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Proud of My Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu

25 Sep

Thursday, September 24, 2009
PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the UN General Assembly

Transcription

24/09/2009

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right 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 recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission 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 how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that
meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.

Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?

A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?

This June, President Obama visited 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?

One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife’s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were
all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room 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 that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!

Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You’re wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

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 the globe with a murderous violence and 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 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. 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 the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress 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 fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the
world over 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.

That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are the member states 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 gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood?

Will the international community thwart the world’s most pernicious sponsors and practitioners 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 the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging.

Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.

For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single 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 dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.

We didn’t get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.

You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.

Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally 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. It 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. 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 against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances.

Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people 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 such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn?
Israel.

A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.

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!

Delegates of the United Nations,
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 declare that the earth is flat.

If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity.

And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here’s why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.

What legitimacy? What self-defense?

The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us -my people, my country – of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!

Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is 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 and 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 peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
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 the people of Israel, 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 that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state.

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. This 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 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. It is our homeland.

As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity.

But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don’t want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.

We want peace.

I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order.

The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind,” the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called 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 emergency comes, until self-preservation
strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the “unteachability of mankind” is for once proven wrong.
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.

(speech was found here via Supergreek)

Quoted in FoxNews "Gaza Conflict Moves to Virtual World"

11 Jan

Gaza Conflict Moves to Virtual World

Friday , January 09, 2009
By Jennifer Lawinski

A shadow war between pro-Israeli and pro-Hamas forces is taking place on the Internet — and it is getting fierce.

If you’re one of millions of Americans who use social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter or participate in virtual worlds like “Second Life,” don’t be surprised if you get sucked into a war thousands of miles away in Gaza.

Support groups have sprouted up on Facebook, drawing in thousands of members on both sides of the conflict. Protests erupted in “Second Life”‘s virtual Israel, where demonstrators showed up to voice support for Hamas and the Palestinians.

People are using Twitter updates to tell the world what they’re witnessing on the ground or how they feel about the news. And videos of the carnage in Gaza have been posted on YouTube, including some from the Israeli government.

On Facebook, the pro-Hamas group “Stop Genocide in Palestine” has more than 117,500 members. On the other side, “I Support the Israel Defense Forces in Preventing Terror Attacks from Gaza” has more than 65,000 members.

Some Facebook users have changed their profile pictures to Israeli or Palestinian flags, bloody images of war or other partisan graphics to get their messages across.

Facebook users can use applications to set messages in their status bars expressing affiliation with one side or the other. An application called “Qassam Count” enables users to voice their support for Israel by automatically updating their status bar when rockets are fired from Gaza into the Jewish state.

Joel Leyden, an American working in Israel, said he founded the “Support the Israel Defense Forces in Preventing Terror Attacks from Gaza” group to give members a place to voice their opinions and grievances about the conflict.

“Facebook, as we all know, was created by a university student for university students, and it’s turned into the number one watering hole for the international community,” Leyden said. “That can’t be better illustrated than how it’s being used today with the war here that we have with Hamas.”

Thousands of messages have been posted to the group. Moderators watch over the conversation in Israel, Europe and North America.

Leyden said he’s received dozens of death threats since he started the group.

“I’ve served in [the Israeli army] in combat and in the spokesperson’s office and with the border police,” he said. “I’ve never felt more in a dangerous environment than I do here. Everyone is trying to make as much noise as they can to break through.”

Messages like “death to the Jews” and “we can’t wait to murder you” have been posted to the group, he said, but since positing pro-peace messages to the site in Arabic, Leyden said things have toned down considerably.

None of the pro-Palestinian groups on Facebook responded to a request for comment.

The operators of Facebook, meanwhile, are taking pains to ensure that the online war doesn’t get out of hand.

Facebook takes its “Terms of Use” policy seriously and removes groups that violate that policy from the Web site, spokeswoman Elizabeth Linder told FOXNews.com in an e-mail.

“We are sensitive to and subsequently take down Groups that threaten violence towards people. We also remove groups that express hatred towards individuals and groups that are sponsored by recognized terrorist organizations,” Linder wrote.

Facebook on Thursday removed a Web site called “Hitler Took the Right Decision With Jewish People,” saying the group violated its policies.

“We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views,” Linder wrote. “As such, we do not aim to control the discourse on Facebook.

“Rather, we take swift action to remove content that violates our policies. Our goal is to strike a very delicate balance between giving Facebook users the freedom to express their opinions and beliefs, while also ensuring that individuals and groups of people do not feel threatened or endangered.”

In the virtual world “Second Life,” SL Israel saw protests from virtual pro-Palestinian activists when the violence in Gaza flared up.

“Lots of people yelling,” the founder of SL Israel, who goes by Beth Odets in the game, told Second Life blogger Wagner James Au. “They were going on and on with slurring obscenities about murderous Israeli forces, etc.”

Odets began ejecting the most offensive protesters from the area, she told Au.

“I had to be careful not to boot people who didn’t actually do anything wrong,” she said.

She temporarily had to close SL Israel to outsiders to quell the protests, but protesters kept coming. Eventually, however, people came who wanted to talk.

Twitter user Ahuvah Berger, who lives in Israel, said she has been using the network to update her contacts about terrorism for years.

“I believe it is very important to help get our side of the story using a medium in which I already have a large audience who ‘know’ me,” she wrote in an e-mail to FOXNews.com.

“As we know Israel is not good at PR, and as the perceived aggressor it needs to show the world why it does and continues to do what it feels necessary to protect its citizens,” she wrote.

“I have encountered a lot of nasty Twitter users who believe in their own propaganda and when confronted with facts, not only facts emerging from Israel, they resort to calling me a Nazi and a perpetrator of a Palestinian holocaust.”

Ron Kutas of Stand With Us, a pro-Israel group, said taking the war onto the Internet has its problems.

“It’s opening up the door to anybody who wants to say anything,” Kutas said. “It’s very hard for people to distinguish between emotional commentary about the conflict and factual journalism about the conflict … you have an open forum and people who are not educated about the conflict are being told misinformation all the time.”

Kutas said he uses Qassam Count to spark discussion with friends who oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza.

“People who I’m friends with who have opinions that are not the same as mine, we have dialogues about real issues and real facts. When that happens it’s a great thing,” he said.

Asked if any of his friends had chosen not to associate with him on Facebook because of his pro-Israel activism, Kutas replied, “I don’t know of anything of that sort, but I should look into that.”

A letter From the President of Israel Spokesperson’s office

31 Dec

PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

President Peres During His Visit to Ashkelon:

“Israel Will Not Accept a “Strip of Terror” Alongside Us, and Accordingly Hamas Operatives Have Tasted the Flavor of Israel’s Response in the Past Days”

President Peres Called for an End to Unnecessary Discussion of a Ceasefire: “The Point is Not a Ceasefire; It Is a Cessation of Terror”

President Shimon Peres arrived this morning in Ashkelon in order to demonstrate solidarity with the residents of the city. President Peres visited children seeking refuge in a municipal bomb shelter, visited victims of Qassam and Grad rocket attacks at the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, and took part in a meeting to evaluate the situation in the municipal operations room.

While the President was visiting the children of Ashkelon in a municipal bomb shelter, the “Red Alert” siren was heard throughout the city, and Grad rockets struck. The children turned to the President and told him that they could hear the sirens. President Peres hugged the children and said, “In spite of the sirens, we are not afraid. Let’s keep playing and singing. We are protected in the shelter and we have a strong, quality army to protect us.” President Peres added that, “I want to tell you, as the President, that the whole State of Israel loves you. We are proud of you, of your courage and your ability to keep playing and singing even during hard times. I have hope that the difficult moments will pass quickly and you will be able to return to your regular lives and routines.”

Regarding the Grad rocket that struck a school in Beersheba this morning, President Peres said that, “We were very lucky that there were no studies this morning, otherwise children would have been hurt.”

The children in the bomb shelter told the President that, “We love Ashkelon and we are not afraid,” and they asked to sing him songs from “Big Brother.” [An Israeli reality TV show] President Peres was not thrown off in the slightest, and held an animated conversation with the children about the show: “Who did you like the best? Who did you want to win?”

During his visit to the wounded at the Barzilai Hospital, President Peres met with Dudu Cohen, who was wounded yesterday in his leg by the falling of a Grad rocket, as well as with Majeeb, a Beduin from Rahat; both of them were hospitalized in the orthopedic ward. The President was updated on the status of the wounded and the preparations of the hospital to cope with injured Israelis on the home front.

President Peres said that, “All of us are proud of the conduct of the army as well as the civilian population. This is not the first time that Israel has been attacked, and I am convinced that we have the strength to act in the right manner until quiet prevails throughout the towns of the Gaza periphery.” President Peres emphasized that, “Israel will not accept a ‘Strip of Terror’ alongside us, and accordingly Hamas operatives have tasted the flavor of Israel’s response in the last few days.”

In response to a reporter’s question regarding the French proposal of a ceasefire, President Peres said that it was essential to stop all the chatter and extraneous talk of a ceasefire; any such deliberations must take place far from the spotlight, and there is no point in a cease fire in any case until there is a cessation of terror.

At the end of his visit, President Peres thanked the Mayor of Ashkelon, Benny Vaknin, for his good stewardship of Ashkelon during this period and said that he was encouraged by the optimism and the strength that the residents of Ashkelon had demonstrated, and that they stand on the front lines of Israel.

For additional details:

Ayelet Frish – Spokesperson for the President of Israel – 050.620.5111
Meital Jaslovitz – Assistant Spokesperson for the President – 050.420.5230