New York–AJC welcomed strong statements issued by the White House and the office of the United Nations Secretary-General condemning remarks this week by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeling Zionism, the historic Jewish movement for national self-determination, a “crime against humanity.

“It is unacceptable for the Prime Minister of Turkey to impugn the legitimacy of the state of Israel, the fulfillment of the national rights and aspirations of the Jewish people and a member in good standing of the UN since 1949, said David Harris, AJC executive director. “His repugnant comment demands broad and unequivocal rejection by world leaders, precisely as the White House and UN Secretary-General’s office have so laudably done.”

In response to the Prime Ministers remarks, delivered in Vienna before the fifth global forum of the UN-sponsored Alliance of Civilizations, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor issued the following rebuke: “We reject Prime Minister Erdogan’s characterization of Zionism as a crime against humanity, which is offensive and wrong. We encourage people of all faiths, cultures, and ideas to denounce hateful actions and to overcome the differences of our times.

The office of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that the UN chief, attending the session in which Erdogan spoke, had heard the Prime Ministers speech through an interpreter.” The UN statement continued: “If the comment about Zionism was interpreted correctly, then it was not only wrong but contradicts the very principles on which the Alliance of Civilizations is based. The Secretary-General believes it is unfortunate that such hurtful and divisive comments were uttered at a meeting being held under the theme of responsible leadership.”


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