He stood in front of the UN General Assembly - sans the representatives of a few despots and thugs - and in a voice sometimes shaking with emotion, he threw down a moral gauntlet to the world, reminding us that there is such a thing as evil and that it is up to all of us to resist it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed an unpardonable sin during his magnificent speech.
He told the truth:
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.
But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?
A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state.
What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You’re wrong.
History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.
It is rare that the UN is exposed to such truth telling. That’s because at bottom, the United Nations is not a serious place for serious people. It is a body that plays the child’s game of “pretend.” They pretend that Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, and other brutish states are equal to the US, Israel, Great Britain, and other liberal democracies. They pretend to address the serious questions that threaten world peace. They pretend to be evenhanded in their attempts to solve problems when a 7 year old knows their anti-western, anti-Israel bias.
But perhaps the biggest pretense committed by these corrupt, cynical bureaucrats is that they pretend to adhere to the principles in their own founding charter - as beautiful a document that has ever been written - while systematically and deliberately undermining the human rights and the dignity of all spelled out in detail in the document that is supposed to govern their actions.
And Bibi, a towering moral figure in a sea of petty, small minded men and women - reminded them of those founding principles in the most dramatic, and powerful way imaginable:
Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments. Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?
A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?
This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie?
And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie? One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife’s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?
Bibi might have kept going. Were the invoices for the poison Zyklon B, manufactured by the I.G. Farben chemical company and shipped to Nazi death camps a lie? Were memos from I.G. Farben executives to Nazi officials bragging about how efficiently the chemical could kill human beings a lie? Were documents showing competitive bidding among German firms for ovens at Auschwitz and other death camps a lie?
Netanyahu heads a state, surrounded by enemies who refuse to grant it the basic legitimacy given all countries who are signatories to the UN Charter; the right to exist. This is the reality that most critics of Israel either seek to downplay, ridicule, or ignore altogether. And the drive by some of these enemies who wish to destroy Israel to obtain or build weapons that can make their twisted, genocidal dreams come true is perhaps the greatest moral test the UN will ever face. What will this world body do to stop Iran from achieving the capability of destroying a member nation - a nation they have constantly and in the most brutal and direct terms threatened with annihilation? Has the UN become too cynical, too corrupt to deal with the greatest threat to peace and stability in its history?
At the end of his speech, Netanyahu challenged the UN to live up to its charter and warned that unless rogue regimes like Iran were dealt with by the international community, the outcome would be horrible for civilization.
Of course, the very people who desperately needed to hear this speech either walked out or never showed. That pitiful gesture is another lie because you know that they read the speech anyway back in their glitzy offices and plush apartments - living so far beyond the means of most of their oppressed, poverty-stricken people that it makes one retch at their dripping hypocrisy.
More Netanyahu, less Obama please.