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Mr. President, 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 --
after 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 meetings
-- or 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 carry out the extermination of the Jewish
people. Is this protocol a lie? Is the German government -- 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 -- these plans of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration plans, I
now hold in my hand. They contain a signature by Heinrich Himmler,
Hitler's deputy, himself. Are these plans of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
concentration camp, where one million Jews were murdered -- are they a
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, and uncles, and cousins, all 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
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
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 -- 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 30 years, this fanaticism has swept across the
globe with a murderous violence that knows no bounds, and with a
cold-blooded impartiality in the choice of its 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 not deemed 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 -- 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
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, they
will prevail only after an 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 in the
sidewalks -- on the street 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 of this
week. Will the United Nations stand by their side?
Well, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs -- recent
signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and
their Iranian patrons, some here in the United Nations have condemned
their victims. This is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did,
falsely equating terrorists with those they targeted.
For eight long years, Hamas fired rockets -- fired those rockets from
Gaza on nearby Israeli cities and citizens. Thousands of missiles,
mortars, hurling down from the sky on schools, on homes, shopping
centers, bus stops. Years after -- year after year, as these missiles
were deliberately fired on our civilians, not a single -- not one UN
resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks. We heard
nothing -- absolutely nothing -- from the UN Human Rights Council, a
misnamed institution if there ever was one.
In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from
every inch of Gaza. It was very painful. We dismantled 21 settlements --
really bedroom communities and farms. We uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.
We just yanked them out from their homes. We did this because many in
Israel believed that this would get peace. Well, we didn't get peace.
Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv.
But life in the Israeli towns and cities immediately next to Gaza became
nothing less than nightmare. You see, the -- the Hamas rocket launchers
and the rocket attacks not only continued after we left, they actually
increased dramatically -- they increased tenfold. And again, the UN was
silent. Absolutely silent.
Well finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was
forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only
one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a
country's civilian population. This happened when the Nazis rocketed
British cities during World War II. During that war, the allies leveled
German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. I'm not
passing judgment -- I'm stating a fact. A fact that is the product of
the decision of great and honorable men, the leaders of Britain and the
United States, fighting an evil force in WWII.
It is also a fact that Israel chose to
respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime
of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians, Israel sought to
conduct surgical strikes directed against the rocket launchers
Now mind you, that was no easy task because the terrorists were firing
missiles from homes and from schools. They were using mosques as weapons
depots -- as missile caches, and they were ferreting explosives in
ambulances. Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging
Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas.
We dropped countless flyers -- they cannot be counted, there were so
many, obviously -- countless flyers over their homes. We sent thousands
and thousands of text messages to the Palestinian residents. We made
thousands and thousands of cellular phone calls, urging them to vacate
-- to leave. Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to
remove the enemy's civilian population from harm's way.
Yet faced with an absolutely clear cut case of aggressor and victim, who
do you think the United Nations' Human Rights Council decided to
condemn? Israel. A democracy legitimately defending itself against
terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial
By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have
dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a
perversion of truth. What a perversion of justice.
Now, delegates of the United Nations and the governments whom you
represent, you have a decision to make.
Will you accept this farce?
Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days,
when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the
law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism, and when
an automatic majority could be mustered to declare that the earth is
If you had to choose a date when the
United Nations began its descent, almost a free fall, and lost the
respect of many thoughtful people in the international community, it was
that decision in 1975 to equate Zionism with racism.
Now this body has a choice to make. If it
does not reject this biased report, it would vitiate itself. It would
begin or re-begin the process of vitiating itself from its own relevance
and importance. But it would do something else, it would send a message
to the terrorists everywhere, saying: Terrorism pays; all you have to do
is launch your attacks from densely populated areas and you will win
immunity. And then a third thing, in condemning Israel, this body would
also deal a mortal blow to peace. Let me explain why.
When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop.
Others believed that even if they don't stop, at the very least, Israel
would have made this gesture -- extraordinary gesture for peace. But it
would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of
self-defense if peace failed. What legitimacy? What self-defense?
The same UN that cheered Israel as we left Gaza, the same UN that
promised to back our right of self-defense, now accuses us -- my people,
my country -- of being war criminals? And for what? For acting
responsibly in self-defense. For acting in a way that any country would
act. With a restraint unmatched by many. What a travesty!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel justly defended itself against terror. This
biased and unjust report provides a clear-cut test for all governments.
Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
We must know the answer to that question now -- now -- not later.
Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must
know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the
confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for
And make no mistake about it, all of Israel wants peace.
Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace.
We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan
led by King Hussein. And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my
government, and my people, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace,
a defensible peace, a permanent peace. In 1947, this body voted to
establish two states for two peoples -- a Jewish state and an Arab
state. The Jews accepted this resolution. The Arabs rejected it and
invaded the embryonic Jewish state with the hopes of annihilating it.
We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they refused to do for 62
years: Say yes to a Jewish state. As simple, as clear, as elementary,
as that. Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the
Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the
nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign
conquerors in the Land of Israel. It is the land of our forefathers.
Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical
vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They
shall learn war no more." These words were spoken by the great Jewish
prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city,
in the hills of Judea, and in the streets of Jerusalem.
We are not strangers to this land. This is our homeland. But as deeply
connected as we are to our homeland, we also recognize that the
Palestinians also live there and they want a home of their own. We want
to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, living
in prosperity, living in dignity. Peace, prosperity, and dignity
require one other element. We must have security. The Palestinians
should have all the powers to govern themselves except a handful of
powers that could endanger Israel.
And this is why the Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized.
I say, “effectively,” because we don't want another -- another Gaza, or
another south Lebanon, another Iranian backed terror base abutting
Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.
We want peace.
And I believe that with goodwill and with hard work, such a peace can be
achieved. But it requires from all of us to roll back the forces of
terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, that seek to eliminate
Israel and to overthrow the world order. The question facing the
international community is whether it is prepared to confront those
forces or to accommodate them.
Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called -- he
called it, “the confirmed unteachability of mankind." And by that he
meant the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep and to
slumber until danger nearly overtakes them.
Churchill bemoaned what he called -- I'm reading, "the want of
foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and
effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until
the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I speak here today in the hope that
Churchill's assessment of the "unteachibility of mankind" is for once
I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history -- that we
can prevent danger in time.
In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years
ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril,
secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for
generations to come.
Adonai yevarech et amo
vashalom. Adonai yiten oz l'amo. Adonai yevarech et amo vashalom.1
Thank you very much.
Lord will bless His people with peace. The Lord will give strength to
His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace. (Ps. 29:11)
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