Herzog: UN Vote Recalls Kristallnacht of November 10, 1938
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Herzog: UN Vote Recalls Kristallnacht of November 10, 1938

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"It is symbolic that this debate, which may well prove to be a turning point in the fortunes of the United Nations and a decisive factor as to the possible continued existence of this organization should take place on November 10th. Tonight 37 years ago has gone down in history as Kristallnacht or the Night of the Crystals. This was the night on Nov. 10, 1938 when Hitler’s Nazi storm troopers launched a coordinated attack on the Jewish community in Germany…It was the night which led to the most terrifying holocaust in the history of man."

This link with the infamous Kristallnacht was made by Israel’s Ambassador Chaim Herzog yesterday just prior to the vote in the General Assembly on the resolution which termed Zionism "a form of racism and racial discrimination." The resolution was adopted after a four-and-a-half-hour debate by a vote of 72-35 with 32 abstentions.


Herzog in a speech that traced the history of Zionism concluded by angrily tearing up the resolution, after declaring that "for us, the Jewish People, this resolution based on haired falsehood, and arrogance, is devoid of any legal value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper and we shall treat it as such." He was roundly applauded.

Earlier Herzog told the General Assembly delegates that "I stand not here as a supplicant Vote as your moral conscience dictates to you. For the issue is not Israel or Zionism. The issue is the continued existence of this organization which has been dragged to its lowest point of discredit by a coalition of despotisms and racists."

Herzog added that "For us the Jewish people, this is but a passing episode in a rich and event-filled history. We put our trust in our Providence, in our faith and beliefs, in our time-hallowed traditions, and in our people wherever they may be."

In his speech Herzog noted that it was fitting "that the United Nations, which began its life as an anti-Nazi alliance should 30 years later find itself on its way to becoming the world center of anti-Semitism. Hitler would have felt at home on a number of occasions during the past year, listening to the proceedings in this forum, and above all to the proceedings during the debate on Zionism."


Herzog after contrasting the freedom Arabs enjoy in Israel with the discrimination against Jews in Arab countries, declared:

"We are being attacked by a society which is motivated by the most extreme form of racism known in the world today…Look at the tragic fate of the Kurds of Iraq. Look what happened to the Black population in southern Sudan. Look at the dire peril in which an entire community of Christians finds itself in Lebanon. Look at the avowed policy of the PLO which calls in its Palestine Covenant for the destruction of the State of Israel which denies any form of compromise on the Palestine issue and which, in the words of its representative only the other day in this building considers Tel Aviv to be occupied territory."


The vote yesterday found 29 countries switching their vote on the anti-Zionist resolution from the 70-29 vote with 27 abstentions which the General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted on Oct. 17, Among those voting in favor of the resolution yesterday were Gambia, Grenada and Rwanda who earlier had abstained, and Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Maldives, Sao Tome, who were registered us not voting in the Third Committee.

Among those opposed yesterday were Fiji, Honduras, Malawai and Swaziland, who had earlier abstained; and the Central African Republic. El Salvador and Panama, who had not voted in the Third Committee.

Among the countries that abstained yesterday were Burma, Chile, Gabon, Mauritius, who voted in favor Oct. 17; Ecuador, who had opposed the resolution; Argentina, Bhutan, Bolivia, Greece, Guatemala, Paraguay, Thailand, Trinidad-Tobago, all of whom did not vote in the Third Committee. Rumania, which had abstained on Oct. 17, and Spain, which voted for the resolution, did not vote yesterday.

David Wilson, the Liberian representative, in opposing the resolution yesterday, noted that he had not heard one word in the General Assembly or the Third Committee explaining what makes Zionism racist, He also deplored the fact that the debate on Zionism caused the delegates to obscure the argument against apartheid.

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