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December 15, 2014 8:38 am

UN Official Slams Iran’s Calls for Genocide Against Israel

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avatar by Mark Langfan

UN headquarters in New York. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On Tuesday, December 9, Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Prevention of Genocide emphatically stated that Iran’s genocidal threats to “wipe Israel off the earth” are “totally unacceptable.” Mr. Dieng was at the UN’s headquarters in New York to commemorate the Anniversary of the Genocide Convention that was first adopted on December 9, 1948. Carmen Maria Rodriguez of Radio Marti asked the question that sparked Mr. Dieng’s direct censure of Iran’s recent calls for Israel’s annihilation.

Mr. Dieng went on to elaborate that not only are Iran’s genocidal threats to wipe Israel off the map “totally unacceptable,” but also that “Israel is a state, and has the right to exist as a state, and its security has also to be protected.” The utter simplicity and truth of Mr. Dieng’s statements is a rare commodity in the diplo-speak of the United Nations.

Mr. Dieng proceeded further to explain that Raphael Lemkin was a Polish Jewish lawyer who first coined the term Genocide and fought against Genocide.

Lemkin singlehandedly lobbied the 51 nations that made up the United Nations at that time for a UN Convention against Genocide. It was his work that brought forth this document, which is the basis for the international criminal tribunals that have and are prosecuting the crimes committed in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia, as well as for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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Mr. Lemkin had studied and helped expose the Turkish Genocide against the Armenians in World War I. However, after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, Mr. Lemkin fought against the Nazis and escaped the Holocaust to America in 1941. He coined and first used the term “Genocide” in his work, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation – Analysis of Government – Proposals for Redress (1944), and defined it as “the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group.” The term “Genocide” is derived from the rooted words genos (Greek for family, tribe, or race) and -cide (Latin for killing).

While Mr. Lemkin managed to escape to the United States, he lost 49 relatives in the Holocaust. More than 3 million Polish and Lithuanian Jews were murdered during the German occupation of Poland and what was then the Western Soviet Union. Lemkin’s brother, Elias, and his wife and two sons were his only family to survive the Nazi mass-murder. They were “saved” by having been sent to a Soviet forced labor camp. In 1948, after the war, Lemkin successfully aided his brother and family in emigrating to Montreal, Canada.

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