Former envoy to UN suggests Secretary-General Guterres is a ‘spokesman for Hamas’

Former Israeli ambassador MK Danny Danon says if UN chief doesn’t take a more balanced stance, Washington should view him as persona non grata

Then-Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon during a visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (unseen) at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Then-Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon during a visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (unseen) at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations suggested on Wednesday that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was working to further Hamas’s agenda on the international stage.

In an interview with Israel’s 103 FM Radio, MK Danny Danon was asked for his thoughts on the UN response to Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza, and on how much time Israel has to meet its goals in the war before diplomatic pressure for a ceasefire grows too great.

“There is pressure from the UN, and not just from the member states,” Danon said. “We saw the UN secretary-general take a very hostile position toward Israel. Sometimes I don’t know if he’s a spokesman for the UN or a spokesman for Hamas.

“He issues messages against Israel every day, he doesn’t mention the abductees at all, he thinks we set out on this operation because we wanted to — it’s outrageous,” Danon continued.

Asked by the host if he thought calling Guterres a Hamas spokesperson would “advance Israel’s goals in the world,” Danon doubled down, suggesting that he should be considered persona non grata in Washington and elsewhere.

“He crossed the line, and I know him personally,” he said. “I hosted him at my house for Shabbat meals, he toured the Gaza Strip with me, we went inside Hamas’s tunnels. He knows what all this is about, and so the biased stance he adopted is very grave.

“That’s why I’m calling on people in the US to tell him that either he creates some balance, or he simply needs to be persona non grata — someone who is not accepted, not in Israel and not in Washington, because he really is acting with bias against Israel.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister (not pictured) following their meeting in Cairo on October 19, 2023. (Khaled Desouki/AFP)

Guterres has faced heavy criticism from Israeli diplomats and lawmakers in recent weeks due to his comments on the ongoing war in Gaza, in which Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas, the terror group that has ruled the Strip since 2007.

The war was launched after the terror group’s brutal onslaught on October 7, when terrorists killed at least 1,200 people and took some 240 hostages.

On October 24, the UN secretary-general said that Hamas’s attacks on October 7 “didn’t happen in a vacuum,” prompting outrage from Israeli officials who said he was excusing and justifying terrorism. Israel’s current Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan demanded that he resign.

A day later, Guterres argued that his statement had been intentionally taken out of context.

“I am shocked by misrepresentations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council — as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas,” Guterres told reporters at the time.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen once again called for him to resign while on a visit to UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Guterres does not deserve to lead the United Nations. Guterres did not promote any peace process in the region… Guterres, like all the free nations, should say clearly and loudly: ‘Free Gaza from Hamas,’” Cohen said.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

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