Ahmadinejad is working to build hatred against Israel, hatred against Israelis, while at the same time building his own power in order to destroy Israel.
Address by FM Livni to International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism (24 Feb 2008):
Talking about states as actors, Iran is the perfect example of a state which denies the Holocaust, while simultaneously trying to achieve a weapon that will perhaps promote another one – this while being a member of the United Nations. I believe that this is unacceptable. Those who want to be part of the international community, to be members of the United Nations, an organization that was created and established after the Second World War, cannot be members of this organization while talking in terms of denial of the Holocaust.
Address by MFA Director-General Aaron Abramovich to International Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism (24 Feb 2008):
When we deal with antisemitism today, when we see the situation around us in the international community and try to analyze the situation, a good place to start looking is Iran. Iran has become a source of hatred against Israel, hatred against the Jewish people and a source for denial of the Holocaust. If you look at some of the recent statements by Ahmadinejad in the last few years, as I was trying to do, you’d be surprised, as I was. I am dealing with this issue, with the issue of Iran and its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons, on a daily basis. Yet in following what Ahmadinejad has been saying, I was astonished.
Here are some quotes from Ahmadinejad, some of his statements about the Holocaust. On December 14, 2005 he said, "Today the Europeans have created a myth by the name of the Holocaust." For him, of course, the Holocaust did not occur; it is only a myth. On August 2, 2006, he spoke about Zionists, meaning of course the Jews: "Are they human beings?" he asks. "They are a group of blood thirsty savages putting all other criminals to shame." In other words, dehumanization. And just this month, he said, "The world powers established the filthy bacteria, the Zionist regime which is lashing out at the nations in the region like a wild beast." Doesn’t this remind us of similar words from the past?
And then he speaks about the destruction of Israel. On October 26, 2005, he said: "Israel must be wiped off the map. The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world." On November 13, 2006, he spoke again of the destruction of Israel: "Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear." And on June 3, 2007, he said: "With God’s help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine. By God’s will, we will witness the destruction of the regime in the near future."
This is Ahmadinejad and these are his words about the Holocaust, about the Jewish people and the Israeli people. And these are his words about the destruction of Israel.
But Ahmadinejad does not only talk; he has been taking action. He is consistently making an effort to achieve what he speaks about. And we have learned our lesson from history about people who speak and act in this way. He is trying to achieve nuclear weapons and he is continuing to work at it day by day while trying to deceive the entire world.
We are pleased with yesterday’s report of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], who were not deceived by Ahmadinejad and delivered the message that Ahmadinejad is indeed continuing with his efforts to achieve nuclear weapons and is trying to attack Israel. He is not merely preparing himself for the future; he is continuing to attack Israel with help from the north from Hizbullah and with help from the south from Hamas. He is also increasing his efforts to attack Israel day by day by sending terrorists, by supplying ammunition and weapons and by training terrorists who will attack Israel.
So he continues to speak against Israel, and in doing so he uses words and terms that we haven’t heard in many years and which we thought had perhaps disappeared. But he has brought them back from history and is trying to use them in the same way and with the same terminology even today.
In addition, he is using other means. He is trying to use a double lie against us. What is this double falsehood? First of all, he says that Israel was a result of the Holocaust, that the Europeans, because they didn’t know what to do with us, established the State of Israel. We know the truth. We know that the efforts to establish the State of Israel originated long before the Holocaust. It was the desire and the strong will of the Jews who came here more than a hundred years ago to establish the State of Israel. But Ahmadinejad is trying to claim that Israel was established because of the Holocaust. He then asserted that there was no Holocaust, and he convened a conference for the sheer purpose of denying the Holocaust. So if you claim that Israel is a result of the Holocaust and that there was no Holocaust, then Israel does not have the right to exist, and that amounts to calling for the destruction of Israel.
So this is the great threat that we are facing now. It’s a palpable threat which is trying to change the way people think, trying to deceive them. It is a voice speaking loudly, denying the Holocaust, speaking about Israelis as animals, attempting to dehumanize Israelis and the entire Jewish people. All this brings to us something that we knew in the past but in a new format: the format cultivated by Ahmadinejad who is working to build hatred against Israel, hatred against Israelis, while at the same time building his own power in order to destroy Israel.
We must tell him that we will not let this happen. The international community will not allow him to continue his efforts, and it is time for action; 2008 is the time for action. Later might be too late, because he is working today to build his arsenal and his capabilities, day by day. And he is doing it in spite of the international community, in spite of the sanctions of the international community, in spite of UN resolutions. He continues in his efforts, trying to build his capabilities. And we must stop him. We must stop Iran. If we do not stop Iran this year, it will be too late.
I believe that the question which was asked in the past – "What did you do and where did you stand at the time when action was needed" – is one we are going to be asked again, all of us here, leaders of the international community, people who have standards of morality. We are going to be asked years from now what we did in order to stop Ahmadinejad. Because if we do not do it now it will be too late.
Address by MFA Director-General Aaron Abramovich to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (19 Feb 2008):
First of all, we are waiting in the very near future, a week from now, for a decision or a report by ElBaradei to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. This report is very important because Iran is trying to solve certain issues with the IAEA and convince them that they are clean of any illegal nuclear activities, this would help them in the international community. We will see the outcome of this report. We are worried about it because we have some experience from the past with the IAEA, and its dealings with Iran and the issues of Iran. This year, the report is even more important than in the past, because of Iran’s attempt to settle things with IAEA, and the report will immediately affect the Security Council’s decision.
We have had, up until now, two Security Council resolutions – resolutions that could not by themselves bring about changes in Iran and in Iranian behavior. What was important in these resolutions was mainly the fact that we – meaning the US, Israel and other countries who are involved in fighting Iran and trying to stop Iran – we made the entire international community aware of the Iran issue, of the danger of Iran, and aware of the fact that the international community is working together with understanding and a commitment against Iran. We thought that this might have an effect by creating momentum against Iran – momentum of many different countries all over the world and this might change some of the views in Iran and the Iranians’ self-confidence – and then try to continue with the effort and see the international community’s behavior towards them.
We believe that the third Security Council resolution will be important. First of all we would like to get a real result from the resolution – meaning better sanctions against Iran. But we also see pressure by the international community through economic measures against Iran as the basis for later on. We believe that after we have a Security Council resolution it will be easier to bring European Union sanctions against Iran and maybe to bring other countries to support such an effort against Iran. When we try to analyze the situation in Europe, we see some countries leading the effort against Iran, some other countries that are very far from supporting the effort, and some of them even causing various difficulties for this effort.
When we try to analyze it, we see, first of all, France, which became a leader in the effort against Iran. They get support from Britain which was there the whole time, and we also see some support for that effort from Germany. We see some hesitation from other countries, like Italy and Austria, which are not making the same effort and are not willing to make the same sacrifices that we see France, Britain, and even Germany making now.
It is very important for us to convince those countries in Europe to make the effort and join the other countries in exerring economic pressure against Iran. In some cases it is difficult for us to convince countries to make this effort and sacrifice what they have to in their economic relations with Iran, if they see other countries picking up the slack of the businesses they left, and not joining the effort against Iran. So the standing of Europe this year is going to be very important, even crucial.
We will have to work very effectively with Russia, which is definitely a very important factor in the Security Council, but also in their relationship with Iran. We hoped in the past that Russia would be with us on the issue of the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, but we did not manage to convince Russia not to let Bushehr become active. They now present this as proof that Iran does not need any assistance to have nuclear infrastructure, because they have Bushehr and can have other plants like it, but this issue was important to us. This year we did not manage, unfortunately, to convince Russia, but the economic relations between Russia and Iran are very important.
The same goes for China. China is not supporting the effort against Iran the way we hoped they would. In certain cases in their economic relations in Iran, they are even moving in to replace other countries which are trying to halt activities with Iran. So we are making an effort with China on that issue, but we do not yet see it as being effective.
In 2008, all these efforts have to be even greater and achieve results, because we have two clocks competing against each other. The first one is of Iran building their nuclear activities. They have their timetable and are making the effort, and according to Israeli intelligence they are going to have nuclear weapons in a very short time. Whether it is in 2009 or at the end of 2008 is less important, but they are definitely going to have it within a very short period of time.
Competing with this clock is the clock of the international diplomatic and economic efforts, and if they continue at the same pace they have been, I am very worried about the results we will face two years from now. So the time to make a decision is today and it is now, and this is the year which will have to make the difference on that front.
We are telling our friends, all over the world, that this is not a matter of the United States against Iran, or of Israel against Iran. This is an issue for the international community as a whole; because if Iran succeeds in their efforts, the world we are going to live in will be a very different world. It is not the world that we are used to, but one in which the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] regime falls and collapses.
Other countries will make an effort to obtain nuclear capabilities and nobody in the international community will have the power to tell them to stop it, because if Iran has it, other countries in the Middle East and in other places in the world will have the same desire for nuclear capabilities. When we will have a world with a nuclear Iran, and other countries with a very problematic record will also go nuclear, we are going to live in a very different world.
So maybe Iran is targeting its efforts against Israel, but other countries are going to have nuclear weapons, and their nuclear capabilities are going to confront other countries in the world. So they should be aware of that. If we fail, then this will be the failure of the Security Council and the international community to work in an organized way, to try to stop any country from their actions which go against the interests of the international community.
So this is a very crucial year and a very crucial period of time. We cannot fail in this effort. I know that you are great partners of Israel, supporting us in this effort. So I call upon you as I call upon ourselves, this year, and in this period of time, to go the extra mile, to make a bigger effort, because this is becoming a very crucial period.
When we speak about Iran, we have to remember that Iran is active in our region and see what is happening in Lebanon and in Gaza.
PM Olmert at press conference with German Chancellor Merkel (12 Feb 2008):
Israel is on the opinion that the Iranians are moving forward with their plans to create a capacity for no conventional weapons. Nothing that we know has changed our attitude on this issue. We are certain that Iranians are engaged in a serious, part of it clandestine, operation to build up a non- conventional capacity. There is no other reason why, while they receive from Russia nuclear fuel for civilian use they continue their enormous efforts to enrich uranium which can be of use for one purpose only: for the building up of nuclear power.
There are other evidence that we posses, and we share this evidence naturally with our friends, that the plans of the Iranians are not as naive and innocent as they pretend them to be. And therefore every possible effort to stop it through the diplomatic channels, through the international institutions, through the United Nations Security Councils, through the European Union, is of great significance. We welcome the leadership that has been manifested by Chancellor Merkel in this direction together with President Sarkozy, with Prime Minster Gordon Brown, and with other leaders of course in America and other parts of the world.
This is mainly the challenge of the big powers, Israel inevitably is very sensitive and very interested in these efforts, and we will join forces and cooperate with our senior friends in order to help bring a possible solution that will deter the Iranians from continuing their programs.