First a correction of some importance: Yesterday, I wrote, “Oslo agreements did declare settlement activity illegal.” What I left out was the crucial NOT. For Oslo did not stop settlement activity. That only one person picked this up (when normally many would) leads me to hope that many of you read what I meant, rather than what I said. To those who were misinformed by what I had written, I apologize. To Martin P., who found the error, I send thanks.
Now as to “Oom shmoom”… Ben Gurion used this derisive expression — “oom” is shorthand in Hebrew for United Nations — to express his contempt for it. It stands today, although we must pay attention at some level to what goes on in this morally corrupt institution.
Yesterday Ahmadinejad spoke again to the General Assembly. Morally corrupt barely describes an institution that would grant him this courtesy.
I will not in any way focus on what Ahmadinejad said. Of interest to me, first, are the countries that walked out on him:
France took the lead when Ahmadinejad began castigating Israel, and then Argentina, Australia, Britain, Costa Rica, Denmark, France Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand and the United States followed.
Israel was not in the hall, having called for a boycott of the talk. Canada — which deserves kudos for its support — had joined that boycott.
And then, most importantly of all, there is this:
Tonight Israel time, afternoon US time, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke to the General Assembly, and oh he did us proud. Israel, first, but then Jews everywhere. A moral challenge to Oom Shmoom.
Excerpts from his talk:
“The UN was founded after the carnage of World War II, [and was] charged with preventing the reoccurrence of such horrendous events.
“Nothing has impeded [this work] more than the systematic assault on the truth.
“Yesterday the president of Iran stood at this podium spewing anti-Semitic rants… Just a few days earlier he claimed the Holocaust is a lie.
“Last month I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee [where the Nazis planned the Final Solution for the Jews in January 1942].
“Is this protocol a lie? [Holding out a facsimile of the Final Solution plans.] Is the German government lying?
“The day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. These plans I now hold in my hand [showing the worn-out blueprints to the assembly]. They contain a signature by Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s deputy.
“Are these plans of the camp where one million Jews were murdered a lie too?
“Yesterday, the man who called the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. For those who refused to come, and those who left in protest – I commend you, you stood up for moral clarity.
“But for those who stayed – I say on behalf of the Jewish people, my people and decent people everywhere – have you no shame? No decency? What a disgrace, what a mockery of the charter of the UN.
“…perhaps some of you think that this man and his regime threaten only the Jews – well, if you think that – you’re wrong, dead wrong.
“In the past 30 years, this fanaticism spread across the globe with a murderous violence that knows no bounds, [so that Islamic terrorism has hurt Muslims, Christian and Hindus as well as Jews].
“Wherever [Islamic fanatics] can, they enforce a backward system of government. [This is a struggle between] the 21st Century and the 9th Century.
“Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And our future promises magnificent bounties of hope.
“…We will find an alternative to fossil fuel, and yes, we will clean up the planet. But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history can be reversed [for a lengthy period of time].
“This is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and weapons of mass destruction.
“Is the UN up to that? Will the international community stand up to the despotism of a government against its own people? The jury is still out on the UN. Recent signs are not encouraging.”
The prime minister then addressed the Goldstone Commission report about our alleged war crimes in Gaza.
“Not one UN resolution was passed condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. We heard nothing, absolutely nothing from the UN Human Rights Council.
“Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza, uprooting over 8,000 Israelis from their homes… because many in Israel believed that this would get peace.
“[But] instead we got an Iranian-backed terror base 50 miles from Tel Aviv, and life in the Israeli towns and cities near Gaza became nothing less than a nightmare. Hamas attacks increased ten-fold after we withdrew, and again, the UN was silent, absolutely silent.
“…after 8 years of unremitting assault Israel was forced to respond…
“Faced with an enemy committing double war crimes – firing at civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to carry out surgical attacks on terrorists, not an easy task when fighting squads in a densely populated area.
“Israel tried to minimize civilian casualties…We dropped countless flyers over Gazans’ homes, sent text messages to Palestinian residents, made cellular phone calls urging them to vacate, to leave…never has a country gone to such length to remove the enemy’s civilian population away from harm’s way.
“[But] the UN Human Rights Council decided to condemn Israel, we were morally hanged, given an unfair trial to boot… What a perversion of truth and justice.
“…[if the claims of Israeli war crimes are accepted] the UN would revert to its darkest age – when Zionism was equated with racism.
“If the report is not rejected, the UN will go into a process of vitiating itself from relevance. The world will be sending a message to terrorists that terrorism pays – you will win immunity if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas.”
(At about this point, the Palestinians left the hall.)
“What a travesty! The biased and unjust report provided a clear-cut test to all governments – will you stand with Israel or with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now – not later. If Israel is asked to take more risks for peace we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. We can take further risks for peace only if we have confidence that we can defend ourselves.
“All of Israel wants peace…If the Palestinians truly want peace, we will make peace. But we want a defensible peace, permanent peace.
“We ask the Palestinians to say yes to a Jewish state, as simple, as clear, as elementary as that. We are not foreign conquerors in the land of Israel. We are not strangers to this land – this is our homeland…
“…we don’t want another Gaza, or south Lebanon, another Iranian-backed terror base near Jerusalem. We want peace and I believe that with goodwill and hard work such a peace can be achieved, but it requires from all of us to roll back the forces of terror backed by Iran that seek to eliminate Israel and overthrow world order.”
And then the ending, from Joshua:
“Let us be strong and of good courage… let us confront the peril… let us forge an enduring peace for generations to come.”
A URL for the full text of this talk will be shared when it becomes available.
Here is a URL for a brief clip of his talk on YouTube:
This is how it is when he speaks from his gut, from his place of deep moral understanding, without political game-playing. And how sweet it is. He needs to know now how proud we are and how totally with him.
Prime Minister Netanyahu
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
Phone: 03-610-9898 (From the US: 011-972-3-610-9898)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (underscore after pm)
Tomorrow Abbas speaks. Abbas, who let it be known today that negotiations would not happen soon.