Novak: Terrorism is a New Way to Destroy Human Rights
Menu JTA Search

Novak: Terrorism is a New Way to Destroy Human Rights

Download PDF for this date

— Michael Novak, head of the United States delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, charged that terrorism is a “new and sophisticated way to destroy human rights. ” He pointed out that terrorists are trying to destroy human rights institutions by killing diplomats, judges and legislators.

Novak made his comments at an awards ceremony Tuesday sponsored by the American Jewish Forum (AJF) where he received the organization’s Medal of Freedom. The AJF is a group committed to conservative political views, including strong U.S. defense forces, a free market system, preservation of the family and opposition to racial quotas.

In his acceptance speech, Novak recounted the anti-Israel and anti-Zionist statements made by several nations at the U N Human Rights Commission’s annual meeting in Geneva last February. “You wonder what world you are in when you hear; again and again, that Zionism is the worst force of anti-Semitism. You hit your head and wonder if you heard it. But then you hear it again and again,” recalled Novak.


At the human rights meeting, Novak said, “Imagine my shock when I heard, as I did hear in this room, so much hatred, so many lies, such squalid racism, such despicable anti-Semitism–all in the sacred name of human rights.

” I have heard in this chamber attacks upon Zionism in accents of a murderous hatred not heard since the days of the Nazis. It is as though this chamber has retrogressed by 40 years–as though this is not 1981, but 1941, and not in Geneva, but along the Hitler-Stalin axis, “he added.

Novak said at the AJF meeting that his speech in Geneva was backed by the Reagan Administration. He added that he was not about to come back to the U.S. without voicing what he felt was the truth about human rights. He also pointed out that the U.S. was concerned that there should be no double standards at the Geneva meeting and that the role of institutions working for human rights be stressed.

CORRECTION: The first part of the series on The Jews of Hungary, in the April 13 issue of the Bulletin, stated that 10 percent of the Jews in Hungary reside in Budapest. It should have stated, correctly, 80 percent.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund