Israel denounced a U.N. agency report on Wednesday that accused it of imposing an “apartheid regime” of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon likened the report, which was published by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), to Der Sturmer, the notoriously anti-Semitic propaganda sheet of Nazi Germany.
“The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said on Wednesday.
U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the “first of its type” from a U.N. body that “clearly and frankly” condemns Israel for maintaining “an apartheid system.”
ESCWA comprises 18 Arab states in Western Asia and aims to support economic and social development in member states, according to its website. The report was prepared at the request of member states, Khalaf said.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York that the report was published without any prior consultation with the U.N. secretariat.
“The report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general (Antonio Guterres),” said Dujarric, adding that the report itself notes that it reflects the views of the authors.
The United States said it was outraged by the report.
“The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether,” the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said in a statement.
Nahshon also noted that the report had not been endorsed by the U.N. secretary-general.
The ESCWA report was authored by Richard Falk, a former U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.
Falk has been accused by both Israel and the U.S. of blatant bias against Israel.