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January 28, 2019 5:29 pm

After Holocaust Commemoration at UN, ‘It’s Time for Member States to Take Stand Against Iran’s Threats,’ Says Israeli Envoy Danny Danon

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Interview

Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon addresses the Security Council, Dec. 19, 2018. Photo: Israeli UN Mission.

After Iran marked International Holocaust Memorial Day by once again threatening the Jewish state with a war of “elimination,” Israel’s United Nations envoy said on Monday he “expected more” from the UN’s member states when it came to condemning the Tehran regime’s rhetoric.

Asked in an interview with The Algemeiner whether the UN was sufficiently aware of the antisemitism underpinning Iran’s statements about Israel, Ambassador Danny Danon highlighted the importance of individual countries speaking out.

“I don’t think you can generalize and say ‘the UN,'” Danon remarked. “You have different organs, you have the member states, you have the secretariat.” He emphasized that in his speech at a special UN General Assembly session marking Holocaust Memorial Day earlier on Monday, he had been speaking “mainly to the member states, because I expect more from them.”

“I expect them to speak out loud when they hear Iran’s leaders threatening Israel, when they see the writing that threatens Israel with destruction on Iran’s missiles,” Danon said. “I think it is about time that all member states take a stand against Iran.”

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Danon noted that in his remarks to the General Assembly, he had spoken of the importance of learning the lessons of the Holocaust. “We cannot forget what the Holocaust was all about,” he stated. “That’s why in my speech, I said that we can learn the lessons, but we should not compare the Holocaust to any other genocides, or any other problems we are facing today. It’s important for people to learn from the Holocaust without comparing the Holocaust to today’s reality.”

This week, Danon leaves for Poland at the head of a delegation of more than 30 UN ambassadors. After visiting the Nazi extermination camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek, the ambassadors will travel on to Israel “to experience for themselves the reality and the challenges,” Danon said.

“We will go to the north, to see the threat from Lebanon, the tunnels dug by Hezbollah, and the ambassadors will have a great opportunity to learn what it is we are dealing with,” Danon explained. “It makes a huge difference when you are there, compared to just hearing about it at the Security Council or in the General Assembly.”

Danon said he was confident that the trip would leave his UN colleagues with a better understanding of Israel’s security concerns.

“Most of the time when I speak at the UN, I talk about our right to self-defense, our right to defend our borders and our people,” Danon said. “And I think that once you experience that reality, when leaders or nations which threaten to annihilate the Jewish people come along, you don’t ignore them.”

Danon noted that developments in Syria were being watched carefully at the UN. “Everybody is wondering why the Iranians are sending more personnel and more funding into Syria, when we understand that ISIS is being defeated,” he commented. “Why then are the Iranians sending thousands of troops and militias and hundreds of millions of dollars?”

Most of the ambassadors accompanying Danon are representatives of UN member states with an interest in both sustainable development and “in finding solutions in Israel,” he said.

“You will not find any Arab countries among the group, unfortunately,” Danon added. “But maybe that day will come soon too.”

Danon continues to see the UN as a platform to boost Israel’s visibility in world affairs, beyond the various conflicts in the Middle East. On Sunday, Israel joined the US, Canada and other democratic countries in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela over current regime leader Nicolas Maduro.

“Unfortunately, we do not have diplomatic relations with Venezuela, and we saw the regime attacking Israel at the UN and joining with Iran and other notorious players in the international arena,” Danon said, when asked about Israel’s stance on the crisis-torn Latin American country. “We welcome a change, we think change will be good for Venezuela, it will be good for the region, and hopefully it will be good for Israel, so we can re-establish our relationship with that important country.”

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