UN chief heckled at NY synagogue during Holocaust speech
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UN chief heckled at NY synagogue during Holocaust speech

Congregants at commemoration event said to accuse Ban Ki-moon of justifying terrorism

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the Security Council during a meeting on the situation in the 'Middle East and Palestine,' January 26, 2016, at the UN in New York. (AFP/United Nations/UN Photo/Loey Felipe)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the Security Council during a meeting on the situation in the 'Middle East and Palestine,' January 26, 2016, at the UN in New York. (AFP/United Nations/UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

UN Director General Ban Ki-moon was met with jeers and heckling Saturday at the Park East Synagogue in New York, where he delivered an address in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Congregants at the Manhattan synagogue accused the UN chief of justifying terror, with some saying his comments attributing a wave of near-daily Palestinian attacks to “frustration” was like rationalizing the 9/11 attacks, the Walla news site reported.

Two weeks ago, Ban’s comments — that “it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism” — drew a furious response from Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused him of “stoking terror.” The UN has “lost its neutrality and its moral force, and these statements by the secretary-general do nothing to improve its situation,” he said in an angry video statement.

Ban subsequently reiterated his harsh criticism of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, but stressed that his words under no circumstances amounted to a justification for terror attacks.

Ban did not mention Israel in his speech on Saturday.

“The Holocaust was a colossal crime. Six million Jews were systematically rounded up and murdered. Millions of others were killed alongside them — prisoners of war, political dissidents, members of minority groups, such as Roma and Sinti, homosexuals and persons with disabilities,” he said.

“Today, I am deeply disturbed by the massacres in South Sudan, by the continued carnage in Syria, and by the atrocities being inflicted by Daesh and Boko Haram,” Ban continued. “In today’s climate of growing global fear and alienation, we must not lose sight of the fundamental truth that all humans are born with inalienable rights, dignity and worth.”

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