I demand an answer
To the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Mr. Grzegorz Schetyna
Dear Minister Schetyna,
On May 20, 2015, a Polish diplomat voted in Geneva in the name of all of us, including me, to approve a resolution condemning Israel. It was not the first condemnation of Israel, but arguably the most disgraceful U.N. resolution since Zionism was equated to racism. Poland signed that other disgraceful resolution as well, but this time we cannot say that somebody forced us to do it.
With a vote of 104 to 4, with 6 abstentions and 65 absent, the Jewish state was singled out as the world’s top violator of health rights by the annual assembly of the U.N.’s World Health Organization.
The representative of Poland voted for it. He didn’t go out, he didn’t abstain and, of course, he didn’t protest.
This was a resolution sponsored by Syria, a country in which Mein Kampf has been a best seller for decades and the government of which has been bombarding its own citizens, a country where a camp of starving Palestinian refugees was bombarded for long months with artillery fire, a country where fighters from Hezbollah defending this government greet each other with a Nazi salute, a country which wants very much to divert the world’s attention from its own crimes. When this criminal government presents a resolution condemning Israel for violation of health rights, a resolution stating accusations that “The Israeli occupation authorities continue to experiment on Syrian and Arab prisoners with medicines and drugs and to inject them with pathogenic viruses,” a representative of my country lends credence to it and does not demand evidence nor even show surprise, and in my name he raises his hand and votes for it.
Are you not ashamed, Minister Schetyna? Do you have any explanation for us regarding this specific voting?
The representative of my country voted in the same manner as representatives of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Netherlands, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Latvia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Italy. We voted together with Russia, Belarus, Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others.
Not one representative of any country of the European Union was outraged, or protested, or abstained, or left the room. One hundred and four villainous countries, mine among them, decided to condemn Israel, uniquely, for violating health rights.
This voice of moral outrage against Israel would be comical if it were not tragic. Time and again the most brutal dictators send their lackeys, who with deadly serious faces – having a perfect command of the jargon of human rights defenders –submit resolutions condemning Israel for all the crimes of the world, and representatives of democratic states vote for them with satisfaction, and later go to have a snack. Ministers of foreign affairs, who are responsible for their work, do not raise their eyebrows, do not ask for an explanation, and do not issue any new instructions.
Ban Ki-moon notices sometimes that the U.N. Human Rights Council is obsessed with Israel, but that is the end of noticing that brown shirts are on the march again.
But the U.N. Human Rights Council is not the only body of the United Nations which actively supports the return of the Brown Shirts’ ideas. This absurd decision of the World Health Organization shows clearly the mechanism of the world’s consent for the return of brown ideas, consent also given by my country. This mechanism is quite simple, not to say simplistic –Israel exists, so there is a chance to escape all one’s own problems. Dictators draped in the robes of moralists are leading a lively procession in which, to their music, former anti-Communist activists transformed into diplomats and democrats from countries used to cherishing the old, old tradition dance along together.
Mr. Minister, how many resolutions condemning Israel just this year have diverse U.N. bodies passed? How many times have Poland’s representatives voted for them? How many times did they see the absurdity of the accusations and protest them?
While Hamas openly calls for the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem, while Fatah does it less openly but clearly enough, while the highest functionaries in Iran repeat time and again their need to annihilate Israel, while millions of sympathizers with “Palestine” are shouting on the streets of Western cities that Palestine will be free “from the River to the Sea” (which is just an euphemism for the slogan about the final solution of the Jewish problem), these dances in the diplomatic salons are still more alarming.
Thousands of quiet and cultured sympathizers of Brown Shirts repeat the question: “Is it not allowed to criticize Israel?” Is it allowed to criticize Israel and only Israel? Is it allowed to transform a critique of Israel into an incessant spectacle of hate in which absurd and unreliable accusations once again are painting a caricature aimed at dehumanizing a people and justifying plans for genocide?
When in your Wrocław a gang of neo-Nazis with antisemitic shouts prevents a lecture by a professor who is Jewish, it is worrying; when representatives of my democratically elected government take part in a farce with an absolutely clear goal, I, as a citizen of this country, demand an answer: what was the factual basis for the representative of my government to support this resolution?
We rightly protest when somebody talks about “Polish death camps”. On Polish soil the Nazis organized the murdering of Jews on an industrial scale. Poles who were not ethnic Jews also went into these camps. For participating in the resistance, for selling meat, for frowning. Jews went into these camps for being Jews. Hatred for Jews was the legacy of the longstanding European, Christian culture and became the cornerstone of Nazi racism. The race of the masters had to have its opposite, and this opposite was Jews first, and then further down the list came Roma, Slavs and other groups of “lesser people” destined for quicker or slower annihilation.
Shouldn’t we, as Poles, be more sensitive than others to this reborn hydra, this idea that there exists a nation destined for annihilation? Isn’t it time to notice that all the time we are weeping over the graves of those murdered we are taking part in a macabre dance of consent to the return of the same idea?
I do not intend to write about the truth of Israeli medical help for their own population and for the population of their enemy. You know as well as I do about medical help for Syrian refugees, about treatment extended to patients from the Palestinian Authority and from the Gaza Strip; you know as well as I do that the leader of the most murderous terrorist base, Ismail Haniyeh, while firing rockets at Israeli civilians, sent members of his family for medical treatment in Israel; you know as well as I do that we, all of us, every day, receive benefits from magnificent Israeli inventions which help to improve our health and save lives. All this is also known by my country’s representative to the World Health Organization. He also knows that accusations thrown at Israel are in this case (as in hundreds of other cases) false, not supported by any evidence, and presented by a representative of a government which for the last four years has been inflicting genocide on its own population. In this situation I’m asking for the reasons for such conduct by the representative of my country.
With best regards
Retired BBC journalist,
former columnist of Kultura, Paris,
citizen of the Republic of Poland
Dobrzyń nad Wisłą, 22 May 2015
(Translation from Polish: Malgorzata Koraszewska&Sarah Lawson)