United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit a shul in Manhattan this Shabbos, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, reported The Jerusalem Post. Ban will be accompanied by Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N.
The visit, to Park East Synagogue on the Upper East Side, comes as Ban faces sharp criticism from the Jewish community over comments regarding Israel and the recent Palestinian terror attacks.
In a speech last week at the U.N. Security Council, Ban said, “as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.” That speech resulted in a strong condemnation from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said that Ban’s comments encouraged terrorism. Ban then wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, entitled, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel,” in which he affirmed his earlier comments. In the op-ed, he called Israeli settlements “an affront to the Palestinian people,” said “it is human nature to resist occupation” and called for a freeze on Jewish construction activity in Yehudah and Shomron.
Danon also criticized Ban’s statements. In comments to The Jerusalem Post, Danon said, of Ban: “He can criticize; but we are not willing to be a second-class member state. He needs to condemn the terrorism, period. With an exclamation point. No parenthesis to discuss the causes of terror.”
Danon also criticized other comments by Ban – which appeared in the Secretary general’s recent report on the status of Palestinian women from October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015 – that appeared to condone terrorism. The report said that during that time period, Palestinians killed eight Israelis – “mostly settlers.” Also, in referring to the infamous Har Nof shul massacre that occurred in November 2014, Ban said that “five Israeli men and two Palestinian men were also killed in one incident in West Jerusalem,” without distinguishing the attackers from the victims.
Danon said the report is “complete distortion of reality.” He said that describing the eight murdered Israelis as “mostly settlers” minimizes the terror attacks, and that the passage describing the Har Nof attacked should be replaced with, “Two terrorists entered a synagogue and murdered five innocent Israelis in cold blood.”