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Simon Wiesenthal Center: President Obama Missed Opportunity At UN To Denounce Demonization Of Jews

September 25, 2012

Center urges President to order US Ambassador to lead walkout when Iranian President speaks on Yom Kippur

Officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said today that President Obama missed a key opportunity to place the demonization of Judaism on the same plane with insults to Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed during his UN General Assembly speech. President Obama said in part, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander, must also condemn the hate we see in the images we see of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a place where the victims of the Shoah are remembered 365 days a year, would not be expected to criticize the President of the United States for mentioning Holocaust denial in an important speech at the United Nations General Assembly a day before the most infamous Holocaust denier, Iranian President Ahmadinejad speaks from that same rostrum,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper founder and dean and associate dean of the leading Jewish human rights NGO, respectively. “Nonetheless, we believe President Obama repeated the same mistake he made during his historic speech in Cairo two years ago. There before Arab and Muslim leaders he appeared to say that the only justification Jews had for their presence in Israel was the suffering they endured during the Holocaust, rather than their 3,500 relationship with the land of Israel,” they added.

“Today on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, the central concern of Jews around the world is not the tragedy that happened 70 years ago, but what is happening now before our very eyes--the indifference of the world towards the continued demonization of Judaism, not only by extremist Muslims but also by the mainstream Palestinian leaders themselves,” Rabbi Hier and Rabbi Cooper said, pointing out that Palestinian Authority Abbas has led the charge by alleging that, “They claim that 2000 years ago they had a Temple. I challenge the claim that this is so.” The Palestinian Minister of Information Al Taha declared, “The Jews have no religious ties to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall.” Palestinian Authority Chief Judge, Sheik Tamimi also declared, “The Temple never existed.”

“In other words,” Center officials charged, “according to the Palestinian Authority, the prophetic writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel about the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, revered by Jews and Christians alike, are lies and distortions.”

“Raising that calumny from the rostrum of the United Nations, would have been a more appropriate comparison with the defamation of Muhammad and Jesus. It would have put the world on notice that President Obama is concerned not only about what happened to the Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust but about the Jewish people today who are imperiled by escalating anti-Semitism and the threat of annihilation by fanatical Iranian Mullahs,” Center officials continued.

“What the President can do now is to show solidarity with the Jewish people today by instructing our Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to lead the walkout of civilized nations when Iran’s President, who threatens another Holocaust, takes to the podium tomorrow,” Rabbis Hier and Cooper concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.