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António Guterres. Photo: screenshot YouTube UN News Centre

New UN Secretary General a “friend of Israel”

Antonio Guterres, 67, former Portuguese prime minister, became the ninth UN chief at a ceremony on Monday at the United Nations. Between 2005 to 2015 he was UN High Commissioner for Refugees and was voted in by acclamation. He takes over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1, 2017.

In his final address to the UN Security Council, Ban admitted there is an anti-Israel bias at the United Nations. “Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel,” he told the Council.

Although World Jewish Congress President, Ronald Lauder praised Ban for the public acknowledgement, it was too little and too late. “It was incumbent upon Sec. Gen Ban to issue statements such as these over the course of his near decade- long tenure…..”

Under Ban’s watch, in 2016 alone:

  • The UN women’s rights commission condemned Israel as the world’s only violator of womens’ rights, ignoring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and many others.
  • In a new Palestinian-led bid to use the UN for global BDS, the UN Human Rights Council voted to create a special blacklist of companies doing business with Israeli residential communities over the l949 Green Line, including in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.
  • In an op-ed in the New York Times, Ban Ki Moon justified Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians by saying, “It is human nature to react to occupation”.
  • The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) singled out Israel as the only violator in the world of “mental, physical and environmental health”.
  • When Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault stated UN ‘s Dubravka Simonovic, after her September visit to Palestinian territories.
  • The UN General Assembly just adopted 20 one- sided resolutions against Israel and only four resolutions on the rest of the world.
  • UNESCO adopted a resolution which used only Islamic terms for Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, denying thousands of years of Jewish and Christian heritage, religion and culture.

The above was taken from the UN Watch (headed by Montrealer Hillel Neuer) list of “Top Ten Worst UN Moments of 2016 which has gone viral.

In Israel ,reaction to Guterres new position has been positive. Former Israeli officials who have met with him told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday, “In- coming United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has been and will always be a friend of Israel.”

Guterres came to Israel in 1993 as secretary general of the Portuguese socialist party and leader of Portugal’s opposition. He met with then foreign minister Shimon Peres and then industry and trade minister Micha Harish. “He was friendly and was definitely not part of the extreme Left in Europe,” Harish told the Post. “I don’t remember an anti Israel comments by him. I think he will be more fair and less aggressive in the UN than his predecessors.”

Ehud Barak posted a picture of himself with Gutteres on Twitter, announcing 20 years of friendship with him. In an Army Radio interview, Barak said Guterres helped Israel in the European Union and the Socialist International.

Avraham “Moshka” Hatzamri, was his interpreter on that visit. He said Guterres had a good sense of humour and always spoke well of the Jewish State. “He proved to be a true friend of Israel and we always received his support on the Middle East Committee of the Socialist International,” he wrote in his memoirs.

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About Doris Strub Epstein

Doris Strub Epstein
Doris is a multimedia journalist with many years of experience. She has worked in radio, television and print journalism and writes on a variety of topics, especially the crucial issues in Canadian and Jewish life.

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