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Expressing Sense of House Regarding Manifestations of Anti-Semitism by United Nations Member States

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Location: Washington, DC


EXPRESSING SENSE OF HOUSE REGARDING MANIFESTATIONS OF ANTI-SEMITISM BY UNITED NATIONS MEMBER STATES -- (House of Representatives - June 07, 2005)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 282) expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding manifestations of anti-Semitism by United Nations member states and urging action against anti-Semitism by United Nations officials, United Nations member states, and the Government of the United States, and for other purposes.

The Clerk read as follows:

H. Res. 282

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from Florida?

There was no objection.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would like to thank the leadership, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), chairman of the Committee on International Relations, as well as the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos), our wonderful ranking member, for their efforts in bringing to the floor House Resolution 282.

The resolution, Madam Speaker, expresses the sense of the House of Representatives regarding manifestations of anti-Semitism by United Nations member states and urges action against anti-Semitism by United Nations officials, United Nations member states, and the government of the United States, and for other purposes.

My utmost appreciation goes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos), the ranking member of the Committee on International Relations, for his work on this resolution, for his commitment to combating the scourge of anti-Semitism, and for being an example of courage in the face of the most deplorable anti-Semitic acts. I thank the gentleman from California.

As we prepare to consider U.N. reform legislation, Madam Speaker, before the full Committee on International Relations tomorrow, the discussion of this measure is timely and it illustrates an important component of our multilateral strategies. For far too long, the United Nations has permitted itself to be used as a battleground for political warfare against Israel led by Arab states and others. Six of the 10 emergency sessions of the United Nations General Assembly have been devoted to criticisms of and attacks against Israel.

During the 1991 session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, for example, the Syrian representative to the U.N. repeated the outrageous blood libel that Jews have killed Christian and other non-Jewish children to use their blood to make Matzoth.

In 1997, another terrible example, the Palestinian observer at the Human Rights Commission charged that the Israeli government had injected 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus. This baseless charge was not challenged by the president of the Human Rights Commission or any other U.N. official.

Another example, the goals of the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism were undermined by hateful anti-Jewish rhetoric and anti-Israel political agendas, prompting both Israel and the United States to withdraw their delegations from the conference.

While recent efforts have been made to address this problem, Madam Speaker, such as the U.N.-sponsored conference on anti-Semitism or the session earlier this year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, much more needs to be done.

In response, the resolution before us, Madam Speaker, calls for the United Nations to officially and publicly condemn anti-Semitic statements in all U.N. meetings and hold accountable member states who make such statements.

It calls for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations, known as UNESCO, to develop and implement Holocaust education programs throughout the world as part of an effort to combat the rise in anti-Semitism.

Further, Madam Speaker, it calls for the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to continue working toward further reduction of anti-Semitic language and anti-Israel resolutions.

House Resolution 282 requests the Secretary of State to include in the Department of State's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and annual Report on International Religious Freedom information on activities regarding anti-Semitism at U.N. bodies by each of the countries included in these reports; and, further, it requests that projects under the Middle East Partnership Initiative and that U.S. overseas broadcasts include programs that educate Arab and Muslim countries about fighting anti-Semitism, about fighting religious intolerance and fighting incitement to violence.

As we have witnessed, historically and in today's world, such charged rhetoric as anti-Semitism invites violent action. There must, therefore, be renewed vigilance against purveyors of anti-Semitism, and the United Nations must be an integral component of any comprehensive strategy. It must help build a culture of tolerance. The United Nations must hold countries and their representatives accountable. It must make hateful rhetoric and incitement politically and culturally unacceptable, instead of offering an environment that enables the proliferation of anti-Semitism.

As was noted in a meeting last month with Natan Sharansky, strong U.S. leadership in placing human rights front and center on the diplomatic agenda has the potential to bring about dramatic political and social change. We must be willing to take a similar stance regarding anti-Semitism at the United Nations.

Let us begin by rendering our unequivocal support to this resolution and send a clear message to the United Nations and to its member countries that we are resolute in our commitment to fighting this evil.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to thank our wonderful friend, the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos), for his leadership on this resolution, as well as the chairman, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde). I urge all of our colleagues to adopt this resolution today.

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