Syria’s U.N. Blood Libel Violates Anti-Racism Prohibition
UN Watch Statement
UN Human Rights Council, 14th Session, 9 June 2010
Item 4: Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
Delivered by Hillel Neuer
(for French or Hebrew subtitles, click here)
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 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.