Update – 28 September 2012

Posted by Emily Gian on 28 September 2012 at 2:07pm:

Dear All,
On Monday, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the UN Assembly in a high level meeting on the rule of law. Having walked out in protest, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nation’s Ron Prosor made the perfect analogy when he declared, “the leader of a lawless country that repeatedly violates the basic principles of rule of law has no place in this hall. It is an absolute disgrace that this kind of man is given a voice on such an important issue. Allowing Ahmadinejad to speak at the UN about rule of law is like appointing a pyromaniac to the post of fire services commander” (see more).

In what has become a norm for Israel’s enemies, Ahmadinejad declared that “they [Israel] have no roots there in history. They do not even enter the equation for Iran”.

Then on Wednesday, as Jews all over the world sat in synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, this tyrant addressed the United Nations General Assembly, where he was once again given a platform for his repulsive views. The United States and Canada did not attend. Erin Pelton, a spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations issued a statement declaring, “over the past couple of days, we’ve seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the UN not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel. It’s particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the UN General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend” (see more).

As he opened, Ahmadinejad declared that he represents “a conscious nation which is dedicated to the cause of freedom, peace and compassion”. It’s a bold statement to make coming from the leader of a country that sponsors terror all around the world. He also asks his audience to imagine that many of the tragedies of the world, from ancient times until today had not happened, including “the occupation of Palestine and imposition of a fake government” and “had the Security Council not been under the domination of a limited number of governments, thus disabling the United Nations to carry out its responsibilities on a just and equitable basis… imagine how beautiful and pleasant our lives and how lovely the history of mankind would have been” (see more).  Again he ignores how complicit he has been in making this world a far less lovely place to live in.

He then declared that the “arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass-destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent… Continue threat by the uncivilised Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality”. He finishes this rant by declaring that “no one feels secure or safe even those who have stockpiled thousands of atomic bombs and other arms in their arsenals”. It would comical of these words were being spouted in some sort of satire our television screens and not by of one of the world’s most dangerous men in the halls of what should be one of the world’s most powerful organisations.

Then yesterday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was given the floor. In his time, he referred to the “campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people”, which he did last year at the UN as well.

As with Ahmadinejad, sometimes it is hard to take this man seriously. For example, he talks about the “inherent by-product of the racist climate fuelled by a culture of incitement in the Israeli curriculum and extremist declarations”. This is coming from a man whose state-controlled television, education system and religious sermons are full of hate and incitement to violence. One only needs to visit Palestinian Media Watch on any given day to see something new from the PA depicting Israel as a snake (which is this week’s rant), of Jews as pigs and monkeys and other revolting images. And let us not forget the constant glorification of terrorists.

Determined to prove to his audience that all he wants is peace with the Israelis, Abbas declared that in his view the Israeli Government rejects the two-state solution, and stated “the recent years have actually witnessed the systematic acceleration and intensification of Israeli measures aimed at emptying the Oslo Accords of their meaning”. This is an interesting statement to make coming from a man whose colleagues were meeting just a few weeks ago to discuss the possibility of cancelling the Oslo Accords (see more). Even the very first promise that Yasser Arafat made in his letter of recognition preceding the signing of the Oslo Accords, which was to change the articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist, was never carried out. Which makes Abbas’ next statement that “we are as committed to peace and international legitimacy and its covenants and its resolutions as we are adherent to our inalienable national rights and aspirations, and we reaffirm that we are committed to non-violence and reject terrorism in all its forms”. Right.

With just a speaker between them, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opportunity to speak came next. (Read the transcript or watch the video)

Netanyahu’s goal was to highlight the dangers of a nuclear Iran. He pointed out a number of actions by Iran, which they have been able to do without nuclear weapons in order to highlight how bad it could be. His examples included:

“In 2009, they brutally put down mass protests for democracy in their own country. Today their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children, directly participating in this murder… They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut in Saudi Arabia. They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies. In the last year, they’ve spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They’ve even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat.”

And so Netanyahu asks, “given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs”.

Netanyahu also pointed out that deterrence worked with the Soviets during the Cold War “because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose survival”. Netanyahu is not convinced that the idea of mutually assured destruction, which for the most part restricted the Cold War from becoming “hot”, is a deterrent for Iran, and quoted Professor Bernard Lewis who had said that it is not a deterrent, “it’s an inducement”.

Netanyahu talked about red lines and about how drawing red lines in the past had avoided disaster. He then produced a diagram which set of the internet and in particular social media about the three stages Iran needs to go through in order to produce a bomb:

While Netanyahu may have had strong point to bring home, discussion has since turned to people spoofing the picture of Netanyahu holding the diagram, with one commentator pointing out the irony of Netanyahu discussing Israeli advances in technology and then bringing out a diagram that could have been drawn by a child.

The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri asked “was this a poor choice of a ridiculous-looking, over-simplified bomb cartoon, created decades before the invention of the Internet by someone who had limited understanding of bombs? Or was it a calculated choice of a ridiculous-looking, over-simplified picture, created decades before the invention of the internet by someone with a limited understanding of bombs – in order to create the one indelible image of the afternoon that everyone would be talking about?”

One can only hope it was the second of the two options, but either way, the cartoon certainly had everyone talking. Once the hype dies down and the spoofs stop, I would like to think that the world would start to take the points Netanyahu was making seriously, before it is too late. As Netanyahu put it, “the relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb”.

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