December 12, 2006
“Honourable senators know that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. What would historians say to one national leader who would intentionally seek to revise and rewrite history that we ourselves have witnessed?
“Ancient Persia should serve as modern Iran’s own history lesson. Ancient Persia was led by autocrats whose evil programs and proclamations have left nothing, not even lines in the sands of time.
“This week in Tehran, the President of Iran sponsored an international conference, the sole purpose of which was to deny the Holocaust and revise the miserable history of the 20th century to which all in this chamber were personal witnesses. No doubt history will treat him to the same fate as that of his ancient predecessors.
“In 1839, in the small East European village of Zhetel, a prolific interpreter of the ancient texts of the Torah was born. He was called the Chafetz Chaim after the title of his most famous book. That book’s subject was the use of civil discourse in civilized society. The title of that book was derived from Psalms 34:13-14:
“ 13 Who is the man that desires life and loves days, that he may see good.’
“ 14 Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.’
“The Chafetz Chaim taught that each word counts. Words can kill. I admonish the President of Iran and repeat those ancient words from the Bible: ‘Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit."
Iran—Motion to Condemn Holocaust Denial Conference Adopted
December 14, 2006
Senate – Orders of the Day
“RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN THE HOLOCAUST DENIAL CONFERENCE HELD DECEMBER 11-12, 2006 IN IRAN”
“Whereas Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sponsored an international Holocaust denial conference entitled ‘Study of Holocaust: A Global Perspective’, on December 11 and 12, 2006, in Tehran;
“Whereas the Iranian Government is openly supportive of Holocaust revisionists, who resolve that the systematic state sponsored murder of 6,000,000 Jews and other targeted groups by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II was either fabricated or exaggerated;
“Whereas in August 2006, Iran staged a reprehensible international contest of cartoons on the Holocaust, endorsing and promoting prevailing anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli stereotypes and Holocaust denial;
“Whereas President Ahmadinejad wrote in a letter in July 2006 to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ‘Is it not a reasonable possibility that some countries that had won the war (World War II) made up this excuse to constantly embarrass the defeated people … to bar their progress.’;
“Whereas on October 26, 2005, in a conference entitled, ‘The World without Zionism’, President Ahmadinejad stated in a speech that ‘Israel must be wiped off the map.’;
“Whereas thereafter, these anti-Semitic comments were broadly condemned by the United Nations and others, including resolutions of various Parliaments;
“Whereas President Ahmadinejad’s current sponsorship of an international Holocaust denial conference is only the latest abominable act he has taken in a series of threatening and anti-Semitic, Holocaust denial statements and actions since he rose to power;
“Whereas to deny the Holocaust’s occurrence is in itself an act of anti-Semitism;
“Whereas one who denies the Holocaust, denies the greatest tragedy of the Jewish people and the most extreme act of anti-Semitism in history;
“Whereas President Ahmadinejad’s past and present declarations and actions—spewing outrageous anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rhetoric, remaining a primary source of funding, training, and support for terrorist groups seeking to destroy Israel, and openly threatening Israel and other democracies — prove President Ahmadinejad is on a national crusade of hatred and ultimate destruction against Israel and the Western civilized world;
“Whereas the longstanding policy of the Iranian regime aimed at destroying the democratic State of Israel, highlighted by statements made by President Ahmadinejad, underscores the threat posed by a nuclear Iran:
“Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Senate of Canada—
“(1) Condemns in the strongest terms the international Holocaust denial conference held in Iran on December 11—12, 2006, and any and all vile anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders;
“(2) Calls on the United Nations to officially and publicly repudiate all of Iran’s anti-Semitic statements made at such conference and hold accountable United Nations member states that encourage or echo such statements;
“(3) Calls on the United Nations Security Council to strengthen its commitment to taking measures necessary to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear power;
“(4) Calls on the Government of Canada to condemn the anti-Semitic Holocaust denial conference;
“(5) Reaffirms the Canada’s longstanding friendship and support for the State of Israel; and vows to never forget the horrendous murder of millions in the Holocaust and affirms that such genocide should never happen again.”
Hon. Anne C. Cools: “When is Senator Grafstein planning to speak to the motion? Will we have a debate? Could the honourable senators provide us some background to this? I have read the motion and there are many propositions contained in one. I would have loved some debate on this because it is so frightfully important and some of the things going on are just so terrible.”
Senator Grafstein: “I will speak on this very briefly. The resolution is self-explanatory and I will explain why.
“I rise to address this resolution to condemn the President of Iran for a conference that he held, which was a Holocaust denial conference, this week, on December 11 and 12 in Iran, which in itself is self-explanatory.
“Parliaments, government leaders and political leaders around the world have risen to quickly condemn the President of Iran’s actions, which started immediately after he gained his presidency almost two years ago.
“What to do? The same rationale propelled me to publish my first book in 1995, entitled Beyond Imagination: Canadians Write About the Holocaust. In the foreword I wrote these words and I will repeat them for your consideration in support of this resolution.
“How does one challenge evil? How does one repair the cracks when evil seeps into the world? When confronted with evil, evil beyond imagination, good can only overcome we are taught, by each soul attempting small gestures, or tiny acts, minor deeds, to set about to repair the damage.
“This was the challenge of the ancient Jewish Talmudists to Jews who were confronted with evil in their time. I am confronted with evil in my time and this is a small, modest gesture done by Parliaments and leaders. Both the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition have condemned this act in the last two days, and I would hope that we could send this message to Iran immediately to immediately condemn the president’s actions.”
Hon. Senators: “Hear, hear.”
Senator Cools: “I think it is fair to say that everyone we know condemns the evil of which Senator Grafstein speaks. I would have loved to hear a bit more because I know the honourable senator may be following this very closely, but I know little about that conference or who spoke there or the debates. I thought this was an opportunity for him to put a very important subject matter on the floor.
“In any event, honourable senators, these questions in respect to man’s inhumanity to man are so enormous that we need to give them the time and consideration they deserve. I know very little of some of this. In any event, Senator Prud’homme is not here. He is away being honoured this evening, honourable senators, by the Ambassador of Hungary. He is being honoured, as we speak, for his efforts in 1956 in support of the Hungarian people around the revolution and the assistance to refugees and so forth. He wanted to be with us this afternoon. Senator Prud’homme had hoped to have the opportunity to speak to this motion because he is very supportive of the resolution. The motion has a long preamble but Senator Prud’homme had said that he would love to speak to the five substantive parts of the motion, in overwhelming support of No. 1 and then with questions on the other parts.
“Honourable senators, Senator Prud’homme has asked me to move the adjournment of the debate in his name.”
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: “Are honourable senators ready for the question?”
Hon. Senators: “Question!”
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: “It is moved by Senator Cools, for Senator Prud’homme, that debate be adjourned to the next sitting of the Senate. Will an honourable senator second the motion?
“Seeing no one, I will return to the main motion.
“It is moved by the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, that the following resolution be adopted by the Senate:
“Resolution to condemn the Holocaust Denial Conference —
“Shall I dispense?”
Hon. Senators: “Dispense.”
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: “Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?”
“Motion agreed to.”