Comments by David G. Littman, NGO Representative at the UN in Geneva:
Association for World Education and World Union for Progressive Judaism
This joint oral statement, on former themes, was drafted on the spur of the moment and delivered hastily by DGL on the last day when NGO representatives could speak at the Human Rights Council, which ended with the usual controversial situation. Our text is a verbatim transcription from the UN website. Some humour was felt to be acceptable -under the grandiose colourful stalactite ceiling – and it provoked gleeful attention. The president had generously allowed the speaker to continue for three minutes (instead of two and a bit), but then the sound mike was cut by Mr. X and the precious advice by Mr. Turgot 200 years ago on how to react when receiving a gracious royal gesture (in this case, at least 30 seconds extra!) was not relayed on the earphone, nor to the president.
However, it was heard by many, as it was delivered somewhat theatrically with a louder and more serious voice, while looking toward the Belgium president on the podium:
La grÃ¢ce se reÃ§oit avec un mouvement de recul mais ne se refuse jamais. (Grace is welcomed with a respectful bow, but is never refused.)
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ASSOCIATION FOR WORLD EDUCATION
WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
United Nations Human Rights Council -13th session (1-26 March 2010)
Statement: David G. Littman (38TH meeting) – Tuesday. 16:10 – 23 March 2010
President (Chair): Ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen (Belgium)
Item 9: Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance,
follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
[The words in square brackets were not pronounced in the extended time of 3 min.]
‘Blasphemy’ / ‘Defamation of Religions – and ‘Islamophobia’ at the United Nations
Thank you, Mr President.
Sir, delegates now have available, thanks to the Secretariat, our two joint written statements with detailed documentation and notes which say more than we can here in two minutes – A/HRC/13/NGO/135: ‘Call to Condemn Judeophobia / Antisemitism in the Middle East’ – and A/HRC/13/NGO/139: ‘Ad Hoc Committee’ [on the Elaboration of Complementary standards] and: ‘The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam & the Universality of Human Rights.’
The links to our UN General Assembly NGO joint written statements are below.
Mr. President, with your indulgence on this sunny day, we wish to state a commonplace without fluffing too many fancy feathers in this palatial domain where real peacocks roam freely, ruling the roost thank to the wish of the former [19th century] ChÃ¢telaine whose husband donated the land to Geneva.
Sir, in several published articles my colleague, RenÃ© Wadlow, and I have carefully chronicled a creeping process – or ‘struggle’ [Jihad] – by the OIC, led by Pakistan and with several Iranian initiatives from 1997: the first was the “Blasphemy Affair” – based on totally false grounds, which we have demonstrated – that raised its ugly head; [this was] followed in 1999 by the OIC-sponsored “Defamation of Islam” resolution, modified to “Defamation of Religions” to cool tempers; and finally becoming “Combating Defamation of Religions” – although only Islam is mentioned in these non-stop series of resolutions, the latest of which will be adopted automatically this week [by the Council].
Then the “Islamophobia” monster was created here in our Palais des Nations – 180 years after Mary Godwin invented Frankenstein on the other side of the lake at the Villa Diodati during a competition suggested by Lord Byron [on a rainy day in May 1816] – for him, the poet Shelly and his girl friend, later his wife Mary Shelly, who won – with Frankenstein finishing his career by a trek to the north pole and maybe passing by this [palatial] domain.
Curiously enough, the “Islamphobia” monster became a hit with the Special Rapporteur [on Racism Mr. Doudou DiÃ¨ne, 2002-2008] and others worldwide, but not the mounting Christianophobia and galloping Judeophobia – particularly in the Arab-Muslim world where the situation of Christians is regressing daily and the culture of hate against Jews in the media and Judaism is becoming mind-boggling, without any condemnation [here].
M. le PrÃ©sident, Permettez moi de conclure avec les paroles d’un grand home du SiÃ¨cle des LumiÃ¨res, M. Turgot : [Mr. President, allow me to conclude with the words of a great man from Â« Le SiÃ¨cle des LumiÃ¨res Â», Mr. Turgot]
The President: Would you please come to an end now, your speaking time is up.
[The sound mike cut then & the webcast shows the speaker saying: ‘Merci, M. le PrÃ©sident,” but Mr. Turgot’s word were spoken: Â« La grÃ¢ce se reÃ§oit avec un mouvement de recul mais ne se refuse jamais. Â» (‘Grace is welcomed with a respectful bow, but is never refused.”)]
Joint written statements (AWE and WUPJ): UN General Assembly NGO documents:
A/HRC/13/NGO/135: Call to Condemn Judeophobia / Antisemitism in the Middle East