Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Special Envoy for Combatting Antisemitism, gives a powerful speech at the UN about the ever-mutating virus of antisemitism.
Thank you for everybody who showed up. It's the first sign that we have partners in what I believe as we Mark 75 years to Krystallnacht. October 7th represents for our world October 7th is the Krystallnacht that gives us the opportunity and the responsibility to act. In order to be able to predict and prevent what came after Krystallnacht we have to understand in this institution that was mandated, entrusted to ensure that never again that never again is right now.
The topic of our gathering today as Israel's special envoy for combating anti-Semitism when I sit here in this building that enabled the first strain of an ever mutating virus in the form of the UN resolution Zionism is racism in 1975 and we have to be very clear that is what is alive and well on university campuses, online, in the streets, Zionism is racism. Soviet propaganda has become in the name of progress a mainstream legitimate mutated form of an ever mutating hatred of Jews that was enabled by silence. Zionism is racism passed in this building, paved the path for the 2001 Durban conference against racism turned anti-Semitic hate fest to turn Israel into another lie and apartheid state.
Since 2001 on every single campus across the United States of America, Canada, and many places in Europe Israel apartheid weeks have been held peddling yet another vicious lie that Israel is an apartheid state and the ultimate the appropriation and weaponization of the Holocaust itself of genocide coined alongside crimes against humanity in order to be able to describe atrocities too terrible to imagine but not too terrible to have happened, the likes of which precisely happened on October the 7th. The burning of babies the raping of women so bad their legs couldn't be straightened for their burial, the burning of entire families taking refuge from incoming rockets, each a violation of international law, a double War crime. 9,400 rockets targeting Israelis, not one condemnation out of this building for that double War crime targeting Israelis sleeping in their beds from densely populated areas in Gaza. Yes a double War crime that this institution is mandated to condemn, not one rocket, not one double War crime condemned. And so we meet today at a moment of reckoning, at a moment that in order for “never again” to mean anything when “never again” is right now. We must recognize that the same dehumanization, the same delegitimization, the same double standard that enabled the murder and the burning and the annihilation of the individual Jew, barring him or her from an equal place in society, has just morphed to the dehumanization and the delegitimization and the double standards towards the Jewish nation state, the proverbial Jew among the nations intended to be an equal member among the family of nations but barred and prevented from being that equal member in this very institution. Demonized, delegitimized and apply double standards to in every committee hearing in every session that the Human Rights Council meets and if we are to give any meaning to “never again,” if we are to indeed uphold promote and protect the foundational principles upon which this institution and its mechanisms and it values were founded we have to recognize that it is these institutions, mechanisms, and values that have been coopted and weaponized in order to enable the demonization the delegitimization and the double standards towards the proverbial Jew among the Nations that is the state of Israel. If we are not willing to do that, ladies and gentlemen, we are not committed to combating anti-Semitism if we do not unequivocally condemn the atrocities of of October 7th without a but at the end of that sentence. We are not upholding the responsibility of “never again.” Let it be very clear, there are no two sides to this equation. There is a genocidal terror organization that just like Mein Kampf, is committed to the annihilation of the state of Israel and the murder of Jews openly stating that. And there is the single Jewish democratic country which not only can but must defend its civilians. There is that genocidal terror organization, but one proxy of a genocidal terror regime that does the very same thing to the people of Iran. In this building on November 2nd becoming the chair of the human rights council's social mission an Orwellian reality that the ear cannot even be able to contain but is not too true not too terrible to have happened right here in this building.
And so if we are actually to give the words “never again” any meaning, if we are actually to be able to save our civilization as we know it, because ladies and gentlemen don't be mistaken the war waged on the state of Israel and the murder of Jews and the very same anti-Semitism that has fueled the responses that deny that justify that excuse that attack of Jews all over the world and support Hamas genocidal terror but a proxy of the genocidal terror regime in Iran, that's not the end of the story ladies and gentlemen. We may be the bloody canary in the M shaft but the M shaft will collapse. History does repeat itself and so at this krystallnacht moment of 10/7, as we hold up the convention on the prevention of and punishment of the crime of genocide that has been in an Orwellian inversion now in this building inverted to accuse Israel of genocide even as the makings of genocide are perpetrated against Israelis and Jews, even as war crimes and crimes against humanity are not condemned in this building, if we do not recognize that this moment is “never again,” then we are not just failing the nation state of the Jewish people that was intended to be an equal member among the family of nations.
Clearly it is not we are not just failing Jews in all of your countries now attacked for the atrocities perpetrated against our people on October 7th in support of Hamas, that is not it that's not the only thing we're not doing. We are failing to protect our shared humanity. We are failing to protect the shared principles of life and of Liberty. We are failing to protect civilization as we know it upon which that Islamic genocidal regime in Iran and all of its proxies, Hamas included, intend to build an alternate reality on the rubble of our shared civilization. They say it openly. You can check Twitter because guess what social media platforms enable genocidal terrorists to tweet freely. They have not adopted the international Holocaust remembrance alliance definition of anti-Semitism, although they have other protected characteristics. Oh no, but like on university campuses not Jews or Zionists or anyone that protects or defends or believes in the right of the state of Israel to exist, no that protection diversity equity and inclusion which this building too is so committed to, which every university campus declares its commitment to, which every online space in social media platform is so committed to protecting. It doesn't apply to Jews or Zionists or those that believe in the right of the state of Israel to exist in any border.
And Ladies and Gentlemen let's not be mistaken about it, the call that is heard, including here, from the river to the sea that is a call to annihilate the state of Israel that echoes the Hamas Charter. From the river to the sea is a call to genocide right here, here in this building and so if we are to really uphold “never again” and acknowledge that “never again” is right now while “never again” for the rest of the world may be “never again.” Will we be silent as you are? “Never again.” Will we allow false moral equivalency in a raging war for public opinion that was waged in this building in 1975 and has continued through time, which many of the countries that you represent do that. “Never again” for us, for the Jewish people means never again will we be defenseless. Never again will we not be able to defend ourselves or wait for anyone to save us even if we die to our last children doing so. That is what the state of Israel is committed to doing right now. We are upholding our share of that “never again” principle. Never again will Jews be slaughtered and years later will we ask ourselves how could that have happened, because ladies and gentlemen 2023 is not 1943. We have a nation state. We have sovereignty. We have a Defense Force and it is at this moment in time that we will know if we have friends that believe, believe in the right of the state of Israel to exist in any borders, or if we have enablers that with their silence end up in the words of the late Elie Wiesel, on the side of the tormentor never the tormented “never again” is right now. It is a call to action. It is a call to moral clarity and courage. It is a call to understand that in war we lose friends. We are losing many. We are burying children. We have lost civilians and soldiers and the entire state of Israel is deployed to this war. And I ask you, are you willing to lose friends in order to be able to do what is right, to speak with moral clarity and courage in the unconventional war for public opinion that was waged right here with a Zionism is racism resolution that has been for years raging, turning Israel into an apartheid state and the Holocaust in an Orwellian inversion to into what Jews do and genocide appropriated against the state of Israel in order to fight this war.
Because ladies and gentlemen in this war you are the boots on the ground and you will have to speak up with moral clarity and with courage in your countries, in your constituencies, in your organizations, and in this building that without the international Holocaust remembrance alliance definition will not be able not even for a moment to say that it is committed to identifying and combating anti-Semitism. Without a definition we cannot identify or combat anything and 10/7 made very clear not only in the atrocities perpetrated but in the responses to the atrocities perpetrated that anti-Zionism is the mutated mainstream form of anti-Semitism which in order to be able to ensure that “never again” we will have to identify and combat.
Thank you and I'll end by saying that as Israel's special Envoy for combating anti-Semitism I am a member of a coalition of special envoys, many of them represented by in your country's represented by those special envoys today. We issued a joint statement on the imperative not for pity but for action in each of your countries, identifying and combating this strain of anti-Semitism that is threatening the world as we know it, that is threatening civilization, that is threatening Jews in your countries, and that is threatening existentially the state of Israel as we speak. Thank you. There is no difference between left and right religious or secular Jew and non-Jew. The line in the quicksand that October 7th made very clear for any of us who are paying attention is that this is between radical extremism and those of us that happen to like the civilization in which we live. There is no politicization of anti-Semitism that enables us to combat it properly. And I think that what Michael raised is actually very important in this institution because anti-Semitism was able to mutate over thousands of years by latching on to the guiding social construct of the time, religion science and the secular religion of our time, my own area of expertise, my faith in human rights. And it is human rights that were appropriated and weaponized in order to enable this mutation of anti-Semitism that has become mainstream. As we heard on every single campus it is that and all of those terms that have been appropriated in order to enable under the progressive. And it is not progress. It's regress because October 7th showed us that that is not progress. So anybody who is supporting or not unequivocally condemning October 7th is doing so because as we have heard universities have relinquished their mission statement of teaching people how to think for a very very scary reality in which they teach people what to think. That is the call of our time. And I want to be very clear in this building because we meet at a time of “never again” and what I believe is a moment of reckoning for all of our spaces. The international institutions, the university spaces, the social media and our streets have all intersected October 7th.
The world cannot ignore October 7th and maybe what I would like to close with is the understanding that in order to be able to unpack what October 7th identified and the masks that it removed it has to be very clear in this building the state of Israel does not exist because the Holocaust occurred. It's precisely the opposite. The Holocaust could not have occurred had the state of Israel existed and October 7th has shown us exactly that and anybody that continues pedaling the lie that the state of Israel exists because the Holocaust occurred when in fact 75 years ago an indigenous people prototypical indigenous people that speaks the same language, Hebrew, and reads the same book, The Bible, and traverses the same land and practices the same cultural rituals that indigenous people was stripped of the right of dignity in this building. The fact that that indigenous people returned to our ancestral Homeland after thousands of years of exile and persecution enabled by the fact that we were stateless for thousands of years, the fact that that lie is pedaled here in any capacity as if the state of Israel exists as a white colonialist project, European colonialist sending Jews to their ancestral Homeland, severing the tie between Jews and that ancestral Homeland including in institutions of this building like UNESCO recognizing Jericho as a Palestinian heritage site what we see is systematic, ladies and gentlemen, and it has appropriated this institution all of its mechanisms and the values of human rights that we were all committed mandated entrusted to uphold promote and protect equally and consistently. The double standards in this building have collapsed the entire infrastructure because whenever people say to me I'm not a lawyer I don't understand why double standards are such a problem I say you know if I say to a three-year-old we're going to play a game and you're going to play according to the rules but I'm going to cheat, the three-year-old will say I'm not playing, and that is what has happened right here with a double standard applied to Israel systematically and consistently. It's more or less the only consistent systematic thing that we can say. And so I turn back to you. I turn back to you with that very important plea to the adults in the room. This is the time to lean in and sound our voices and take back the foundational principles that this building was founded on because the “never again” for this building means that if at this moment we don't realize that “never again” is right now the UN will cease to exist as we know it. That is the truth we can ignore it we can deny it. We can hope for another year or two but that is the truth and that's where university campuses, social media platforms, and these international institutions. They were all exposed on October 7th. That has changed the world as we know it and I want to repeat one last time. The state of Israel does not exist because the Holocaust occurred. Rather the Holocaust could not have occurred had the state of Israel existed. That is our call to action. And we will fight for our lives. We will not wait to be saved this time around, not in Israel and not in all of us committed to be the boots on the ground, because we believe in not only the right but the imperative for that state of Israel to exist. As October 7th made very clear to all of us, anybody paying attention so thank you and we look forward to your action with moral clarity and courage. “Never again” is right now.