Jewish Groups Accuse U.N. Chief of Being One-Sided

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -

Leaders of a number of Jewish organizations on Wednesday accused U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of being one-sided in his handling of the crisis in Gaza.

A delegation of 11 Jewish groups met with the U.N. chief to express their concerns, presenting a letter that listed what they said were 19 violations of international law by Hamas that have gone ignored, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Chief among their demands was a need for the U.N. to investigate rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel’s civilian population, and Hamas’ use of U.N. schools to store rockets.

“We are deeply frustrated with the one-sided narrative that is being presented by the United Nations,” Hier said by phone, following the near-90 minute meeting with Ban.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “The secretary-general reiterated that he fully understands Israel’s legitimate security concerns but also stressed the need to show restraint in their actions in Gaza so as to avoid civilian casualties.”

“He also reminded them that he has, on many occasions, condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel as well as the tunnels,” Dujarric said in a statement.

Ban has taken a tough stance on Israel, especially on the deadly attacks on U.N. schools that have been sheltering civilians. But he has also repeatedly demanded that Gaza stop firing rockets at Israel and blamed Hamas for violating an earlier ceasefire.

The Anti-Defamation League, which attended the meeting with Ban, also released a report Wednesday that documents what it called a “dramatic” surge in violence and vitriol against Jews around the world as the crisis in Gaza unfolds.

In Morocco, for example, a rabbi was attacked by someone angry over Israeli air strikes, the report said. In the Netherlands, a Holocaust memorial was defaced with “free Gaza” graffiti.

Hier said the delegation was particularly concerned about a statement Ban made on Tuesday, when he said that the “fighting has raised serious questions about Israel’s respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality.”

“When that is expressed by the person who heads up the United Nations, I think, frankly, it emboldens Hamas and other groups like it, to continue to take a strategy that uses human shields,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.