Pakistan and UN Islamic Bloc Slam Holocaust Survivors; UN Watch and NGO Coalition Protests

UN Human Rights Council, Sept. 25, 2007

Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC): “In many instances Holocaust survivors, instead of promoting . . . harmony, are campaigning against Muslim symbols in the Western world. They should be the most ardent advocates against discrimination. Islamophobia is also a cruel form of Anti-Semitism.” Click to Read PDF of Full Speech (ed. note: text is dated Sept. 21 2007 but was actually delivered on Sept. 25, 2007)

Algeria: “. . . a worrying upswing in Antisemitism which now targets Arabs and is extended by oversimplification to all Muslims.”

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Joint NGO Response

Sept. 28, 2007

His Excellency Ambassador Masood Khan
Organization of the Islamic Conference
Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Ambassador Khan,

We, the undersigned human rights groups and non-governmental organizations, write to express our grave concern over certain remarks that you delivered before the UN Human Rights Council this past Tuesday, 25 September 2007, which offend Holocaust survivors around the world and harm the cause of equality and human rights for all.

In your statement on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, you addressed the issue of “Defamation of Religions.” As representatives of civil society, we express our firm condemnation of all violations of freedom of religion. We strongly support universal respect for citizens of all faiths without discrimination.

We therefore can neither comprehend nor accept your unprecedented remarks which effectively accuse Holocaust survivors of practicing discrimination and promoting disharmony. In addressing accomodation for Muslims in the Western world and the potential for political and social harmony, you said that “in many instances Holocaust survivors, instead of promoting such harmony, are campaigning against Muslim symbols in the Western world. They should be the most ardent advocates against discrimination. Islamophobia is also a cruel form of Anti-Semitism.”

We are unaware of any such “campaigning” by Holocaust survivors. Moreover, even if it were true that individuals were engaged in such an alleged effort, it would constitute unjustifiable stereotyping to label an entire group — particularly surivors of a genocide — on the basis of the alleged actions of a few.

We believe that Holocaust survivors, elderly men and women who are often frail and suffering from illness, are deserving of our sympathy and respect, not denigration in a speech at the United Nations.

We also regret that the baseless accusation of discrimination on the part of Holocaust survivors was compounded by remarks that effectively deny these and other victims of Antisemitism recognition of their particular form of suffering. Islamophobia, Christianophobia, and Antisemitism are the recognized terms for the hatred of Muslims, Christians and Jews. However, saying that Islamophobia is itself a “form of Anti-Semitism” only serves to corrode and confuse the very meaning and existence of Antisemitism, the term coined in the 1870’s by proto-Nazi Wilhelm Marr as a euphemism for the German Judenhass, or “Jew-hate”. Not only is it nonsensical to claim that groups other than Jews are the objects of Jew-hatred, but it has the pernicious effect of blurring the meaning and impact of any condemnation of Antisemitism. We are gravely concerned that this is not the first time that Pakistan has made such statements at the UN.

Once again, pursuant to the values of the UN Charter, we express our unqualified support for the respect of all religions, and opposition to discrimination of any kind.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration and respect.


Dr. Theodor Rathgeber
German Forum Human Rights

Angela C. Wu
International Law Director
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director
United Nations Watch

Roy W. Brown
Main Representative, UN Geneva
International Humanist and Ethical Union

Rabbi François Garaï
Chief Representative
World Union of Progressive Judaism

Rene Wadlow
Chief Representative to the UN Geneva
Association for World Education

Klaus Netter
B’nai B’rith International

Dr Francois Ullmann
Ingénieurs du Monde

Anatoly Kanunnikov
President of Social Ecology Foundation

1 Response to “Pakistan and UN Islamic Bloc Slam Holocaust Survivors; UN Watch and NGO Coalition Protests”

  • Forgive my intolerance; nevertheless, how short of a moral load can people be? When first hearing this atrocious and repugnant statement, I was angered; but then, when a cooler mind and soul prevailed, I thought of the messenger and the message. Much of the same old and old it is, anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol which has been disseminated by not solely, Islam but many… since time.
    This attack, however, on the survivors of The Holocaust is beyond vile or bilious in its intent. It, in my mind, is based on an inherent hatred that is nurtured with ignorance. Moreover, these purveyors of hatred dish this toxic hotchpotch to the collective, in this case, Islam: hence intolerance breeds more intolerance and ignorance.
    Let us be forthright, the denigration of Islam, in particular, would not ever be tolerated in the UN, nor should it; however, the outlandish defamation of Judaism and The Holocaust survivors is acceptable.
    Once again, the UN betrays its prejudicial mandate and its eventual objective – the undermining of Israel and more.
    Thank you for taking these hate mongers to task.

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