United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is “unsuitable” for holding office over his anti-Israeli stance, the deputy leader of Germany’s ruling Freie Demokratische Partei has said.
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who also serves as chair of the Bundestag’s defence committee, decried the U.N. chief’s regular and extensive criticism of Israel as being unacceptable, especially in the face of his relative inaction on the war in Ukraine.
“Instead of doing his job, UN Secretary-General Guterres… suppresses the horrors of the wars in Ukraine and Syria and equates the attacks on these two countries, which violate international law, with Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence,” she told the German Press Agency (dpa).
“Guterres is unsuitable for his office.”
The senior German politician was speaking in the wake of the latest controversial comments from Guterres on the war, with the U.N. attacking Israel over civilian casualties in Gaza.
“We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I have been Secretary-General,” he said.
The comments provoked outrage online, with the U.N. official being accused of ignoring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, the violence in Israel and Gaza is not unparalleled,” U.S. congressman Brad Sherman wrote in response to Guterres’ claim.
He added that the secretary-general “must have a short memory”, noting that estimates of the number of civilian casualties in the Tigray-Ethiopia civil war have been estimated as being around half a million.
France is experiencing a surge in anti-Semitism following the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel. https://t.co/I2cO6F0R1q
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 2, 2023
This is not the first time Guterres has gotten himself in trouble for his critical stance on Israel.
One previous comment from the U.N. head that appeared to try and excuse Hamas violence prompted serious backlash from world leaders, a number of whom opted to publicly distance themselves from the senior official.
“I understand they’ve been clarified subsequently, but there can be absolutely no blaming of anyone for this terrorist attack other than those terrorists in Gaza,” the UK’s deputy PM, Oliver Dowden, said in the wake of the controversy.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s representative to the international body, meanwhile called for Guterres to resign over his statements on the conflict.
“The U.N. is failing, and you, Mr. Secretary-General, have lost all morality and impartiality,” he said.
“Because when you say those terrible words that these heinous attacks did not happen in a vacuum, you are tolerating terrorism, and I think that the secretary-general must resign.”
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 26, 2023