NEW YORK (JTA) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres vowed to take action to end anti-Semitism, and called denial of Israel’s right to exist a modern form of anti-Jewish hatred.
In a speech Sunday night at the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary Assembly in New York, Guterres said he could not control all expressions of bias against Israel at the United Nations. But he said Israel has the right to be treated like any other U.N. member state.
“A modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist,” Guterres said. “As secretary-general of the United Nations I can say that the state of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules.”
Israeli and United States officials, along with supporters of Israel, have long accused the U.N. of irredeemable bias against Israel. According to U.N. Watch, a pro-Israel group that monitors the international body, the U.N. General Assembly condemned Israel 20 times in 2016, compared to six condemnations for the rest of the world combined.
But Guterres emphasized that treating Israel fairly does not mean agreeing with all of its government’s decisions. He also advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state.