Stop Ahmadinejad Movement Hits New York

Protests in June kept Ahmadinejad out of Iran’s main holy city. A mass protest in New York will call on the world to boycott his UN speech.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 15:09

Protest against Ahmadinejad last year
Protest against Ahmadinejad last year
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

The World Jewish Congress and other activists are planning a mass demonstration in New York, calling for a worldwide boycott of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s scheduled speech at the United Nations in two weeks. Protests in Iran last June succeeded in preventing him from visiting Iran’s main holy city, and fears of violence prevented the Iranian leader from visiting Libya, Egypt and Latin America.

The World Jewish Congress has already launched its campaign, featuring a petition form on its website, and warns that while “Iran still defies several rounds of sanctions imposed by the UN, [it] may soon be capable of building an atomic bomb and supports radical terrorist groups. Human rights and freedom of expression are being suppressed in Iran. Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map.”

The Iranian community is sponsoring another petition on a website.

Although the United Nations rules require that Ahmadinejad be admitted into the assembly hall, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said, "We believe that, in view of his past performances, he has relinquished the moral right to speak from that pulpit.”

He added, “Member states have an obligation to show that the U.N. cannot be hijacked for the purposes of spreading the kind of racist diatribe and bigoted views which the organization was founded to combat and overcome. We are calling on world leaders to show that the values and goals of the UN Charter will be upheld at this year’s General Assembly meeting.”

Yeshiva University and several other Jewish organizations are co-sponsoring the rally at noon next Thursday, across the street from U.N. headquarters.

Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein, president of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations, the central coordinating body for 52 Jewish organizations in the United States, said the rally and call for a boycott are intended “to send a message about human rights violations and other issues, like women and children being executed, stopping terrorism, and nuclear weapons programs."

The opening of the General Assembly comes three months after Ahmadinejad was re-elected president in an election that opponents said was rigged. Iranian military and police forces killed and wounded hundreds of protesters, while many others “disappeared” or have remained in prison. Evidence has surfaced that authorities ordered rape and torture of several demonstrators.

Although the U.N. must admit Ahmadinejad into its building, Florida Republican Congresswoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen urged the Obama administration not to allow him into the country. "Our responsibility as the UN's host country is trumped by our national security," she said.

Last week, a security group with White House connections urged the posh InterContinental Barclay Hotel to cancel its booking for Ahmadinejad. The group wrote the hotel that it should not be taking “blood money” from him.

"The New York Post obtained the letter to the hotel, which was told, "By accommodating the Iranian delegation, the InterContinental not only endorses President Ahmadinejad's election but also turns a blind eye to the regime's flagrant violations of human rights and its commitment to illegally developing nuclear weapons.”