31 January 2011
World Jewish Congress Secretary General-Designate Dan Diker has called on Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and one of the candidates who in 2008 sought the Republican Party's nomination for the US presidency, to lend his support to an international campaign for the referral of the Iranian regime to the UN Security Council over Tehran's incitement to genocide, in particular repeated calls by Iranian leaders to destroy Israel. Diker pointed out that Iran was the only UN member state that openly denied the Holocaust while calling for genocide backed by nuclear weapons against the Jewish people in their own state. Iran was in violation of the 1948 Convention for the Prevention of Genocide, to which Tehran is a signatory. He said that the Iranian regime was "denying the Holocaust while threatening and planning the next nuclear Holocaust."
Huckabee thanked Diker for his comments and reminded the committee that stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons had to be a top international priority and to be acted upon immediately. Diker also called on Huckabee to continue his support for Israel's rights to defensible borders. "One of the major lessons the Jewish people and the State of Israel have learned from watching the dramatic events unfold in Egypt as well as in Lebanon us that Israel must have defensible borders, especially in the strategically vital West Bank that overlooks the major coastal cities, in order to survive in the troubled and unstable Middle East," Diker said.
Huckabee, who was on a private visit to Israel – his 13th – won applause for his unreserved support for Israel. The Republican politician said he loved Israel because the Jewish people deserved to live freely in their own ancient homeland. “I love Israel because I love freedom," Huckabee told Israeli parliamentarians from all parties at a packed meeting of the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee. American actor Jon Voight, the father of Angelina Jolie, was also present. Several Knesset members, including Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, thanked Huckabee and Voight for their genuine friendship and support for Israel. Huckabee and Voight made brief statements expressing their love for Israel and the Jewish people and speaking out against anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment and the assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
On Monday, during a visit to a cornerstone laying ceremony in Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, Huckabee said: "It is inconceivable in many ways that we would have to even argue and debate whether or not Israelis could live in Israel, not just in parts of Israel but anywhere in Israel they wished to live. I cannot imagine as an American being told that I could not live in certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I was white, or because I spoke English. I would be outraged if someone told me that in my country, I would be prohibited and forbidden to live in a part of that country, for any reason."
Huckabee dismissed the notion that Jewish settlements were obstacles to peace. Instead, he backed the view that Jews had the the right to build anywhere in the biblical Land of Israel, including the West Bank.
Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, will be leading a group of Christian pilgrims on a tour of the holy sites in the country later in the week. He was also received by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Huckabee is expected to again seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, which he lost to John McCain in 2008.
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