Prosor to UN: address ‘ecosystem of extremism'

Ambassador cited “terrorist dress-up” in Gaza kindergarten classes, and death threats made against gays and Christians.

March 3, 2013 03:58
2 minute read.
Israel UN envoy Ron Prosor at the UN.

Israel UN envoy Ron Prosor at the UN 390. (photo credit: Screenshot Al Jazeera)

UNITED NATIONS – At a conference at the UN on Thursday hosted by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor warned that counter-terrorism efforts are not adequately addressing the fetal stage of terrorism: incitement of hate for Jews in shops, homes and schools across Arab lands.

“Terrorism does not begin with an attack on a bus or a raid on a village. That is how terrorism ends,” Prosor said. “True counter-terrorism means disrupting the ecosystem of extremism in which terror thrives.”

Prosor cited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated calls for the destruction of Israel as a prime example, on the international stage, of a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which makes it a crime to “directly and publicly incite” to commit genocide.

Also in his speech, the ambassador cited “terrorist dress-up” in Gaza kindergarten classes, and death threats made against gays and Christians.

“Families in Gaza watch public television sermons featuring Hamas ministers like Atallah Abu al-Subh, who recently claimed that, and I quote, ‘the Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth,’” Prosor charged.

A recent report backed by the US State Department claims that incitement may be a problem on both sides of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The study found that, in textbooks in both communities, the rival party was depicted as “other,” with only 11 percent of Israeli, and 1 percent of Palestinian, textbooks portraying the opposite party positively.

The Israeli Education Ministry has strongly condemned the report.

Just a day after the event, Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon criticized comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Vienna that equated Zionism, calling it a “crime against humanity,” to fascism and Islamophobia.

“The Secretary-General heard the prime minister’s speech through an interpreter,” said a UN spokesman. “If the comment about Zionism was interpreted correctly, then it was not only wrong, but contradicts the very principles on which the Alliance of Civilizations is based.”

The words of incitement were roundly slammed by Jewish groups. B’nai B’rith International promptly called on Erdogan to apologize for the “inflammatory” remarks.

“Religious intolerance – anti- Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination – are all too real in too many parts of the world,” the UN spokesman added. “We must stand united in confronting these life-and-death threats."

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