Jews, Non-jews Express Outrage at Amin’s Speech to General Assembly
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Jews, Non-jews Express Outrage at Amin’s Speech to General Assembly

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American Jews and non-Jews expressed outrage over the weekend at Ugandan President Idi Amin’s anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist speech to the United Nations General Assembly in which he called for the extinction of Israel as a state. Dr. Thomas P. Melady, who was the American Ambassador to Uganda from May, 1972 to September, 1973 when diplomatic relations were severed in 1973, called on the UN to appoint a committee to investigate the “atrocities and executions” committed by Amin, Daniel P. Moynihan, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, termed the Ugandan President a “racist murderer.”

Melady, who is executive vice-president at St, Joseph College in Philadelphia, declared at a press conference sponsored by the American Jewish Committee’s Philadelphia office, that “Instead of receiving Amin with standing ovations, the UN should appoint a committee to investigate and denounce Amin.” He added that “The international community should rebuke and sever relations with this criminal head of state for what he has done and what he is doing.”

Melady recalled that while he was in Kampala there were “endless numbers of executions and disappearances reported to me daily.” U.S. officials have said that there is no reason to doubt a report by the international Commission of Jurists that 26,000 to 260,000 Ugandans have been murdered since Amin seized power in 1971.

Amin’s speech at the UN, in which he not only denounced Israel but also charged that Zionists controlled the American government and society “confirmed his anti-Semitism.” Melady said. He noted this was “already indicated during the Yom Kippur War when he called for the destruction of Israel and named a public park in Kampala after Hitler.” The former Ambassador also charged that the UN never rebuked Amin for a telegram he sent in 1972 to the Secretary General advocating the genocide of the Jewish people.


Moynihan’s remarks were made in a speech Friday night to the AFL-CIO convention in San Francisco. “It is no accident, I fear, that this racist murderer, as one of our leading newspapers called him this morning (The New York Times), is the head of the Organization of African Unity,” Moynihan declared, “for Israel is a democracy and it is simply a fact that despotism will seek whatever opportunities come to hand to destroy that which threatens them most, which is democracy.” He said he hoped that the OAU “will disavow Amin and all he stands for.”

Moynihan’s blast was considered unprecedented for a U.S. ranking diplomat against a head of state. The UN Ambassador told reporters he did not clear his remarks with the State Department but stressed that didn’t mean he did not discuss his speech with the highest levels.


Immediately after Amin’s speech the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith called on Moynihan to reply publicly to Amin’s “slander.” Conference chairman, Rabbi Israel Miller, said Amin’s speech was a “foul assault not only against American Jews but against our American democracy.” ADL chairman Seymour Graubard declared that Amin’s “disgraceful anti-Jewish bigotry” has “degraded the United Nations and reduced its standing in the opinion of all fair minded people.”

The American Jewish Committee, in a telegram to UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and Moynihan, declared that Amin’s “anti-Semitic diatribe was an effort to inspire Nazi-like actions in this country and was nothing less than an appeal to genocide.” Elmer L. Winter. AJ Committee president, urged Waldheim to “publicly express concern with this perversion of the UN rostrum and use the authority of your office to prevent such exhibitions in the future.” Ambassador W. Tapley Bennett Jr. was the only American official to attend a reception last Thursday for Amin given by Waldheim.

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