From: Savi Alazar (SaviAlazar@gmail.com)
Date: Mon Apr 20 2009 - 12:14:42 EDT
Britain and EU diplomats walk out as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls Israel 'racist'
Britain and other European Union countries have walked out of a United Nations conference after Iran's president attacked Israel as the "most cruel and racist regime".
By Bruno Waterfield
Last Updated: 4:53PM BST 20 Apr 2009
A protester with a wig is led away by UN security as he tried to interrupt the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the UN Racism conference Photo: REUTERS
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiled as European diplomats left in protest over his opening address to a controversial UN summit to fight racism.
President Ahmadinejad, speaking as Israelis prepares to commemorate the Holocaust on Tuesday, described Jews and Israel's creation as the "ugly face" of a Western conspiracy.
"They sent migrants from Europe, the United States in order to establish a racist government in the occupied Palestine," he said.
"The word Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religion and abuses religious sentiments to hide their hatred and ugly faces."
EU diplomats launched a walk out when Mr Ahmadinejad claimed that the "pretext of Jewish suffering", a reference to the Holocaust, had been used to create Israel.
The United States, Israel, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand boycotted the conference because of fears that Mr Ahmadinejad would use the event to equate Zionism with racism.
British and other EU officials had attended the conference but walked out after Iran's leader launched into an attack on Western support Israel's "totally racist" policy in Gaza.
Mr Ahmadinejad described protesters and heckler as "ignorant people" before drawing applause from some delegations with a rambling denunciation of Western "arrogance".
As he started speaking three protesters wearing clown wigs were ejected from the UN chamber, before being escorted out one demonstrator shouted "Racist! racist!" and threw a soft red object at Mr Ahmadinejad, hitting the podium and interrupting his speech.
Earlier on Monday, Israel recalled its ambassador to Switzerland for "consultations" to protest at government meetings with Iran's president.
President Ahmadinejad's address, he has previously described the Holocaust as a myth and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map", coincided with the 120th anniversary of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's birth.
On Tuesday, Israel will mark its Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah.
The UN meeting, hosted in Geneva, is being held with the aim of reviewing global efforts to fight racism since the first World Conference Against Racism held in South Africa in 2001.
American and Israeli diplomats walked out the original "Durban I" talks because of attempts by some Arab countries to link Zionism and Israel to racism, a dispute that has continued to dog UN diplomatic attempts to agree a global anti-racism communiqué.