Walking out on Ahmadinejad: Yom Hashoah at Durban II

Yom Hashoah at Durban II:
Defiling our Past - Threatening our Future

April 21, 2009

Dear SWC Supporter,

When Holocaust denier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad strode to the UN podium today in Geneva on the eve of Yom Hashoah, together with my colleague Shimon Samuels, we stormed out in protest.

Elie Wiesel verbally abused as "Zion-Nazi" by Ahmadinejad entourage -
click here to watch video

Anti-Zionist Jewish demonstrators, Geneva

SWC's Dr. Shimon Samuels, Alan Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel at demonstration against Ahmadinejad.

Once again Ahmadinejad vilified Israel, calling her “the most cruel and racist regime” that “has tarnished the image of humanity.” Not only must Israel go, but “the Zionists and their supporters” must be purged from their strangleholds on Western media and culture. There was no recognition of the Holocaust in his speech except to complain that the Palestinians are paying for it.

This was too much even for the European Union, most of whose members joined the United Kingdom in walking out in protest. But not before Ahmadinejad had already hijacked the conference. While the Norwegian Foreign Minister boldly announced, “we will not surrender the UN to extremism,” the Iranian regime teaches its people that all that is evil can be encapsulated in the word 'Zion' - and no Jew is immune from that hate. Not me walking out at the UN. Not even Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Elie Wiesel, who I witnessed being accosted by one of Ahmadinejad’s 180-member entourage with the screams of “Zion-Nazi” (click here to watch video captured by SWC Latin American Representative Sergio Widder).

I was humbled by Professor Wiesel´s resiliency and by his towering speech to thousands of Jews at the
community’s Yom Hashoah Memorial just across from the flags of UN Member States. I was humbled by the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors who led us all in the Kaddish prayer.

This Yom Hashoah it’s hard to say if we are closer to a new day in human rights or the 1938 Evian Conference held on the French side of
Lake Geneva when the civilized world signaled Hitler that no one gave a damn about the Jews. With your continued support and solidarity we will work to bring that new day of mutual respect closer to reality.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper
SWC Associate Dean

Please continue to support the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s efforts in Geneva. 
You can follow my updates from Geneva on www.wiesenthal.com or www.huffingtonpost.com