EXCLUSIVE — Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan had pointed remarks for the world body after being detained by its security personnel, telling Fox News Digital that antisemitism is “very prevalent” within the halls of the U.N.
“The U.N. is a building, and it’s fair to say that in this building, antisemitism sadly is very prevalent,” Erdan said during an interview with Fox News Digital. “There are many antisemitic countries like Iran who want to annihilate the one and only Jewish state, and we don’t hear any condemnation against Iran for saying it.”
Erdan’s comments come after U.N. security personnel detained the Israeli ambassador after he left the General Assembly Hall to protest a speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
During his protest of the speech, Erdan held up a picture of Mahsa Amini, the Iranian woman who sparked protests across the country last year after she was killed while in the custody of police for not wearing the proper head covering in public, with a caption of Erdan’s photo reading, “Iranian women deserve freedom now!”
Erdan expressed disgust with the U.N.’s “red carpet treatment” of the Iranian president to Fox News Digital, noting that Raisi is “responsible for the murder of thousands of his own people.”
“I felt that I had to do something,” Erdan said. “So I protested peacefully, and I held up the picture of Mahsa Amini and suddenly… I was roughly manhandled by the U.N. security.”
Erdan said that his detention “was a small price” to pay for the protest, arguing that he wanted to convey an important message that “the people of Israel stand in solidarity with the people of Iran” against “this ruthless regime.”
The Israeli diplomat’s treatment at the global body may not have come a surprise, with Erdan pointing out that there are numerous examples of antisemitism within the halls of the U.N.
“We just heard the Palestinian president, President Abbas, distorting, denying the Holocaust, almost justifying what Hitler did,” Erdan told Fox News Digital. “Nobody said a word.”
Abbas, the 87-year-old president of Palestinian Authority, said in August that Jews were targeted by Nazi Germany because of their “social role” in Europe and not their religion, according to a report by Reuters.
The remarks were condemned by both the U.S. and the European Union, but not until two weeks later, while a spokesperson for Abbas claimed to Reuters that the remarks were not a denial of the Holocaust.
The Israeli ambassador also discussed ongoing efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, noting that the Trump-era Abraham Accords were a big step forward and could “transform our region.”
“If peace is achieved between Israel and Saudi Arabia, it’s going to have a domino effect that would bring many Muslim countries to follow suit and definitely end the Israeli-Arab conflict,” Erdan said.
While Erdan expressed gratitude toward the work of former President Donald Trump, he stressed that the Biden administration has continued the “momentum,” even if at times Israel and the new administration have some “fundamental disagreements.”
“Regardless of any administration in Washington, the bond between Israel and the United States of America is unbreakable,” Erdan said. “
When it comes to antisemitism at the U.N., Erdan also argued that there are many employees within its halls who have either made antisemitic statements or been involved in antisemitic “probes,” something he said should be rooted out by the global body.
“I expect the U.N.’s leadership, the Secretary General and the senior staff to act, not only say nice empty words against antisemitism,” Erdan said. “They do not even try to address antisemitism that is prevalent in the U.N., so sadly, yes, the U.N. is contaminated with antisemitism, but I am trying to do my best to fight against it.”
Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, the U.N. Secretary General’s office denied it had rolled out a “red carpet” for Iran.
“There is no red carpet at the U.N.,” a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres told Fox News Digital. “Everyone gets the same drab green carpets.”
The spokesperson also said that the Secretary General cannot be “held responsible for the words of a member state,” but argued that Guterres has a strong record of combating antisemitism in both “words and actions.”
“The Secretary-General, in words and actions, has always treated Israel as a member state with same rights and responsibilities as any other,” the spokesperson said. “His voice has been one of the strongest on the global stage condemning antisemitism and the — sadly — growing trend of historical revisionism.”