French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned anti-Semitism and all forms of racism as he accepted an award for statesmanship.
“When a Jew is insulted in France, when a Jew is ill treated because he is a Jew, it affects Jews throughout the world,” Sarkozy said Tuesday in New York upon receiving the World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. “Anti-Semitism is a stain” that must be eradicated.
Sarkozy earlier in the day made a forceful speech at the United Nations, vowing to pursue further sanctions against Iran and urging that those responsible for the world financial crisis be held accountable. He did not address Iran directly at the Appeal of Conscience dinner, which drew some 1,200 guests.
The French leader extolled the importance of diverse ethnic and religious groups in France, and said diversity in Israel and Lebanon also must be nurtured. Sarkozy declared that “France will forever be a friend of America,” but he urged U.S. leaders to hold those responsible for the financial crisis to reap the consequences.
Sarkozy, the current president of the European Union, drew much media attention during his brief visit to New York, attracting not only political reporters but also entertainment media enamored by his wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the founder and president of the foundation that promotes religious freedom and human rights around the world, also presented his annual Public Service Award to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Appeal of Conscience Award to the chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt.