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Cuomo: ‘world Has Lost Its Sense of Shame’ in Assailing Israel

November 19, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Governor-elect Mario Cuomo told a State of Israel Bond audience here last night that “it appears the world has lost its sense of shame” when it measures Israel “by standards too harsh to be used against others.”

Cuomo addressed some 400 labor, government, business and communal leaders at a testimonial dinner at the Sheraton Centre in honor of Morton Bahr, vice president of the Communication Workers of America. More than $1 million in Israel Bond sales was produced at the dinner in support of Israel’s economic development.

The Governor-elect decried the fact that “indignation is heaped upon Israel while Cambodia commits auto-genocide … punishments are demanded of Israel while a self-proclaimed emperor in Africa willfully decimates his people … Israel is threatened with expulsion from the United Nations while the ayatollahs send children into mine fields.

“This is not to say that Israel is not capable of imperfection,” he said. “It is just that in judging her we appear too quick to remember the imperfection and to forget the virtue.”


Cuomo pointed out that “even in the midst of a mortal struggle for survival, Israel has not permitted compassion to become a casualty. In the wake of Sabra and Shatila, Israel weeps for the children of her enemies; 400,000 Israeli Jews filled the streets of Tel Aviv to demand that inquiry be made lest there be found the taint of passive complicity. Israel is plumbing the depths of her national soul even though it is certain beyond a doubt that no Jewish hand fired a weapon and no Jewish throat issued an order to kill.”

Cuomo affirmed that he had come “to repeat my support for Israel,” which he called “a nation which is a friend of this nation, a place and a people tied to us by blood, by heritage and by common need.”

“Has there ever been a nation which has so passionately yearned for peace as Israel has?” he asked. “And has there ever been a nation which has been denied peace as Israel has?”

Cuomo said that while Israel had come into existence as “an act of justice,” it was “only after the Jewish civilization in Europe was reduced to ashes (that) justice was allowed to happen. Israel was a response to the world’s inadvertence, its shame,” he said. “We should see all of history when we make our judgments.”

At the dinner, Bahr was presented the State of Israel Menorah Award by Raymond Corbett, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, for his “dedicated and inspiring leadership in the efforts to foster Israel’s growth and progress through the Israel Bond program.”

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