Geneva, Switzerland – In protest, about twenty delegates walked out on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who said in his speech that Israel is a“cruel and repressive racist regime.” He was speaking at the UN’s Durban Review Conference here in Geneva and accused the U.S. and other western countries of “making an entire nation homeless on the pretext of Jewish suffering.” Several protestors were on the floor of the Assembly Hall, while others shouted at Ahmadinejad from the balcony.

The diminutive Iranian was sure to cause a spectacle at the UN today, as he is the world’s most controversial leader, and the only head of state to address the conference this week. Following his speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Iranian leader saying, “I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian President to accuse, divide and even incite.”

These are the kinds of foolish games that are played at the United Nations. If Ban Ki-moon were serious about protecting the “integrity” of his conference, he would have denounced and disinvited Ahmadinejad two weeks ago. Anyone who was surprised, or even mildly taken aback, by Ahmadinejad’s words today is a fool. He has a long history of hatred and has effectively used the United Nations as a megaphone over the past several years to spread hatred.

One person who understands the leverage Ahmadinejad gains from the UN forum is actor Jon Voight. Speaking at a press conference after the Iranian leader spoke, Voight called on “all God-loving people to unite and stop this evil pollution” and to prevent Ahmadinejad from gaining “any platform to spread his lies, and his insanity, and his evil intentions to our new generation.”

After speaking in the Assembly Hall, Ahmadinejad made his way to a press room packed with more than 100 journalists. During his press briefing, Ahmadinejad claimed it was the United States that “unilaterally severed relations” with Iran 29 years ago – failing to mention that at that time Iranian terrorists took the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans as hostages for 444 days. Some of the hostages believe Ahmadinejad was one of the militant students responsible for their captivity. Now he says he “welcomes the basic changes” in the U.S.-Iranian relationship since Barack Obama took the Oval Office.

His press conference was a rambling tirade of conspiracy. During the briefing, Ahmadinejad called for the veto held by the five permanent members of the Security Council to be abolished and for all countries to have a vote in Security Council matters; he denounced the injustice and “undemocratic” process by which questions to him were pre-selected during his speech at Columbia University in New York two years ago; and he said “foreign occupiers” were to blame when asked about Muslims killing Muslims.

Sitting through an Ahmadinejad press conference is like visiting the carnival and riding the roller coaster through the Hall of Mirrors and the Haunted House at the same time. When he was finished, approximately one-third of the press corps applauded his performance.

Afterward, Ahmadinejad’s UN appearance was denounced by Voight, who was joined by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Professor Alan Dershowitz, and author Shelby Steele. Dershowitz called the Durban Review Conference a “conference of hate, starring a speaker of hate.” Voight said he was there to be a voice “for the love of freedom, for the love of democracy, for the love of life.”

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