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Press Release

With Anti-Semitic Tirade, Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei 'Pokes Finger In The Eye' Of U.N. Secretary General

New York, NY, August 31, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei at a summit of nations in Tehran "shameless" and "the diplomatic equivalent of poking a finger in the eye of the U.N. Secretary General," who attended the conference despite global reservations about the Iranian regime's record on human rights, unqualified support for the government of Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and defiance over its nuclear program.

Ayatollah Khamenei's speech yesterday to an audience of international leaders at the 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran rejected Israel's legitimacy, accused "ferocious Zionist wolves" of committing daily acts of murder around the world, and perpetuated the anti-Semitic myth of a Zionist-controlled media.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Ayatollah Khamenei's anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tirade is the diplomatic equivalent of poking a finger in the eye of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Khamenei's shameless, hate–filled speech in front of international leaders and the Secretary General further highlights the danger posed by Iran to regional and global stability.


The utter lack of respect for the Secretary General and the ideologically driven disdain revealed in Khamenei's remarks demonstrate that calls for Secretary Ban to avoid attending the Non-Aligned Movement summit were more than justified. Having decided to go to Tehran, Secretary Ban's clear and direct statements taking the Iranian regime to task for its anti-Israel rhetoric and Holocaust denial, though appropriate, were ineffectual.

According to a translation of his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei said, in part: "The Zionist regime, which has carried out assassinations and caused conflicts and crimes for decades by waging disastrous wars, killing people, occupying Arab territories and organizing state terror in the region and in the world, labels the Palestinian people as "terrorists," the people who have stood up to fight for their rights. And the media networks which belong to Zionism and many of the Western and mercenary media repeat this great lie in violation of ethical values and journalistic commitment, and the political leaders who claim to defend human rights have closed their eyes on all these crimes and support that criminal regime shamelessly and boldly and assume the role of their advocates."

Khamenei's comments come only a few weeks after Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi launched into an anti-Semitic tirade at a U.N-sponsored conference marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, where Rahimi bizarrely accused Jews of spreading drug addiction and controlling the international illegal drug trade.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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