Press Release

As Ahmadinejad Prepares to Deliver Yom Kippur Speech at United Nations, Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Senate Resolution Demanding U.N. Action Against Iranian Leaders’ Incitement to Genocide

Sep 24, 2012

New York, NY – As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to address the UN General Assembly later this week, outrageously on Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood at the U.N. today with elected officials from across New York State, Jewish Community Relations Council President Alan Jaffe, and other community leaders in urging the UN to take immediate action against Iranian leaders for their deplorable statements calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. Under the Genocide Convention adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, it is a punishable offense to incite genocide. 

Gillibrand announced that a new bipartisan Senate resolution has been introduced with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) calling on the U.N. Security Council and Member States to enforce punitive measures against Iranian leaders for violating the international law which makes it a crime to incite genocide. The Gillibrand-Ayotte resolution, which is supported by 23 members from both sides of the aisle, also calls on the U.N. Security Council to refer the case to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate Iranian officials and urges the U.N. to issue tougher sanctions and travel bans against leaders involved in hate speech. 

“The Iranian leaders’ heinous rhetoric is not only deplorable, but must be recognized for what it is – incitement to genocide,” said Senator Gillibrand, co-author of Iran sanctions legislation that was signed into law in August. “When we say never again, we must mean never again. The international community must not tolerate the dangerous calls made by a regime with nuclear ambitions that actively supports terrorists and commits brutal human rights abuses. We must bring the full force of international law to bear against the Iranian regime.” 

“His presence and ideas fly in the face of the values that characterize this great city,” said Alan Jaffe, President and Michael Miller, Executive Vice President and CEO, Jewish Community Relations of New York. “This annual charade only serves to embolden the criminal policies of the Iranian regime, including the denial of their citizens’ basic human rights, and the pursuit of their illicit nuclear program in defiance of the international community.” 

Iranian President Ahmadinejad and top Iranian officials have intensified their efforts over the past several years to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people, posing a grave threat to people in Israel and the United States. Just recently, Ahmadinejad referred to Israel as an “insult to all humanity” and “a cancerous tumor” that must be removed. In addition: 

  • On August 2, 2012, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said, “anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom”
  • On August 17, 2012, leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami claimed that “the Zionist regime will meet destruction through unity in the Islamic world”
  • On February 3, 2012, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told an audience, “the Zionist regime is a real cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut, God Willing”
  • At the speeches before the 2009 and 2011 United Nations General Assembly meetings, President Ahmadinejad insulted Israel, called into question its very existence, and denied the fact that there was a Holocaust. 

The Gillibrand-Ayotte resolution condemns Iranian leaders’ reprehensible statement aimed at Israel’s destruction  and calls on the United Nations Security Council and member states to take actions against Iran, including increasing sanctions against Iran and travel bans against those involved in genocidal crimes, requesting that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court investigate Iranian officials, and urging parties involved in the Genocide Convention to file a complaint before the International Court of Justice, which could lead to criminal punishment. 

Co-sponsors of the resolution include: Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).