We have been witnessing ever greater violence worldwide – anti-Semitic attacks in Europe through 2015 so far, as well as anti-Christian attacks in the Middle East just this week. In response to these attacks on freedom and faith, Ron Prosor – Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations – had this to say to the U.N. General Assembly:
Seventy years ago, the roar of the guns fell quiet over Europe and the Second World War came to a close. Today as we mourn the human tragedy of this war, we must also recognize those who made victory possible and ensured that freedom triumphed over tyranny. We owe our freedom to the courage and sacrifices of the soldiers of the Allied armies.
I stand before you as a man who has seen and experienced war — as a soldier, a diplomat, and the father of children who themselves have been sent to war. I also speak to you today as the son of a man who fled Nazi Germany to escape the annihilation of his people …
Mr. President, today, we are here to confirm that the responsibility for preventing atrocities rests on our shoulders. Seventy years ago, with the ashes of World War II still smoldering, the victors of the war came together to establish the UN and ensure that “Never Again” will not be a hollow promise.
Today the values at the very heart of this institution are being threatened by extremist ideologies that target our way of life. From West Africa to the Middle East, extremists group have unleashed a plague of persecution believing that by silencing individuals, they can silence civilization.
The terrorists that stormed the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris attacked liberty – the right of every person to express him or herself. The terrorist that targeted Jews in Paris and Copenhagen attacked equality – the idea that every person, no matter his faith, is equal. By aiming their attacks at innocent civilians, the terrorists also attacked brotherhood – the bonds of our shared humanity.
Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen – freedom is under attack throughout the world. A war is being waged against human dignity and human rights, and we must fight back. Standing united with courage and conviction we can turn back the tide of violent extremism and safeguard the values that we cherish.
Peace and security is also threatened by Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism. The radical theocracy is working tirelessly to advance its nuclear capabilities, while explicitly threatening to “eradicate Israel from the face of the earth.”
But, let me be perfectly clear – what is at stake is not just the security of Israel; it is the security and stability of the entire world …
From this Assembly I issue a warning to the world – do not close your eyes to the atrocities around you; do not turn away from the animosity that ensues. It is your responsibility to speak out against hatred clearly and unequivocally.
Equip the next generation with words and not weapons. Arm them with ideas and not radical ideologies. Teach them tolerance and not terrorism. War is not inevitable. It is not a force of nature nor is it part of human nature. It can be prevented. But only if we stand together to denounce indifference and defend peace.
I would like to finish with a quote from General Douglas Macarthur, the Supreme Allied Commander of South-West Pacific who said – and I quote:
“It is my earnest hope — indeed the hope of all mankind — that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world found upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”
Mr. President, the duty rests upon us. If we wish our children to live in a world built on freedom, tolerance, and justice — then we must stand united to defend those values.