Brave Ahmadinejad must be lauded for his courage

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stinging attack on Israeli racism at a UN conference in Switzerland caused a walkout by many delegates from western countries.

In a supreme irony, delegates of European states staged a co-ordinated walkout. Ahmadinejad blamed Europe and America for establishing an "oppressive, cruel and racist regime", and that the UN Security Council has "supported it in the past 60 years, giving them a free hand to continue their crimes".

Is it not ironic that while Iran is regularly pilloried by the West for imposing limitations on freedom of speech, the so-called bastions of freedom dared to embargo Ahmadinejad?

Speaking truth to power in Switzerland in pursuance of confronting the enormity of an injustice perpetrated against the Palestinians is a task very few countries will ever contemplate. Yet, Iran remains passionately committed to the ideological foundations of its Islamic Revolution as articulated by Imam Khomeini to support Palestine's freedom struggle.

Diplomats from Britain, France, Italy, Germany and other Western European states, who staged the walkout, made no bones about their reasons. They remain adamant in their unconditional support of Israel.

As former colonial powers, it is disgraceful that their protection of the last remaining colonial outpost - Israel - not only shields it from defying international conventions but also encourages it to practise abominable policies such as apartheid and war crimes against occupied Palestine.

As partners in the American-led alliance of invasion, occupation and war in Iraq, as well as the illegitimate "war on terror", these countries have yet to confront their legacy of destruction.

Walking out as a gesture of solidarity with Israel signals to the Palestinians that these countries cannot be expected to seriously undertake any substantial challenge against Zionism, which as a form of racism has been responsible for their present statelessness. He must be lauded for his brave and courageous stance.

Iqbal Jassat, Media Review Network, South Africa