AJC Urges Removal of UN Under-Secretary General Rima Khalaf

Apr 16, 2014, 09:50 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to remove Rima Khalaf from her position as UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

"Under-Secretary General Khalaf's profound and all-too-obvious animus against one UN member state, Israel, has betrayed her fundamental responsibility as a UN official," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

An ESCWA report, "Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative," released in February, is full of invectives against Israel. Ostensibly a study of economic development challenges and prospects in the Arab world, the report accuses Israel of a "flagrant breach of all international conventions and resolutions," and of supporting "discord aimed at establishing sectarian Arab mini-States."

Khalaf highlighted the accusations against Israel when she released the report. "Israel's adamancy that it is a Jewish State...violates the rights of both the Muslim and Christian indigenous populations and revives the concept of a state ethnic and religious purity, which cause egregious human suffering during the twentieth century," Khalaf declared.

"It's painfully ironic, isn't it, that Khalaf has no problem with Arab states that self-define as both Arab and Muslim, but has a big problem when it comes to the notion of Israel as a Jewish state," Harris observed. "And yet, it was the UN itself that first laudably recommended the creation of a Jewish state -- the General Assembly's words, not ours -- in 1947."

In a letter to Secretary General Ban this week, Israel formally requested Khalaf's suspension as the head of ESCWA.

"It is unacceptable that inflammatory anti-Israel messages continue to be produced under the banner of the United Nations and using UN resources," wrote Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN. "By demonizing Israel, Ms. Khalaf is advancing a personal agenda rather than furthering the cause of peace or advancing regional Arab development."

Prosor added that the accusations against Israel in the ESCWA report and expressed by Khalaf "represent the epitome of modern day anti-Semitism and cannot be condoned under any circumstances."

"We could not agree more with the conclusions reached by Ambassador Prosor," Harris noted.

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SOURCE American Jewish Committee