Issue 238: United Nations Testimony: UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer Confronts Syria over Blood Libel

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 UN Human Rights Council, Agenda Item 4
Debate on “Human Rights Situations Requiring
the Council’s Attention,” June 8-9, 2010

Syrian Arab Republic,  First Secretary Rania Al Rifaiy 

[… Israel] is a state that is built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority. Hatred is widespread, taught to even small children, who are taught to use weapons, and who are taught to sign missiles that will be fired at Arabs.

Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school. And I quote “With my teeth I will rip your flesh. With my mouth I will suck your blood.”

The Israeli systematic violations of human rights and illegitimate occupation has destabilized the whole region, bringing it to the brink of war on so many occasions. We appeal to the international community to put an end to the Israeli impunity and to their extreme, extremely brutal policies inside and outside occupied arab territories.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Human Rights Council President,  Amb. Alex Van Meeuwen of Belgium)Thank you. 

[The council president, who previously chastised UN Watch for  criticizing the Goldstone Report,
failed to reprimand the Syrian delegate. Country delegations also remained silent. UN Watch then took the floor.]

UN Watch, Executive Director Hillel Neuer

Mr. President,

We had prepared a speech on violations the world over. Instead, I am obliged to address a human rights violation that occurred here, in this chamber.

I am referring to remarks that violate the anti-racism prohibition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I am referring to the Syrian statement falsely accusing Israel of being a state that is not only “built on hatred… and a paranoid feeling of superiority,” but also one that glorifies the ripping of flesh and the sucking of blood.

Mr. President,

This crude and coded language echoes the libel voiced by Syria on 8 February 1991 at the UN Commission on Human Rights, when its delegate accused Jews of killing Christians to use their blood, citing from the book “Matzo of Zion” by former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas. That speech was officially condemned at the time by 29 countries.

We remind Syria that the EUMC working definition of Anti-Semitism includes, “Using the symbols and images associated with classic Anti-Semitism, e.g. [the] blood libel, to characterize Israel or Israelis.”

Mr. President,

Yesterday’s patently false and hateful remarks are historical incitements to prejudice and violence. They have no place in the United Nations, and we call on all stakeholders to condemn them.

Sadly, these words did not arise in a vacuum. For last week, during this council’s urgent debate on the flotilla, we heard similar motifs as Israel was speciously depicted as an attacker of innocent humanitarians—when in truth it was defending itself from violent Jihadists bent on martyrdom.

Once again, Israel was singled out by those seeking to delegitimize it. A resolution was adopted condemning Israel, creating yet another investigation where the guilty verdict was declared in advance.

Tellingly, many accused the Jewish state of being “inhuman,” including Pakistan for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Nicaragua.

Mr. President,

Word is father to deed.  History teaches that when nations turn to dehumanization and demonization, the world remains silent at its peril.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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UN Watch