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U.N. Secretary-General’s Speech on Hamas Disappears from Website After Rabbis, Israeli Ambassador Demand His Resignation

An organization representing more than 2,500 Orthodox Jewish rabbis joined the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in demanding the resignation of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday following his remarks claiming that Hamas terrorism did not arise “out of a vacuum.”
Gilad Erdan is Israel's permanent representative to the United Nations. Getty
Gilad Erdan is Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Getty

By: Tyler O’Neil, The Daily Signal

The Coalition for Jewish Values joined Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in calling for the U.N. secretary-general to resign Tuesday.

Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel, but he also sought to contextualize them in a speech Tuesday. (The speech’s text, originally published on the U.N. website, has disappeared from that site.)

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said. “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.”

“The U.N. Secretary-General, who shows no understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the U.N.,” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the global body, said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “I call on him to resign immediately.”

“There is no justification or point in talking to those who show compassion for the most terrible atrocities committed against the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people,” Erdan added. “There are simply no words.”

The ambassador called Guterres’ speech “shocking,” claiming that the secretary-general “is completely disconnected from the reality in our region” and views “the massacre committed by Nazi Hamas terrorists in a distorted and immoral manner.”

“His statement that, ‘the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,’ expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder,” Erdan said. “It’s really unfathomable. It’s truly sad that the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust holds such horrible views. A tragedy!”

The Coalition for Jewish Values, an organization that represents 2,500 Orthodox Jewish rabbis in public policy, also called for Guterres’ resignation.

“It is clear that the U.N. is failing on a daily basis with its ongoing and antisemitic condemnations of Israel,” the coalition posted on X. “The secretary-general has demonstrated that he is morally and intellectually incompetent to correct this body & lead it in a moral direction.”

“The secretary-general found a way to demonize Israel for telling civilians to leave Hamas-controlled areas for their own safety,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the coalition’s managing director, told The Daily Signal in a statement Tuesday. “This can only be understood as wanting Hamas to be protected by human shields, unassailable, as it continuously tries to murder Jews.”

“Anyone interested in the well-being of peace-loving Palestinian Arabs would seek the elimination of Hamas, under whose totalitarian rule Gazans cannot choose their religion, their partner, or even their own opinion,” Menken added. “Those seeking a ‘cease-fire’ favor barbarism over Arab lives.”

Guterres condemned “the horrifying and unprecedented 7 October acts of terror by Hamas in Israel,” adding that “nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians—or the launching of rockets against civilian targets.”

“All hostages must be treated humanely and released immediately and without conditions,” he added.

While the secretary-general sought to contextualize the Hamas attacks by saying they “did not happen in a vacuum,” he later insisted that “the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.”

Yet, even after that, he added, “and those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

“To ease epic suffering, make the delivery of aid easier and safer, and facilitate the release of hostages, I reiterate my appeal for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire,” Guterres said.

Israel has urged all Palestinian civilians to leave Gaza, yet Hamas demands they stay. Hamas uses mosques and hospitals as bases for its military operations, putting civilians in harm’s way to use them as human shields.

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