Jews split on Annan's view of Hizbullah

UN sec.-gen. yet to respond to requests to call Nasrallah's movement terrorist.

kofi annan 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
kofi annan 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A group of Jewish-American leaders met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week and asked him to publicly announce that Hizbullah was a terror group. Annan was also asked to call on the International Red Cross to visit the IDF soldiers who were captured by Hizbullah and are being held in Lebanon. According to UN sources, there was still no response from Annan to the requests. Meanwhile, Jewish groups in the US are split over the question on how to react to the role Annan is currently playing in the Lebanon crisis. The Anti-Defamation League ran an ad in The New York Times Thursday publicly deploring his claim that Israel has a "pattern of violations of international law." In the ad, the ADL asked Annan: "How many more Israeli civilians must die before you condemn Hizbullah? And when will you extend condolences to Israeli victims?" While the ADL is engaged in a campaign against Annan, other Jewish groups believe it is important to continue the dialogue with him and give him a chance to respond to the requests put forth by the American Jewish community. American Jewish Committee president Bob Goodkind, who attended the meeting with Annan last week, said he was disappointed the ADL had leaked the fact that the meeting took place, after all sides had agreed it would be an off-the-record event. Goodkind, who cochairs the committee on UN affairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, said he was still hopeful Annan would address the issues brought up in the meeting by the Jewish representatives. "We have not seen yet results, but the dialogue was important," Goodkind said Wednesday. The meeting was also attended by Joel Kaplan, president of B'nai B'rith, and Harold Tanner, chairman of the Presidents Conference. The main issue in the meeting, according to UN sources, was the request that Annan declare that Hizbullah is a terror organization. As of now, he has come out publicly deploring Hizbullah and has called its attack on Israel "unprovoked," but has stopped short of calling it a terror group. Sources in the Jewish community said it was important to keep open dialogue channels with Annan these days, as a new resolution regarding Israel and Lebanon drew closer. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was scheduled to talk by phone with Annan Thursday and outline Israel's expectations from the upcoming UN resolutions, which will call for a cease-fire.