from the balcony were heard throughout the speech.

Still, the majority of the delegates greeted the Iranian president with a round of applause.

Ahmadinejad also blamed Israel for America’s invasion of Iraq, which he said benefited Israeli arms sales.

He spoke to the UN assembly on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis
during World War II.

Later, at a question-and-answer session with reporters, Ahmadinejad defended the views he presented in his speech.

The protesters wanted to prevent the crowd from hearing “all points of view,” he said, and were hurting the “freedom of information” and “freedom of speech.”

France’s ambassador to the UN, Jean Baptiste Mattéi, told the France 24 TV network “We don’t want to repeat what happened in Durban… it’s not against the conference, but we cannot share the views expressed by Ahmadinejad. We wanted to make this clear.”