António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, offered a bleak picture of the world in his opening remarks at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19.
There have been natural disasters. Climate change. Disruptive technologies. Existential threats. “Our world is becoming unhinged,” he said. “Democracy is under threat. Authoritarianism is on the march. Inequalities are growing. And hate speech is on the rise.”
He focused on specific areas of concern. Russia’s war in Ukraine. Civil war in Sudan. Millions displaced in Congo. Syria in ruins.
He did not mention Iran, but he did reference Israel without naming the Jewish state.
“In the Middle East, escalating violence and bloodshed in the occupied Palestinian territory is taking a terrible toll on civilians,” Guterres said. “Unilateral actions are intensifying and undermining the possibility of a two-state solution, the only pathway to lasting peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.”
In his remarks, U.S. President Joe Biden referred in passing to “abuses” in Iran. He also mentioned the benefits to Israel from a new “economic corridor” connecting India and Europe—an aspect that the White House has previously downplayed.
“It demonstrates how Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors is delivering positive impact even as we continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Biden said at the United Nations. “Two states for two people.”
Earlier in the year, the U.N. point man on antisemitism told JNS that the international body is not anti-Jewish. It has been widely criticized as such by Israeli representatives and by leaders of Jewish organizations, and many U.N. leaders have long histories of antisemitic remarks.