"There must be a limit, even to the neutrality of Switzerland," said President Shimon Peres ahead of the opening of the Durban II UN racism conference in Geneva on Monday - the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day - and the keynote address of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Holocaust-denying president of Iran.
"As you know, tonight begins the day of commemoration of the Holocaust all over the world and in Israel," Peres said in a statement. "I feel deeply hurt and ashamed that on such a day, there is the opening of a racist conference in Geneva, and the main speaker is who? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; a man that calls to wipe Israel off of the map; a man who denies the Holocaust.
"There must be a limit, even to the neutrality of Switzerland. Today is the day? This is the man to speak? This is the outlook for the future? I don't want to speak too much about Iran. But in Iran, people are hanged because they are suspected of God knows what - nothing. There is a center of hate, of blood, of terror.
"I am very grateful to the United States of America and the other six countries that decided not to attend this shame of Durban, and to keep a human face and human hope for people who would like to see a world without racism, without terror, without hanging, and without incitement. So we don't have a conference, but we have a Lord in Heaven, and we shall pray to him today."