UN walkout as Ahmadinejad calls Israel racist
Western diplomats walk out past Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, top right at the podium, as he slams Israel during a speech at a UN conference on racism
The UN’s second conference on racism descended into farce yesterday when President Ahmadinejad of Iran used his address to single out Israel as the “most cruel and racist regime”.
Dozens of angry European diplomats, including the British delegation, stormed out as Mr Ahmadinejad used a rambling speech in Geneva to condemn the US and Europe for establishing Israel after the Second World War.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves a meeting with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon at the conference before his controversial speech
He said: “Following World War II, they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering.
“They sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in the occupied Palestine. In fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine.”
Ahmadinejad addresses the Durban Review Conference on racism at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva
The Iranian President was the only head of state to attend the anti-racism conference, to which most countries did not even send ministers, and his appearance there had all the hallmarks of an election stump speech.
In his 30-minute address, punctuated by walkouts, applause and the ejection of three protesters dressed as circus clowns, Mr Ahmadinejad condemned Israel as a racist state masquerading as a religious one. “The word Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religion and abuses religious sentiments to hide their hatred,” he thundered.
He went on to suggest that the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was also part of a Zionist plot. “Wasn’t the military action against Iraq planned by the Zionists and their allies in the US Administration then, in complicity with the arms manufacturing companies, and the owner of the world?” he asked.
Diplomats walk out as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slams Israel in a UN conference on racism in Geneva
A demonstrator wearing a wig is carried out of the conference as Ahmadinejad delivers his speech