Then-Ambassador Chaim Herzog speaking to the United Nations in 1975.
(photo credit: HERZOG FAMILY FOUNDATION)
NEW YORK – The Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations will hold an event Wednesday commemorating the historic speech given by then ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog on November 10, 1975, in which he denounced General Assembly Resolution 3379 that declared Zionism a form of racism.
That day coincided with the 37th anniversary Kristallnacht, or the Night of Shattered Glass, in Germany. The resolution was adopted by a 72-35 vote with 32 abstentions and remained in place for until it was revoked in 1991, by which time Herzog was Israel’s sixth president.
At the end of his speech, described by the Israeli mission as “one of the most influential” addresses in history, Herzog had made a powerful impact when he tore up the resolution on the podium before the UN General Assembly.
“For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper and we shall treat it as such,” he said.
The decision, he told the gathering, was “conceived in the desire to deflect the Middle East from its moves toward peace and born of a deep pervading feeling of anti-Semitism.”
“It is sobering to consider to what level this body has been dragged down if we are obliged today to contemplate an attack on Zionism. For this attack constitutes not only an anti-Israeli attack of the foulest type, but also an assault in the United Nations on Judaism,” Herzog stated.
“The resolution against Zionism was originally one condemning racism and colonialism, a subject on which we could have achieved consensus,” he added. “However, instead of permitting this to happen, a group of countries, drunk with the feeling of power inherent in the automatic majority and without regard to the importance of achieving a consensus on this issue, railroaded the UN in a contemptuous maneuver by the use of the automatic majority into bracketing Zionism with the subject under discussion.”
The 40-year commemoration event is being organized in collaboration with the Yad Chaim Herzog Association and the American Jewish Committee.
Among the expected attendees are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; United States Ambassador Samantha Power; and some of Herzog’s family members including his son, Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog, who will give a speech at the ceremony.
Current Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called the passing of Resolution 3379 “a dark chapter” in the UN’s history.
“Despite the retraction of the resolution, the hypocrisy and delegitimization against Israel still echo in the halls of this organization,” he said. “The UN must tear this page from its history and open a new page of fairness and equality among all its member states.”