Taking On Ahmadinejad


Political and Jewish leaders stood in the shadow of the United Nations Monday to denounce the presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a UN conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“Iran’s presence at this conference is a sham,” bristled Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

She then called for Senate hearings to investigate all companies that do business with Iran, thus helping it as it develops nuclear weapons to “enable terrorism.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) told reporters that Ahmadinejad had returned to the UN to again “spout duplicitous and anti-Semitic propaganda before a world stage.”

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens-Brooklyn) said bluntly: “One of the costs of having a UN here is that snakes slither in. He has zero credibility. I don’t think anyone should take his message seriously.”

Janice Shorenstein, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council, pointed out that despite three UN resolutions that imposed sanctions on Iran, the country is “on the verge of attaining the ability to not only produce a nuclear weapon but to develop a delivery system which threatens every country from the Middle East to Europe.”

As they spoke, nine demonstrators from the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale stood facing the UN holding aloft handmade signs. One read: “Ahmadinejad: Another Hitler in the Wings.” Another said: “UN Stop Iranian Nukes Now.”

The congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Avi Weiss, said they would be there to protest whenever Ahmadinejad spoke to the UN.

Inside, Ahmadinejad denied that his country is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, saying there is “not a single credible proof.” He then condemned the United States and other countries that have nuclear weapons, saying their presence simply encourages other nations to acquire them.

“Its possession is disgusting and shameful,” he added, noting that the “Zionist regime [Israel] too consistently threatens Middle Eastern countries with its nuclear arsenal.”

Representatives of the U.S., Britain, France and other Western countries staged a walk-out as Ahmadinejad spoke, leaving the UN General Assembly hall only about one-third filled. Israel refrained from attending altogether.

Signup for our weekly email newsletter here.

Check out the Jewish Week’s Facebook page and become a fan! And follow the Jewish Week on Twitter: start here.