Ahmadinejad and Gadhafi Meet Resistance in NY

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was forced to shuffle his accommodation plans prior to his arrival in New York City for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly gathering when — as early as July — group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) sent letters and emails to all New York area hotels and venues requesting business owners refuse to host Ahmadinejad.

Originally, Ahmadinejad had a speech and banquet planned at a Helmsley hotel.  But then came UANI.

"By doing business with the Iranian government the Helmsley is accepting blood money from a regime that brutally suppresses its own people and that is a danger to global security.  Moreover, by providing a forum for President Ahmadinejad’s speech, the Helmsley is serving as a bullhorn for the propaganda of the illegitimate leader of a brutal theocratic dictatorship," wrote UANI to the Helmsley Hotel after they learned Ahmadinejad would be speaking at their venue.

Helmsley Spokesman Howard Rubenstein said, "As soon as Helmsley corporate management learned of the possibility of either the Iranian Mission or President Ahmadinejad holding a function at the New York Helmsley Hotel, they immediately ordered the cancellation of that function.  Neither the Iranian Mission nor President Ahmadinejad is welcome at any Helmsley facility.”

Gotham Hall also cancelled events where Ahmadinejad would have given speeches stating “Once we learned of the nature of this event and the attendance of President Ahmadinejad, we took steps to cancel the event."
UANI learned in September that the Intercontinental Hotel, Barclay was planning on hosting Ahmadinejad’s over night stay. “At this point the Intercontinental has only declined to acknowledge that he’s actually staying there,” said Kimberlyn Lipscomb a spokesperson for UANI. “President Ahmadinejad is planning on arriving today [Tuesday] and the security around the hotel is incredible, I can say they have metal detectors around the hotel and I don’t believe they even have metal detectors around the hotel where the president [Obama] is staying.”

UANI is now applying pressure to Essex House, a hotel in New York that has agreed to host Ahmadinejad and the Iranian delegation for a banquet and speech on Friday. Interestingly the Essex House is owned by Jumeirah Group, a massive international hotel chain based in the United Arab Emirates, which is a large trading partner with Iran.

UANI told HUMAN EVENTS they are committed to using financial pressure to get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program and to prevent them from becoming a nuclear power, and are targeting businesses specifically. Throughout their campaign tens of thousands of their supporters have sent thousands of emails to various hotels and business as well.

Rumors surfaced yesterday after the Huffington Post reported that leader Moammar Gadhafi — after unsuccessful efforts to search for a place to pitch his infamous tent and rejections from several hotels in New York city — would finally pitch his tent in suburb of New York called Bedford, on a lot of land owned by Donald Trump. But a local New York paper later reported that the town issued a stop-work order because Gadhafi didn’t have the required permit to set up his “temporary residence.”

Former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold and author of The Rise of Nuclear Iran told HUMAN EVENTS that “If you accept the premise that [Ahmadinejad] calls for destroying the state of Israel as well as other Iranian leaders like the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini and the Commander of the Revolutionary Guard General Mohammad Ali Jafari then it becomes understandable why no one would want to host [him] in [their] hotel, or campus, those who have been willing to greet Ahmadinejad are simply ignoring the view of increasingly wider circles that this man should be treated like someone who is planning mass murder using nuclear weapons."

Gold believes that Ahmadinejad should have been handed an indictment rather than a visa to enter the US for the UN general Assembly. “Over the last three years there has been a growing consensus that the statements by Ahmadinejad calling for wiping Israel off the map are a direct violation of the 1948 genocide convention. This specifically outlaws direct and public incitement to commit genocide. The idea of indicting Ahmadinejad through this mechanism has been supported by the majority of the House of Representatives in 2007 by a vote of 411-2."

President Ahmadinejad is set to speak today at the UN General Assembly. The prime minister of Canada and president of Germany are rumored to walk out before his speech begins and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will boycott the building entirely when Ahmadinejad is there.