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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Syrian blood libel at UN Human Rights Council

On Wednesday at the UN's Human Rights Council meeting, Syrian diplomat Rania Al Rifaiy declared: “ Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: ‘With my teeth, I will rip your flesh with my mouth I will suck your blood.’ ”      
Are you sure you understand the Middle East? // Mark Finkelstein,
American Jewish Committee's  UN Watch Testifies Against Syrian Blood Libel at UN Human Rights Council

June 9, 2010 – Geneva – Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, AJC’s affiliate in Geneva, testified today before the UN Human Rights Council on Syria’s grotesque accusation against Israel that was presented to the Council yesterday.

The full text of the UN Watch statement follows:

Mr. President, we had prepared a speech on violations the world over.  Instead, I am obliged to address a human rights violation that occurred here, in this chamber.

I am referring to remarks that violate the anti-racism prohibition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I am referring to the Syrian statement falsely accusing Israel of being a state that is not only “built on hatred…and a paranoid feeling of superiority,” but also one that glorifies the “ripping of flesh” and the “sucking of blood.”

Mr. President, this crude and coded language echoes the libel voiced by Syria on 8 February 1991 at the Human Rights Commission, when its delegate accused Jews of killing Christians to use their blood, whereupon she cited the book “Matza of Zion” by former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas. That speech was condemned at the time by 29 countries.

We remind Syria that the EUMC working definition of Anti-Semitism includes, “Using the symbols and images associated with classic Anti-Semitism, e.g. [the] blood libel, to characterize Israel or Israelis.”

Mr. President, yesterday’s patently false and hateful remarks are historical incitements to prejudice and violence. They have no place in the United Nations, and we call on all stakeholders to condemn them.

Sadly, these words did not arise in a vacuum. For last week, during this council’s urgent debate on the flotilla, we heard similar motifs as Israel was speciously depicted as an attacker of innocent humanitarians—when in truth it was defending itself from violent Jihadists bent on martyrdom.

Once again, Israel was singled out by those seeking to delegitimize it. A resolution was adopted condemning Israel, creating yet another investigation where the guilty verdict was declared in advance.

Tellingly, many accused the Jewish state of being “inhuman,” including Pakistan for the OIC, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Nicaragua.

Mr. President, word is father to deed. History teaches that when nations turn to dehumanization and demonization, the world remains silent at its peril. 

Thank you, Mr. President.

AJC source: