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Israel calls on UN to censure Egyptian diplomat for ‘biased' comments

Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil regretted not defending a UN resolution critical of Zionism [Twitter]

Date of publication: 18 January, 2021

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Israel has called on the UN to censure a former Egyptian ambassador to the world body who expressed regret for not defending a resolution equating Zionism with racism.
Israel has called on the UN to censure a former Egyptian ambassador to the United Nations and prevent him from conducting training sessions at the global body, Israeli media sources reported on Sunday evening.

The current Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, accused Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil of making what he characterized as “anti-Israel” comments.

“Ambassador Khalil’s comments, political agenda and blatant bias render him unfit to run a United Nations training session,” Erdan wrote in a letter to Marco Suazo, the head of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

He was referring to remarks made by Khalil regarding UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, which was passed in 1975 and determined that Zionism was “a form of racism and racial discrimination”.

Read also: Is Anti-Zionism a form of Anti-Semitism?

The resolution was revoked by the UN General Assembly in 1991 under heavy US and Israeli pressure. Egypt, which voted in favour of Resolution 3379, was absent for the vote on its revocation.

According to Erdan’s letter, Khalil hosted an event at UNITAR in November 2020 entitled “A Practical Look at the United Nations”, in which he expressed regret that Egypt had not voted against the revocation of the resolution.

Khalil had “noted that he was personally involved in efforts to prevent the rescinding of the resolution in 1991, and expressed embarrassment and disappointment that Egypt did not participate in the vote following pressure from the US,” Erdan said.

Erdan went on to accuse Khalil of using “the platform of a UNITAR course to express anti-Israel opinions and politicised what should have been an objective and unbiased UN training session.”

Read also: Israel is a 'non-democratic apartheid regime', admits Israeli rights watchdog B'Tselem

He said that the UN needed to improve vetting of speakers so that its platform “is not abused or used to promote a biased agenda against a member state.”

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 condemned all forms of racial discrimination and compared the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to the situation in apartheid South Africa.

It was supported by Arab and African states, as well as the Soviet Union and its allies.

However, the resolution was opposed by the US and western European countries and Israel made its revocation a precondition for participation in the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, which later led to the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO.

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