US official: World must prevent new Holocaust

US congressman says he could "not even have imagined" that within the UN there would be some who would attempt to de-legitimatize Israel.

Lantos 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Lantos 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
US congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Lantos (D-CA), blasted those members of the United Nations who he said were trying to de-legitimatize Israel. "Two generations after the Holocaust, I never thought - I could not even have imagined - that within the structure of the United Nations there would be some who would attempt to de-legitimatize the Jewish State, the State of Israel, founded and built by the remnants of European Jewry and by the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab lands," read Lantos's International Holocaust Remembrance Day speech. In the speech, delivered in the UN Monday night on Lantos's behalf by his daughter Dr. Katrina Lantos-Swett, the congressman said that it was the responsibility of the entire international community to prevent another Holocaust and to keep the memory of those who perished alive as Israel faces constant threats to its survival. "Just as an earlier dictator pledged to destroy the Jews of Europe, so a new one is threatening to destroy the Jewish State," he said. Lantos lamented the fact that the UN chamber was too often the setting for "shameless invective against Israel," adding that he was "deeply grateful for the numerous principled statesmen of many lands who regularly stand up against this outrage." He went on to say that this point was highlighted in the Durban anti-Racism conference the weekend before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. "The United Nations was holding a conference meant to put an end to racism, a noble goal if ever there was one, but the occasion was hijacked by hate-filled and venomous leaders who perverted the noble idea of ending racism, and turned the conference into a lynch mob against Israel. "As the situation galloped toward the surreal and the gathering veered away from its intended topics of ethnic violence, racism or slavery in many countries and toward condemnation of the one democratic state in the Middle East, it was sadly evident to me that this potentially history-making conference was becoming a travesty," continued Lantos's speech. The congressman, whose mother was killed in Auschwitz, said that having experienced the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand, the Durban conference was the "most sickening and unabashed" display of hate for Jews he had seen since the Nazi period. Lantos paid tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, whom he said his father owed his life to for rescuing him and other Jews during the Nazi occupation of Budapest. "He had little in common with them: he was a Lutheran, they were Jewish; he was a Swede, they were Hungarians. And yet with inspired courage and creativity he saved the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children by placing them under the protection of the Swedish crown," he said.