Have You No Shame? (Part 1 of 3)
We at Citizen for Term Limits are grateful and honored that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has granted us permission to publish the full transcript of his excellent speech at the UN General Assembly, September 24, 2009.
(part 1 of 3)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the rights of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.
I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the reoccurrence of such horrendous events.
Nothing has undermined that mission, nothing has impeded it more, than the systematic assault on the truth. Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.
Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided to exterminate my People. They left detailed minutes of that meeting and these minutes have been preserved for posterity by successive German governments. Here is a copy of the minutes of the meeting of senior Nazi officials instructing the Nazi government exactly how to how to carry out the extermination of the Jewish people. Is this protocol a lie? Is the German government, are all German governments, lying?
A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. These plans of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps I now hold in my hand. They contain the signature of Heinrich Himmler Hitler’s deputy himself. Are these plans of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where one million Jews were murdered, are they a lie too?
This June, President Obama visited another concentration camp – one of many – the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie?
And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie too?
One-third of all Jews perished in the great conflagration of the Holocaust. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife’s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and his three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins murdered by the Nazis. Is this a lie?
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come and to those who left in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.
But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?
A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies the murder of six million Jews while promising to wipe out the State of Israel, the state of the Jews. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!
Now, perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime, perhaps they threaten only the Jews. Well, if you think that, you’re wrong – dead wrong. History has shown us time and time again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many, many others.
For this Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept across the globe with a murderous violence that knows no bounds and with a cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others.
Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone else deemed not to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.
The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.
Now the primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day. Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future.
And our future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. Because the pace of progress is growing, and it is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.
What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come. We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuel and yes, we will clean up the planet.
I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of many of these advances – in science and technology, in medicine and biology, in agriculture and water, in energy and the environment. These innovations in my country and many of your countries offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.
But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.
This is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fundamentalism and the weapons of mass destruction. The most urgent challenge facing this body today is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Are the members of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?
Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and then gunned down Iranian protesters who died on the sidewalks and on the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world’s most pernicious sponsor and practitioner of terrorism?
Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?
The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do thousands of people who have been protesting and demonstrating outside this hall all this week. Will the United Nations stand by their side?