ZOA: UN must act
New York – The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stated in a speech on Sunday that last summer’s Lebanon war showed “for the first time hegemony of the occupier regime ( Israel) collapsed and that pushed the button counting the days until the destruction of Zionist regime.” Ahmadinejad’s comments, which were broadcast to the Iranian nation in a speech marking the 18th anniversary of the death of its Islamist founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, also included this threat: “I warn the Zionist regime and its protectors, if you want to launch a new war against the Lebanese people, this time the people’s ocean of anger will become stormy and will carry away your decayed roots from this region … The countdown to this regime’s destruction started through the hands of Hizballah’s children … We will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future thanks to the endeavors of all Palestinian and Lebanese fighters” ( Sydney Morning Herald , June 4).
Ahmadinejad has previously called repeatedly for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” denied the occurrence of the Holocaust and convened Holocaust denial conferences and cartoon competitions demeaning the Holocaust. His most recent comments drew criticism from Spain’s Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, who called them “unacceptable … These words need a strong response” ( Jerusalem Post , June 4). France’s new Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, echoed Moratinos’ words, saying, “I have been informed of comments, quoted by news agencies, in which the Iranian president speaks of the ‘annihilation of the Israeli regime.’ If these comments were indeed made, they are unacceptable. I condemn them in the strongest terms. Such statements are incompatible with the dialogue between cultures and civilizations to which we are attached and to Iran’s aspiration to play a preeminent role in the region. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli-Lebanese relations cannot be used as a pretext for questioning Israel’s fundamental right to exist” ( Agence-France Presse, June 4).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Ahmadinejad is only the most vocal of Muslim leaders calling for Israel’s elimination and uttering obscenities like denying the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews. From the day in 1948, before Israel was created, when the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha declared that ‘This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades,’ Arab and Muslim leaders have been calling for Israel’s destruction. What makes Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls for and predictions of Israel’s destruction so ominous is that his regime is proceeding unhindered towards acquiring nuclear weapons, which would allow him to carry out his dream. Ahmadinejad says repeatedly that no one will stop him.
“It is therefore truly amazing that, other than the foreign ministers of France and Spain, so few have raised their voice against Ahmadinejad. Why has there been no denunciation from President Bush, Secretary Rice or any other senior figure in the Administration? Unfortunately, this silence is part of a pattern.
“There was silence when, on March 30, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan ended his sermon broadcast on the Palestinian Authority TV with the words, ‘The Hour [of Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: “Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!” There was silence when, a Palestinian Arab author, Kan’an Ubayd, wrote in a Palestinian Arab newspaper in April, ‘the extermination of Jews is good … to which Allah gave his blessing.’ Why does the U.S. continue to deal with, support, fund and urge concessions to the PA when its elected officials call for genocide of Jews? Why are foreign governments not protesting or demanding a retraction of these statements? Now Ahmadinejad, head of a state that is believed to be close to acquiring nuclear weapons and which has openly discussed using them against Israel, speaks of Israel’s imminent destruction and the world remains largely silent.
“The ZOA strongly backs House Concurrent Resolution 21, which calls on ‘the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.’ The Resolution ‘condemns…Ahmadinejad’s offensive remarks, contemptible statements, and reprehensible policies,’ calls on the United Nations Security Council and all Member States to ‘consider measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,’ and ‘reaffirms the unwavering strategic partnership between the United States and Israel.’
“If the United Nations is to have any credibility and moral authority, it must immediately and affirmatively hold Ahmadinejad accountable for his outrageous, offensive, and provocative statements against Israel and the Jewish people. Israel is a sovereign United Nations Member State. Already in 2005, the ZOA called for the United Nations to remove Iran from the organization because, in threatening the annihilation of a member state, Iran is not only severely violating its commitment to the UN Charter, but threatening world peace. At the time, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan did nothing. We now renew our call to his successor, Ban Ki-Moon, because Iran is again clearly in violation of the UN Charter, which defines the purposes of the UN as being the ‘taking of effective, collective measures for the prevention of and removal of threats to the peace’ (Article 1.1). The UN Charter further demands that member states ‘shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations’ (Article 2.4).’ The Charter also states that ‘A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council’ (Article 6). Lastly, the UN Secretary-General has the power to ‘bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security’ (Article 99).
“It is patently clear that Iran, in calling for wiping out of a member state of the UN, is acting completely at variance with the purposes and requirements of the UN Charter, especially these articles. It is hard to imagine what else Ahmadinejad could say that would more fully flout the spirit and letter of the Charter. A country whose head of state makes these statements should have no place in the UN. We therefore call upon the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to discharge his duty under Article 99 to call this matter to the attention of Security Council to deal with this grave threat to international peace and security.”