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Nethanyhu's speech: a quick summary

At UN, Benjamin Netanyahu challenged Holocaust deniers, fundamentalist Islam, and war crimes charges in Gaza.

By Middle East editor / September 24, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up plans for one of the Nazi concentration camps while addressing the 64th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on Thursday. In german at the top of the page reads "Kriegsgefangenenlager", which translates as "Prisoner of War camp".

Henny Ray Abrams/AP

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to directly challenge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations on Thursday.

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Waving minutes of a Nazi meeting on Jewish extermination and blueprints of the Auschwitz concentration camp, he staunchly defended Israel’s right to exist in peace. Invoking the courage of Winton Churchill, he sought to rouse to action the international body that had recognized that same right 62 years ago.

His three main points were – offered here as a summary, rather than an analysis:

1) The United Nations has a fundamental mission to prevent another disaster on the scale of the Holocaust. Nothing has undermined this mission more than the “systematic assault on the truth” and the UN must refuse to be a platform for such lies.

2) Iran is fueled by an “extreme fundamentalism” that is behind all modern Islamist terrorism and has pitted civilization against a dangerous barbarism. In contrast to Iran’s backwardness, Israel is an innovative global leader in numerous areas, including science and technology, agriculture and water, and energy and the environment.

3) The UN Human Rights Council’s recent condemnation of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza war, described in the Goldstone report, is based on a dangerous moral equivalency that would have turned Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt into war criminals.

Establishing the facts of the Holocaust
Mr. Netanyahu lambasted President Ahmadinejad’s bland denial of the Holocaust just a few days earlier and castigated those diplomats who stayed to listen to the Iranian leader speak at the UN Wednesday. Bolstering his argument with everything from historical documents in his hand to the very personal death of at least seven of his wife’s immediate relatives, he warned his listeners that Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic diatribes posed a threat far beyond Israel.

"What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! … History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others."

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