A Jerusalem-based ministry has delivered a petition to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed by nearly 60,000 Christians from 128 nations demanding that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be indicted for incitement to commit genocide against Israel.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), self-described as a “ministry of comfort” to Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, made the publicized plea just days ahead of Ahmadinejad’s opening address Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
The Christian signatories of the petition, half of whom live in Germany and the U.S., stated their “outrage and alarm” over Iran’s “repeated threats of genocide against the State of Israel.” The ICEJ-sponsored petition calls the threats a clear violation of the 1951 U.N. Charter and the international Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
ICEJ executive director Malcolm Hedding said his group, not unlike the U.N., was born out of the ashes of the Holocaust. He said during World War II the “silence of most Christian clergy” in the face of Hitler’s bid to kill European Jewry left a shameful stain on the churches.
“Christians today [sense] an inescapable moral duty to earnestly speak out whenever another genocidal campaign threatens the Jewish people,” Hedding said. “We are concerned that just such a genocidal campaign is taking shape in the form of Iran’s repeated threats to eliminate the Jewish state and its quest for the nuclear means to carry out these threats.”
Hedding pointed out that Ahmadinejad and other senior Iranian officials have made repeated calls to “wipe Israel off the map,” and they have described Jews with terms reminiscent of Nazi propagandist slander, such as “the source of plague and typhus,” “parasites,” “cancerous tumors” and “a germ of corruption.”
Monday, on the day of Ahmadinejad’s arrival, a rally held across the street from the U.N. drew thousands of protesters to New York to demand a stronger U.N. and international response to the growing Iranian nuclear threat. Politicians, religious leaders, human rights activists and Iranian dissidents attended the massive demonstration sponsored by the Coalition to Stop Iran Now and major Jewish organizations.
“It’s really an anti-war protest today,” David Parsons, a writer, radio host and spokesman for the ICEJ, told Charisma after the rally Tuesday. “We don’t want war. We’re saying there are a lot of targeted measures that the U.N. can take.”
He claimed that the U.N. has a clear-cut case against Ahmadinejad because the Iranian president’s campaign of “incitement to wipe out Israel and the Jewish people” has been “deliberate, repeated and direct.”
“[Ahmadinejad] has immunity; he can speak here,” Parsons said. “But by the same token, the world court of justice can indict him. It’s a crime, whether you go through with the genocide or not; it’s called an inchoate crime, like conspiracy to commit murder. The actual dreaming up of the plan itself is a crime.”
Sen. Hillary Clinton and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had been invited to address the crowd of protesters Tuesday. However, after Jewish groups organizing the rally received word that Clinton, who was reportedly not told she’d have to share the stage with Palin, had decided to cancel her appearance, they decided to disinvite Palin to keep the rally free of partisan politics in an election season.
Jewish organizers in New York reportedly said the rally was one of the largest of its kind in decades. Parsons estimated that as many as 10,000 attended.
He said the timing of his group’s petition with the protest in New York were largely coincidental and that the campaign for signatures began a year and a half ago. “We heard [Ahmadinejad] was coming to the U.N. so we thought: ‘You can’t let this guy come into the country scot-free. He’s got to feel some heat and pressure, that he’s unwelcome,’” Parsons said.
“We’re asking the United Nations and the international community to take measures, short of the military option, to stop Iran from going nuclear and to stop this incitement against Israel.”
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