Jewish Group Urges Removal of UN Under-Secretary General Rima Khalaf
Rima Khalaf, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), came under fire on Thursday from a major Jewish group that urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to remove the executive because of anti-Israel invective in her latest report.
Israel formally requested Khalaf’s suspension as the head of ECSWA this week.
In a statement, American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris said, “Under-Secretary General Khalaf’s profound and all-too-obvious animus against one UN member state, Israel, has betrayed her fundamental responsibility as a UN official.”
The AJC said the latest ESCWA report, “Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative,” released in February, “is full of invectives against Israel.”
AJC quoted Khalaf as saying,”Israel’s adamancy that it is a Jewish State… violates the rights of both the Muslim and Christian indigenous populations and revives the concept of a state ethnic and religious purity, which cause egregious human suffering during the twentieth century.”
AJC’s Harris said, “It’s painfully ironic, isn’t it, that Khalaf has no problem with Arab states that self-define as both Arab and Muslim, but has a big problem when it comes to the notion of Israel as a Jewish state.” He noted that the UN endorsed “the creation of a Jewish state — the General Assembly’s words, not ours — in 1947.”
Earlier this week, Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, wrote to the UN Secretary General: “It is unacceptable that inflammatory anti-Israel messages continue to be produced under the banner of the United Nations and using UN resources. By demonizing Israel, Ms. Khalaf is advancing a personal agenda rather than furthering the cause of peace or advancing regional Arab development.”
Prosor added that the accusations against Israel in the ECSWA report and expressed by Khalaf “represent the epitome of modern day anti-Semitism and cannot be condoned under any circumstances.”
A Jordanian, Khalaf held several high-ranking ministerial positions in Amman, including Minister of Industry and Trade, Minister of Planning, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning.