WASHINGTON (JTA) — The president of the U.N. General Assembly said the United States has "demonized" the Iranian president and compared Israel’s policies to apartheid.
"I don’t think anyone can doubt that in our part of the world" that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "has been demonized," Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann said in a news conference Tuesday, according to media reports. "The United States has been in the business of the demonization of people forever and the canonization of the worst of dictators."
Asked about Ahmadinejad’s comments that he would like to see Israel wiped off the map, d’Escoto reponded that "if he said that, it’s lamentable," but added that "words as such don’t kill" and that actions were most important.
"I don’t hate Israel, much less do I hate the Jewish people," d’Escoto said, according to the Associated Press. "In fact, they’re very high on my list of people that I love," adding that wouldn’t stop him from criticizing Israeli actions. He said Israeli policies toward the Palestinians make him "think about apartheid."
D’Escoto, a Nicaraguan priest, in the past has accused Israel of "crucifying our Palestinian brothers and sisters" and called for a boycott of Israel as a reaction to the Jewish state’s incursion into Gaza.
D’Escoto also criticized the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, calling it "unfortunate" and saying that "it helps to deepen the perception that international justice is racist because this is the third time that you have something from the ICC, and for the third time it has to do with Africa."