UN guard punished for swastika drawing

Israeli guard saw Nazi symbols on log sheet, guard sent to sensitivity training.

The United Nations has reprimanded a security guard for drawing swastikas on a log sheet later seen by a guard from Israel, a UN spokesman said. The guard who drew the swastikas was issued a letter of reprimand and was asked to attend sensitivity training for the September incident, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday. Dujarric would not identify the guard who was reprimanded. A UN official speaking on condition of anonymity said the guard had also made Nazi-like salutes to his Israeli colleague. The official, who was not authorized to disclose the information publicly, said the guard was from Jamaica. The Israeli guard also was not identified. "The UN wants to see a work environment in which people of every race and religion can feel welcome, and these types of behaviors will be thoroughly investigated and dealt with," Dujarric said. He said senior managers in the UN Department of Safety and Security, which oversees the guards, had also been asked to attend sensitivity training. The Israeli Mission to the United Nations has been in touch with the United Nations about the swastika incident, said Deputy Ambassador Daniel Carmon. "Those signs of hatred and terror are things of the past and they cannot happen in 2006," Carmon said. The United Nations in recent years has tried to live down an infamous 1975 resolution that equated Zionism with racism, which was repealed in the 1990s. Some critics still accuse the world body of being anti-Semitic because a bloc of Middle Eastern, African and Asian states have in the past used the General Assembly to broadcast their opposition to Israel. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been especially sensitive to that image and the General Assembly sees fewer such attacks. Last year, the UN hosted a seminar to address anti-Semitism, the first time such an event has been held here. And the General Assembly held a special session to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Carmon said that the act of one security guard could not be compared to the larger issue of anti-Semitism at the UN. "You have to divide between the political activity in the UN, in which there is still lots to do but in which there have been lots of improvement, and something that is worrying (but) as grave as it is, it's on a completely different level," Carmon said.