Armed with unfiltered criticism for the United Nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an aggressive speech to the international body’s annual gathering in New York on Thursday, charging its members with hypocrisy in their treatment of Israel and with failure to contain extremism across the wider Middle East.
With defensive rhetoric, he targeted the assembly for passing more resolutions against Israel for its handling of the Palestinians last year than against the government of Syria, which has presided over a war claiming the lives of over 300,000 people. He criticized member states for “encouraging Palestinian rejectionism” instead of direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, one day after a Palestinian flag was raised at UN headquarters.
And yet the most poignant moment of the speech involved no remarks at all, as Netanyahu, in his seventh UN General Assembly address, asked the body if it had forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust just seventy years since its founding.
He quoted from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, from its president and its military commanders, all reiterating a familiar pledge: Israel, a state where six million Jews reside, must be annihilated, sooner rather than later.
“Seventy years after the murder of six million Jews, Iran’s rulers promise to destroy my country, murder my people,” Netanyahu said. “And the response from this body— the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here— has been absolutely nothing. Utter silence. Deafening silence.” (Read more from “Watch: In Fiery Speech, Netanyahu Challenges UN on Moral Grounds” HERE)