Jewish groups object to D'Escoto taking part in Holocaust commemoration

D'Escoto has drawn fire for embracing Ahmadinejad, and for calling for sanctions against Israel.

miguel descoto brockmann 224 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
miguel descoto brockmann 224 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Jewish groups objected over the weekend to the participation of UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann at the International Day of Commemoration for Holocaust victims, which is held each year on January 27. D'Escoto's "extreme anti-Israel statements violate the very essence of the Holocaust commemoration," according to a statement by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. D'Escoto has drawn the ire of Israel and Jewish groups since embracing Holocaust-doubting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the latter's September speech to the assembly, in which he echoed conspiracy theories of Jewish world domination. In November, d'Escoto called for international sanctions against Israel. The Conference of Presidents called on d'Escoto to "choose not to be present so that the sacred intent of the commemoration is maintained." If he chose to be present, the statement said, he should not "desecrate the event by repeating his past unacceptable comments." The US umbrella body noted that "the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and other organizations join us in this expression of concern and regret regarding the possible participation of the General Assembly president." Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, told The Jewish Week two weeks ago that "we continue to hope that [d'Escoto] will find a way out of coming… rather than coming to us and giving crocodile tears to our martyrs." The weekend call was joined by B'nai B'rith International, which said it was "deeply troubling that d'Escoto… will have a prominent role on such a solemn day," and noted that "d'Escoto, an ordained Catholic priest, actually accused Israel of 'crucifying' Palestinians." As early as mid-December, the American Jewish Congress accused d'Escoto of "violating the letter and the spirit of the assembly's Rules of Procedure [which demand impartiality] by repeatedly attacking Israel," and called on him to step down.