Editor’s note: The keynote speech below was delivered by Brigitte Gabriel at the United Nations on September 8, 2014 during a symposium on Global Anti-Semitism: A Threat To International Peace And Security.
Ladies and Gentleman,
It is an honor and privilege to be here today speaking in defense of Jews worldwide and against the evils of anti-Semitism. As you notice, I am wearing a Star of David. This necklace was given to me during a book signing in Dallas, TX by a man who lost his beloved wife in a tragic crash. He said to me crying,
“This necklace was my wife’s favorite, she died wearing it. She considered you her hero for your stand for the Jewish people. I want you to have it. Promise me you’ll wear it.”
I couldn’t find a more befitting time to honor her, than now — wearing this Star of David as a Lebanese giving a keynote speech at the United Nation in defense of the Jewish people.
We are here to address the rise of global anti-Semitism.
Ten years ago, Natan Sharansky explained:
“[C]lassical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, ‘new anti-Semitism’ is aimed at the Jewish state.”
Mr. Sharansky devised what he called the “3D test.” The three Ds are “demonization,” “double standards” and “delegitimization.”
“Demonization” is making bizarre, ugly claims that have no basis in reality. Comparisons between Israel and the Nazis, or assertions that Israel has been committing “genocide” against the Palestinians are examples of “demonization.” Such claims are nonsense. If Israel has been committing “genocide” against the Palestinians, then why has the population of Palestinians increased more than 600% since 1948? Israel must be the most incompetent mass murderer in the history of the world.
When Israel is held to a standard that no other country in the world would be expected to meet, that double standard is itself anti-Semitism. For instance, Israel is a vibrant democracy where human rights are protected and respected. And yet the United Nations’ so-called Human Rights Commission spends most of its time and effort investigating and condemning Israel, while they gloss over or ignore the massive and continuing human rights violations that occur in Iran, Cuba, China and many other brutal repressive autocracies.
Delegitimization of Israel is to assert that, of all the peoples in the world, only the Jewish people do not have a right to statehood. In fact, Israel’s historical, legal and moral right to exist as a Jewish State is a codified principle of international law. This codification is explicitly based on the long, continuous and well-documented connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel. To deny the connection of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is anti-Semitism in its purest form.
But why should anti-Semitism matter to the rest of the world? It should — not merely because it’s morally repugnant, which it most definitely is.
The world should care about anti-Semitism because of fundamental self-preservation.
The stark truth is that the world stands at the edge of a deep, dark precipice. At the bottom lurks another Holocaust that has already begun. This time the genocide is not only against the Jews. The so-called “Islamic State” has made it abundantly clear it can be committed against non Jews. ISIS is persecuting and killing members of every religious, ethnic and nationalist community it encounters.
ISIS is slaughtering Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Kurds, Druze, and Yazidis.
ISIS floods the Internet with stomach-churning images and videos of mass executions, severed heads and crucifixions. We see children slaughtered in front of their parents, and parents in front of their children. This viciousness is part of a calculated strategy explicitly intended to terrorize anyone and everyone who does not submit to their version of Islam.
ISIS has officially declared its intent to rule the world. Their founding document, the declaration of their caliphate, bears the modest title of [Arabic], “This Is The Promise of God.” They declare that God promised to Muslims, quote, “leadership of the world and mastership of the earth.” End quote.
Their declaration of a world-wide caliphate reveals their governing philosophy:
“By Allah, if you disbelieve in democracy, secularism, nationalism, as well as all the other garbage and ideas from the west, and rush to your religion and creed, then by Allah, you will own the earth, and the east and west will submit to you.”
Remember, ladies and gentlemen, savagery is not merely their strategy. It is an article of their faith. They commit genocide in the name of Allah.
Israel has been familiar with the concept, and the reality, of genocide in the name of Allah for a long time. The war that ISIS has declared on the world is the same as the war that Hamas has been waging against Israel for decades. The only difference, again, is focus. ISIS seeks a world-wide caliphate. Hamas is focused on the destruction of Israel.
However, their motivation, methods, and morals are the same.
In terms of brutal methods and lack of morals, ISIS has recently shot, hacked and killed its way to the top of the world’s terrorist organizations. Meanwhile Hamas has been committing mind-numbing mass atrocities for decades. They use to wrap their children in dynamite and nails, and send them to blow up Israeli buses and restaurants. They rejoiced at the death of Israeli children, and glorified the death of their own. Today they use them as human shields
I know something about children being used as human shields. In 1976 when I was 11 years old, Palestinians in South Lebanon used me and my family as human shields. They employed exactly the same technique that Hamas uses in Gaza today. They set up artillery or rocket launchers in front of my bomb shelter and fired a barrage towards Israel. They would pack up and run as quickly as possible, leaving my family to the devastation of return fire.
Today, Hamas hides behind human shields on a much larger scale. Hamas routinely uses schools, mosques, hospitals and other civilian locations for weapons storage, missile launch sites, and other military purposes. They fire rockets and mortars from these places with the explicit intention of drawing return fire from the Israelis, hoping that will produce photogenic civilian corpses for display in the media.
Hamas and ISIS share a common motivation. They want to impose Islam. This is in the charter of Hamas as it is in ISIS’s declaration of the “caliphate.” The charter of Hamas declares that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”
The most revealing words in the Charter of Hamas are a quotation from Islamic scripture:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” [Hadith of Sahih Muslim, BOOK 41].
But Hamas has a problem.
In Israel, Jews don’t hide behind stones or trees. They stand up and defend themselves. Israelis have learned from history that if someone repeatedly says they’re going to kill you, they mean it. A lesson the world is only now learning.
Seventy years ago the world stood by as the Jews of Europe went up the chimneys. Today, the Jews of Israel aren’t going to go quietly to the slaughter as they sit on the front line of fighting for Western civilization. Those who seek to exterminate the Jews are not going to stop with the Jews. That should have been the lesson of the Holocaust. That must be the lesson of the rise of ISIS.
Once the intentional mass murder of innocent civilians was legitimized against Israel, it was legitimized everywhere, constrained by nothing more than the strong-held beliefs of those who would become the mass murderers. Because the Palestinians were encouraged by most of the world to believe that the murder of innocent Israeli civilians is a legitimate tactic to advance the Palestinian nationalist cause, the Islamists believe that they may commit mass murder anywhere in the world to advance their holy cause. As a result, we suffer from a plague of Islamic terrorism, from Moscow to Madrid, from Bali to Beslan, from Nairobi to New York, authored and perfected by the Palestinians. Israel and the United States are not separate targets of Islamic terrorism. The whole world is their target.
Evil dwells when courageous men become bystanders. Lies spread when the informed become silent. Society deteriorates when apathy replaces activism. Tyranny comes when leaders become mediocre and haters become organized.
Today we are summoned to lead in our communities and our nations. We are summoned to wake up the apathetic and inspire the despaired, to silence the liars and educate the concerned, to speak tolerance instead of resentment, forgiveness instead of revenge, love instead of hate, and peace instead of war. We are here at the United Nations today because each one of us is a leader and an instrument of change with history as our final judge.
I, as the leader of ACT! for America.org, the largest national security organization in America with chapters in 11 countries around the world, am committed to do whatever possible to stand up with the Jewish people and defend them.
The civilized world must band together in solidarity to ensure that people of all faiths can live in peace and harmony and that Jews are never persecuted and victimized by barbaric, murderous ideologies ever again. That Jews can walk in any street in the world with their head held high and safe. That Israel, the Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East, continues to shine as a beacon of light in the darkest region in the world.