Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid at the Knesset.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid on Monday called on the United States to stop funding the United Nations unless the organization’s Human Rights Council treats Israel fairly and stops its anti-Semitic declarations.
“I am the son of a Holocaust survivor, let me tell you something about anti-Semitism,” Lapid said as he addressed a rally of pro-Israel groups in Geneva.
“Anti-Semites, in this era, never admit that they are anti-Semitic. They always give it a different name. They say it’s something else. So we learned in the past 2,000 years that it doesn’t matter what they say. It only matters what they do,” he continued.
“What they are doing here today, in the United Nations Human Rights Council is pure, old style anti-Semitism,” Lapid said.
He spoke as the UNHRC debated five anti-Israel resolutions that are due to be approved at the end of its 31st session on March 24. It also is expected to pass one resolution on Iranian human rights abuses and one on Syrian violations.
The UNHRC held its debate under Agenda Item 7, which mandates a debate on the Israeli violations of human rights over the pre-1967 lines at every session. Israel is the only country for which such a mandate exists.
Its the first time that such a rally by pro-Israel groups has been held during an Agenda Item 7 debate. The World Zionist Organization, StandWithUs, the European Union of Jewish Students and the Swiss-Israel Friendship Association were among those who helped organize the gathering.
A number of those who attended wrapped themselves in Israeli flags; some held signs that said, “UN say no to terror” and “Support human rights, support Israel.”
“We stand here, Jews and non-Jews, from Israel and from across Europe, to protest the fact that here, in that building behind me, in the United Nations Human Rights Council, instead of doing what they’re supposed to do – they are encouraging murder, encouraging terror, encouraging injustice.
“And we are not willing to remain silent anymore,” Lapid said.
“That is not a council for Human Rights, that has become a council for Terrorist Rights,” he added.
Since its inception in 2006, the UNHRC has passed a total of 55 resolutions on other countries that violate human rights and 62 on Israel. That is seven resolutions more for Israel than the rest of the world, Lapid said.
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only ranked 49th in the number of casualties in conflicts across the world. But there is only one country – only one – which the rules of the Human Rights Council dictate has a special agenda item,” Lapid said.
He went on to list some of the human rights abuses around the world such as 400,000 people murdered in Syria and tens of thousands in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.
“Women are raped in Rwanda, Sudan and all across the Middle East,” Lapid said, but “the council condemns Israel.
“Why? Because they no longer even try to conceal their support for the terrorism of Hamas, of Hezbollah and of the knife attackers in our streets. Because they no longer even pretend to be objective.
Because they no longer even try to hide the fact that they are anti-Israel, anti-Jews and anti-justice,” he said.
“The treatment of Israel by the council is far beyond bias. It’s obsessive. It’s insanity,” he added.
Lapid called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and democratic countries to take a stand against the UNHRC’s “moral distortion,” and told the rally goers that he asked the US Congress to make UN funding dependent on ending discrimination against Israel at the UNHRC. Some 22% of the UNHRC funding comes from the US.
“I call upon the members of the United States Congress – the US is the largest funder of the United Nations – why do you allow American money to be used by an organization which continually provides encouragement for fundamentalist Islamic terror?”