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Secretary-General Commemorates Anniversary of Chaim Herzog’s Speech Condemning General Assembly Resolution Equating Zionism with Racism

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at an event commemorating the fortieth anniversary of Chaim Herzog’s speech against General Assembly resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism, in New York, today:

It is a pleasure to greet all those gathered for this commemoration.

Looking back at the rise and fall of General Assembly resolution 3379, we must see it as a lesson.  Forty years have passed since Chaim Herzog stood on the podium of the General Assembly and denounced “two great evils which menace society in general and a society of nations in particular”: “hatred and ignorance”.

The United Nations continues to battle these twin threats to global society while constantly working to promote dignity and respect for all.  The reputation of the United Nations was badly damaged by the adoption of resolution 3379, in and beyond Israel and the wider Jewish community.

As we commemorate Chaim Herzog’s words, I appeal to the community of nations to always act to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”.

Throughout his life, Chaim Herzog contributed to his people and his country in many capacities: as the sixth President of Israel, as its Ambassador to the United Nations, as a soldier in the forces that liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen and as a leader who was highly respected by all segments of Israeli society.  A man known for his manners and moderation, he was equally able to speak up forcefully in defence of Zionism, the Jewish national movement — as he did in this building on 10 November 1975.

Today, as we come together to commemorate the revocation of resolution 3379, our focus must be on the many manifestations of hatred and intolerance that blight the global landscape — resurgent anti-Semitism, wide-ranging anti-Muslim bigotry and attacks, discrimination against migrants and refugees.

We must do all we can to bring a just resolution to the Middle East conflict, to protect the viability of the two-State solution and enable Israelis and Palestinians alike to live in security and peace.  After decades of failed leadership and unimplemented agreements, mistrust is high, hope is low and time is running out.

Today, let us pledge to stand up to hatred and ignorance, stay true to the origins of this Organization and uphold our shared commitment to equality and human dignity for all — the cause for which Chaim Herzog spoke so eloquently, and the mission that we must fulfil today.

For information media. Not an official record.