The Anti-Defamation League has condemned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for delivering a speech at the opening meeting of a session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People last week.
He "sent the wrong message to the committee by commending and supporting a committee which was created and continues to operate on the basis of anti-Israel rhetoric," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.
By Ban agreeing to address the committee, the UN further legitimized a committee whose core purpose was to oppose the State of Israel, the ADL said.
"This goes against the very principles on which the UN was founded and undermines the role of the UN as a member of the Quartet," Foxman said.
During the committee's opening meeting, the speeches focused on two accusations against Israel. The first targeted Israel's supposed denial of aid into Gaza during Operation Cast Lead last December and January. Paul Badji, chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights, told the session Operation Cast Lead verified Israel's total disregard of international humanitarian law.
The second accusation addressed the legitimacy of both the existence and growth of the settlements.
"Continued settlement activity would not only be acting contrary to international law but also against a strong international consensus. By contrast, if Israel froze settlement activity, it would facilitate a new environment of cooperation and common purpose from the countries in the region," the secretary general said.
The ADL has said that since its establishment in 1975, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights has been "the single most prolific source of material bearing the official imprimatur of the UN which maligns and debases the Jewish state."
In a statement, Foxman characterized the committee as one "that has failed to accomplish anything positive in its 35 years of existence, is of serious concern, demeaning to the UN and should be questioned by the member states. It represents the world example of institutionalized anti-Israel bias in the United Nations."
Last week the ADL sent a letter to the secretary-general urging him to immediately dismantle the committee. A "committee established to ensure the rights of Palestinians, is exacerbating their situation by creating unnecessary obstacles on the road to peace and the creation of a Palestinian state," the ADL said.