ADL to Ban Ki-Moon: Reject Offensive Statements on Israel by U.N. Undersecretary General

New York, NY, April 25, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to publicly reject offensive statements about Israel made by Rima Khalaf, U.N. Undersecretary-General and Executive Secretary of the U.N Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Ms. Khalaf, whose comments appeared in the February 24 U.N. report "Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative," charged Israel with pursuing a policy promoting state “ethnic and religious purity” based on its desire to be recognized as a Jewish State.  She also endorsed an international boycott of Israeli products produced in the West Bank.

ADL previously wrote to the Secretary General urging him to reject Khalaf’s comments, but did not receive a reply. On April 15, in response to a reporter’s question on the issue, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric stated “The Secretary-General has full confidence in her [Ms. Khalaf] and her ability to do her work.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are troubled by the failure of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to publicly reject the offensive comments made about Israel by U.N. Undersecretary Rima Khalaf. We are further concerned that the statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric will be understood by some as an endorsement of Ms. Khalaf’s extreme views, something which goes against the Secretary General’s own publicly stated views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ms. Khalaf’s remarks contribute nothing constructive towards resolving the conflict, and represent a one-sided, biased perspective on Israel.

We strongly urge the Secretary General to publicly reject Ms. Khalaf’s remarks, and make it clear that they have no place in official U.N. comments or reports.

The League also recently voiced concern on the U.N.’s attacks on the Jewish State after the passage of five anti-Israel resolutions at the Human Rights Council.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.