Last November's United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Israel as being racist was hotly debated in the U.
Last November's United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Israel as being racist was hotly debated in the U.N. Economic and Social Council on Wednesday (28 April). The debate was a continuation of the U.N. Decade for Action to combat racism and racial discrimination which began in December 1973.
On 10 November last the General Assembly passed a resolution - widely supported by most Arab and third world countries - condemning Israel as a racist nation.
At the time both Israel and the United States strongly condemned the resolution and at Wednesday's Council meeting it was Israel and the U.S. that once again spoke out against it.
The U.S. Ambassador William Scranton spelt out why his country would not take part in anti-racist activities in the U.N. as long as it was linked with the resolution equating Zionism with racism. He said while Americans supported every proper effort to combat racism and racial discrimination at an international level, they regarded the resolution as unjust and refused to participate in the Decade or attend a proposed anti-racism conference in Accra, Ghana.
But Jordan's Ambassador Abdul Hamid Sharaf, who spoke immediately after Mr. Scranton, took a different view. He said the U.N. resolution was of great moral consequence and a step in the right direction morally and politically. He added, "Like the resolutions on apartheid in Southern Africa, this resolution exposed the racist and discriminatory basis of Israel's conduct in the region of the Middle East, against the Palestinian Arabs and their neighbours.
Some of the strongest words during the debate came from Israel's Ambassador Chaim Herzog, who took the opportunity to reject recent criticism by Arab and other states of a recent visit to Israel by South African Minister John Vorster. He also put before the Council evidence to show that Israel wholly supported any moves to eliminate racism and pointed out cases where his country had continuing and satisfactory development programmes with several African states.
Other speakers on the issue during the debate include the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) delegate Zehdi Labib Terzi and Iraq's delegate Amer Salih Araim.