Ahmadinejad at the UN 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
I, Ron Prosor, stand before you today as the child of Uri Prosor, who fled Nazi
Germany when a Jewish state was still a dream – and the father of Lior, Tomer
and Oren Prosor, for whom that dream is a vivid reality.
I see many from
my father’s generation here today, some who survived death camps and death
marches; who saw the unimaginable and still had the hope to imagine a brighter
future; who endured the unspeakable and still had the courage to speak out for
others. I am honored – truly honored – to be in your presence.
I see some
from my children’s generation here. Today is about you. It is to you, and your
children, that we extend a sacred promise during this week of commemoration at
the United Nations.
Today I hear the voice of a 12-year-old girl named
Donia Rosen, who hid in the forests of Poland after the Nazis murdered her
entire family. She wrote in her diary on June 23, 1943: “I ask you not to forget
the dead. Establish a memorial to us... a statue not of marble and not of stone,
but of good deeds.”
Donia’s words echo in these halls of the United
Nations, which were built in the wake of the Holocaust. On this day of
commemoration, I say to my UN colleagues and to all the distinguished people
gathered here: the commitment of “Never Again” must be universal. It extends to
each and every one of you. And ladies and gentleman, we have much work to
In our world today, state-sponsored anti- Semitism persists, hate
fills children’s textbooks, and spiritual and religious leaders incite violence
We live in a world that saw the atrocities of Auschwitz and
Birkenau, only to have then witnessed the killing fields of Cambodia, the
genocide in Rwanda and the ongoing massacres in Darfur.
In this hall of
the General Assembly – at the very podium where I stand today – Iran’s Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad stands every year and shamelessly denies the Holocaust, while his
government threatens to carry out another one.
Our duty is clear. It is
not enough to be good. We must know what to do when we face evil. It is not
enough to know what we stand for, we must know what we stand against. It is not
enough to educate our own children about tolerance. We must lift the crippling
burden of hate from all children in the world.
This week we have heard
many powerful stories of children who lived during the Holocaust. One of
those children is Petr Ginz – a brilliant writer and an artist. He yearned to
explore the universe and discover its truths, drawing a landscape of the moon
well before man had laid eyes on it. I have a copy of the picture that he drew
in Terezín with me today. Let me hold it up for all of you to see.
I ask you to think of all the works of art that were never made, all the ideas
that were never known, and all the cures that were never found.
of destruction is incomprehensible. Look at one child, and multiply by a
million and a half. Look at a member of your own family and multiply by six
million. Just try to imagine! Yet, there is something even greater than that
unbearable loss: the Jewish people’s determination to endure and
We are a nation of survivors. The State of Israel is a living,
breathing symbol of survival.
And although Petr’s life was cut short in
the gas chambers of Auschwitz, his dreams have never died. A copy of his picture
traveled with the first Israeli astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, on his journey into
space on the Colombia shuttle – a mission that ended in tragedy.
depths of Auschwitz, to the outer reaches of space, to the halls of the United
Nations, the journey of Petr’s drawing embodies the resilience of our people. It
And on this day of commemoration, as a representative of the
Jewish state among the nations of the world, I am so proud to say: Am Yisrael
Chai! The People of Israel will live on.The writer is Israel’s
ambassador to the United Nations.