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April 17, 2014 10:19 am

Jewish Group Urges Removal of UN Under-Secretary General Rima Khalaf

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Rima Khalaf, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Photo: UN.

Rima Khalaf, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Photo: UN.

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.”

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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.

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