Sunday, January 29, 2017

  • Sunday, January 29, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the UN website
The new UN Secretary General, António Guterres, gave a very good speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here it is:



Today is a day to remember, reflect and look forward.

We are here to honour the victims of the Holocaust, an unparalleled crime against humanity.

We are together to mourn the loss of so many and of so much.

The world has a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people and so many others.

I am humbled by the presence here today of Holocaust survivors. Thank you for bearing witness across seven decades so that others may live in dignity. There is no better education for the future than the guarantee that we will always be able to remember the past and to honour the victims of the tragedies of that past.

I would like to pay tribute to one survivor in particular, Elie Wiesel, who passed away last year. He became one of the world’s most passionate voices for mutual respect and acceptance, and the United Nations was proud to have him as one of our Messengers of Peace.

It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis. On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred and discrimination targeting the Jews – what we now call anti-Semitism.

Imperial Rome not only destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but also made Jews pariahs in many ways. The attacks and abuse grew worse through the triumph of Christianity and the propagation of the idea that the Jewish community should be punished for the death of Jesus – an absurdity that helped to trigger massacres and other tremendous crimes against Jews around the world for centuries to come.

The same happened in my own country, Portugal, reaching its height with the order by King Manuel in the 16th century expelling all Jews who refused to convert. This was a hideous crime and an act of enormous stupidity. It caused tremendous suffering to the Jewish community – and deprived Portugal of much of the country’s dynamism. Before long, the country entered a prolonged cycle of impoverishment.

Many Portuguese Jews eventually settled in the Netherlands. Lisbon’s loss was Amsterdam’s gain, as the Portuguese Jewish community played a key role in transforming the Netherlands into the global economic powerhouse of the 17th century.

The Portuguese example also demonstrates that anti-Semitism, more than a question of religion, is essentially an expression of racism. The proof is that the converted Jews, the so-called “new Christians”, faced discrimination by the old Christians, and suffered continued persecution by the Portuguese Inquisition.

When I became Prime Minister in 1995, I felt it was absolutely necessary, even if only with a symbolic gesture, to demonstrate my country's rejection and repentance of Portugal’s
merciless attacks against the Jewish community.

In 1996, Parliament revoked the letter of expulsion. I then had the honour of visiting the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam to formally present a copy of that decree and apologize on behalf of my country. Tragically, that beautiful synagogue was almost empty, because the community Portugal had expelled was almost completely destroyed by the Holocaust. Anti-Semitism always tends to come back.

Portugal recently adopted a law allowing the descendants of those expelled in the 16th century to regain Portuguese nationality. Last year, more than 400 took advantage of this offer.

I am also very proud to note that just a few weeks ago, my wife signed, on behalf of the Lisbon Municipality, an agreement with the Israeli Community of Lisbon to establish the Lisbon Jewish Museum. This will be a way to pay tribute to the memory of those my country mistreated so badly.

History keeps moving forward, but anti-Semitism keeps coming back.

The renowned scholar Simon Schama has noted that in the 19th century, Jews were even blamed for modernity, including for disasters of international finance in which they themselves were among the first victims.

Schama also noted that Jews often faced a lose-lose situation. When they successfully integrated and came to “look like” anyone else, they became subjects of suspicion. Others who looked different were blamed for that, too. Both groups came together in the Nazi crematoria.

After the Holocaust, the world seemed eager to find a more cooperative path. The founding of the United Nations was one expression of that moment. The UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention enshrined a commitment to equality and human rights.

Humankind dared to believe that tribal identities would diminish in importance.

We were wrong. Those like me who grew up in the post-war era never imagined we would again face rising attacks on Jews in my own part of the world – in Europe.

Anti-Semitism is alive and kicking. Irrationality and intolerance are back.

But we still see Holocaust denial, despite the facts. There is also a new trend of Holocaust revisionism, with the rewriting of history and even the honouring of disgraced officials from those days.

Hate speech and anti-Semitic imagery are proliferating across the Internet and social media.

Violent extremist groups use anti-Semitic appeals to rouse their forces and recruit new followers.

All this is in complete contrast to tolerance, the primacy of reason and universal values.

Moreover, as the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Lord Jonathan Sacks, said last year, “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews”.

Today, we see anti-Semitism, along with racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance, triggered by populism. I am extremely concerned at the discrimination faced by minorities, refugees and migrants across the world.

I find the stereotyping of Muslims deeply troubling. A “new normal” of public discourse is taking hold, in which prejudice is given a free pass and the door is opened to even more extreme hatred.

Steps from this chamber, you will find a powerful exhibition on Nazi propaganda. It is called “State of deception” and is the product of our fruitful partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

As this exhibition details, propaganda helped erode the bonds of humanity. The word “Jewish” was used constantly in association with society’s ills. Hardship and instability created fertile ground for scapegoating. It is true that many citizens disapproved of discrimination. But a majority accepted such sentiments, even if only passively. Ultimately, indifference prevailed, dehumanization took hold, and the descent into barbarity was quick.

These are lessons for our time, too.

We need to be vigilant. We need to invest in education and youth. We need to strengthen social cohesion so that people feel that diversity is a plus, not a threat.

The United Nations itself must do more to strengthen its human rights machinery, and to push for justice for the perpetrators of grave crimes.

Our “Together” campaign is focusing on countries hosting refugees and migrants. Our Holocaust Outreach Programme is active on all continents.

The Holocaust also saw great acts of heroism, from ordinary people who protected others to diplomats who, at grave risk to themselves, defied the Nazis to enable thousands of people to escape certain death. Some of these are well known – Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg and Japan’s Chiune Sugihara. Some are less so -- Iran’s Abdol Hossein Sardari and, I am proud to say, Portugal’s Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

Today, we can be inspired by many cooperative efforts to bring diverse groups together. We need to deepen this solidarity.

After the horrors of the 20th century, there should be no room for intolerance in the 21st.

I guarantee you that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will be in the frontline of the battle against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred.

That is the best way to build a future of dignity and equality for all – and the best way to honour the victims of the Holocaust we will never allow to be forgotten.

Thank you very much.


Khaled Abu Toameh tweeted:

Yes, the Palestinians were upset that Guterres said "Imperial Rome not only destroyed the temple in Jerusalem..."

Guterres ended his speech with "I guarantee you that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will be in the frontline of the battle against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred."

Will he recognize that Palestinian demands to sever any connection between Jews and Jerusalem is one constant example of antisemitism happening today?

Will he have the guts to publicly say that today's anti-Israelism is simply a modern form of antisemitism?

He is saying the right things. The question is whether he will act on them.

UPDATE: Here's the Palestinian reaction:
Palestinian officials on Sunday criticized the statements made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, on the city of Jerusalem, calling it "a serious political encroachment."

The Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Husseini told the news agency "Xinhua" that Guterres' statement was "bias" for Israel.

Husseini said that Guterres was "ignoring the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization  (UNESCO) decisions, which considered the Al-Aqsa Mosque of purely Islamic heritage," pointing out that the Secretary-General of the United Nations "violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian norms, and exceeded his role as secretary general with these remarks, and he must apologize the Palestinian people. "






We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

translate

Share on Whatsapp


E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options


One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness Haaretz hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi News nftp NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive