Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume, and I rise in strong support of this resolution.
Mr. Speaker, first I want to acknowledge the efforts of the Democratic sponsor of this important measure, my friend and colleague from Florida, Congressman Hastings, who is well known as a strong fighter in the battle against all forms of bigotry, including racism and anti-Semitism.
This was particularly evident in his distinguished term as president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe when a number of conferences on anti-Semitism were held with his support and sponsorship.
Mr. Speaker, the resolution before the House today condemns in the strongest terms Iran's commitment to hold an international Holocaust denial conference next week. The conference, entitled ``Study of Holocaust: A Global Perspective,'' is clearly designed to spread the notion that the systematic state-sponsored murder of 6 million innocent men, women and children, principally Jews and other targeted groups by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II, was either an exaggeration or
As the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress, I am outraged at attempts to deny what I know from firsthand experience to be tragically true.
Let me be very clear: Despite Ahmadinejad's lunatic statements, the Holocaust did happen. Six million innocent Jews and people from other targeted groups were slaughtered in this genocide. I personally suffered through it, and I lost virtually my entire family in this historic horror.
We all remember, Mr. Speaker, George Santayana's famous statement that ``those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'' Iran's Ahmadinejad not only wants the world to forget the past, he also wants it to be revised in the hope that history will be repeated with the destruction of Israel and the Jews. He clearly and forcefully demonstrated this at a conference in October 2005 when he stated, ``Israel must be wiped off the map.''
Last July Ahmadinejad spread more deception and anti-Western and anti-Israel propaganda when he sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany suggesting that some countries who won World War II might have fabricated the Holocaust to embarrass the German people and bar their progress.
In August, Mr. Speaker, Iran held an outrageous international contest of cartoons on the Holocaust to endorse and promote anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli stereotypes, as well as Holocaust denial. We can see that his hosting this Holocaust denial conference next week is just one more abominable step in Ahmadinejad's ugly journey to undermine the West, promote global anti-Semitism and destroy Israel.
Ahmadinejad's declarations and actions are frightening not only to Israel but to the entire civilized world. Iran supports terrorist groups bent on destroying Israel and the West. Even more serious is the fact that Iran has defied the international community by rejecting nuclear nonproliferation standards and the United Nations Security Council's demand that Iran halt its efforts to enrich uranium. Thus, in the future, we could be facing an Iran prepared to use nuclear weapons to achieve its
appalling destructive goals.
Mr. Speaker, this powerful resolution not only condemns these outrageous Iranian actions, it also calls for the United Nations to officially and publicly repudiate Iran's anti-Semitic statements. U.N. member states that echo and encourage such statements should also be held accountable. As we all know, too many U.N. conferences and resolutions have been hijacked irresponsibly to promote the same anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions. I personally saw this happen in Durban, South Africa
during a conference against so-called ``racism'' 6 years ago which was hijacked by extremists who used that conference to denounce the State of Israel.
Mr. Speaker, we also must continue our efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and to condemn its outrageous and destructive goals of destroying our ally Israel and other Western targets.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, we must remind the world that in spite of the lies by revisionist historians and Ahmadinejad, the Holocaust in fact did occur, and millions suffered and 6 million died.
As we see from the ongoing atrocities in Sudan, the Holocaust saying of ``never again'' unfortunately has not proved to be true. Thus we must recommit to do all we can to stop Holocaust denial, remember the past, and in doing so, not be condemned to repeat it. We must do all we can to stop mass murder and genocide whenever and wherever it occurs, as it does today in Darfur.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, at this time I am pleased to yield such time as he may consume to one of our leaders on the International Relations Committee, Mr. Burton of Indiana.
Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
I cannot imagine anybody denying the Holocaust. Anyone who has been to Israel and seen the Holocaust Museum or been to the Holocaust Museum here could have no doubt about the tragic events that took place by Nazi Germany in World War II.
But what I would like to talk about in addition to that right now is some of the things that are going on right now that bother me a great deal, that parallel this. In August of 1939 Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov stunned the world by signing the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact under the watchful eyes of German Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. They signed that nonaggression pact and what it guaranteed was that there would not be a war on two fronts. That was what
Hitler wanted. And then Lord Chamberlain went to Munich and signed an agreement saying he would give away the Sudetenland in exchange for peace, and what happened was we had a war that killed 62 million people. Sixty-two million people.
We are now in the Nuclear Age, and this leader in Iran who is denying that [Page: H8868]
the Holocaust did not occur is hell-bent for leather to create another holocaust which, in my opinion, could kill hundreds of millions of people, not 62 million but hundreds of millions of people, by using nuclear weapons. And it is of great concern to me the things that he has been saying. Ayatollah Khomeini referred to the United States when he was alive as the ``Great Satan.''
The current leader and strongman, Ayatollah Khameneh'i, has ruled out any possible kind of relationship with the United States, calling us the ``Great Satan.'' And on October 26, 2005, addressing a conference in Tehran entitled ``The World Without Zionism,'' Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, said Israel must be wiped off the map, described Israel as a ``disgraceful blot on the face of the Islamic world'' and declared that ``anybody,'' including the United States, ``who recognizes Israel will burn
in the fire of the Islamic national fury.'' He went on to say, ``To those who doubt, to those who ask is it possible, or those who do not believe, I say accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible.'' And then, quoting
the Ayatollah Khomeini, he said, ``Israel must be wiped off'' the face of the Earth, ``from the map of the world, and with the help of the Almighty, we shall soon experience a world without America or Zionism, notwithstanding those who doubt.''
Now, today the Baker-Hamilton Commission indicated that we must start talking to Iran and others in the region. I have never been against talking, but it is distressful to me at a time when they are hell-bent to develop a nuclear program, a nuclear weapons program, and the whole world cannot stop them from doing it, that there should be dialogue with them. It is analogous to saying to Adolph Hitler, after he invaded Poland, ``We want to deal with you.'' They tried that. Stalin tried it. Chamberlain
tried it. And 62 million people died.
What we need to do right now is do whatever it takes to make sure there is not another holocaust. Whatever it takes. And that means making absolutely sure that people who are hell-bent to destroy Israel and the United States and Europe, if they don't agree with their religious beliefs, that they are stopped from developing nuclear weapons. We must not let them develop nuclear weapons.
This resolution deals with the Holocaust that did occur, and what I am talking about is a holocaust that we do not want to occur. And the best way to make sure that does not happen is to make sure that the President of Iran and the ayatollahs over there do not get nuclear weaponry.
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend TOM LANTOS, who has been stalwart in fighting not only anti-Semitism but bigotry throughout this world.
I would like to start by saying that I am very grateful for the bipartisan cooperation of many House leaders to ensure that this important legislation was so promptly brought to the House floor. In particular, I would like to thank my good friends and colleagues, the majority leader, JOHN BOEHNER; Speaker-elect NANCY PELOSI; of course, as I have mentioned, my extremely good friend and mentor, the incoming chair of the House International Relations Committee, the distinguished gentleman
from California, TOM LANTOS; the current chair of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia; and my fellow Floridian and very, very good friend and colleague and classmate and ally in a number of mutual efforts on behalf of our respective constituencies; and the ranking Democratic member, GARY ACKERMAN from New York.
I sincerely appreciate the assistance of all of these colleagues in allowing me to introduce this legislation and bring it to the floor for a vote on the second-to-last day of the legislative year and, importantly, prior to the occurrence of this nasty conference.
The haste with which this bill was brought to the floor and its bipartisan support is a clear testament to the importance this congressional body places on public condemnation of anti-Semitism worldwide and the desire of congressional leaders to rid the globe of the scourge of anti-Semitism.
The commitment of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders to hold a Holocaust denial conference on December 11 of this month is unabashed, reprehensible anti-Semitism at its worst. I learned about this 2 weeks ago at a conference in Malta. And to the man and woman that were there, everyone condemned this action.
More than 70 years ago, a different leader from a different nation rose to power based on his open hatred of a particular group of people. He started by forcing Jews to identify themselves with the Star of David on their clothing and enacting restrictive laws for Jewish shopkeepers. He ended his crusade, ``the final solution,'' with the mass murder of 6 million or more Jews in extermination camps.
I would recommend to Mr. Ahmadinejad that he do as some of us have done in the past, not even requiring of him that he meet in this Congress our only Holocaust survivor, who in fact suffered immeasurably, as did his family and friends and colleagues, at the hands of this kind of hatred. I would recommend to him that he do as I did: visit Auschwitz and Treblinka, and perhaps it would be there that he may come to learn of the horrors that so many people were confronted with.
If ``never again'' means anything to us now, then we cannot ignore this latest egregious act of anti-Semitism. The world will not turn its back to President Ahmadinejad and Iranian leaders' anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-U.S. public acts and statements. The same country that spews such hatred towards Jews is also on a determined path towards nuclear weapon possession. But that is a whole different conflict that needs to be discussed on a whole different day.
For today I want to just end and focus on the topic of anti-Semitism. Let Iran's second Holocaust denial conference serve as a wake-up call for the entire international community about the endurance of anti-Semitism in this world. As the president emeritus of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, the world's largest regional security organization, and someone who has traveled extensively across this globe, I am acutely aware of the prevalence of anti-Semitism
not only in Iran but worldwide. Combating anti-Semitism fits into my world view of the importance of fighting all types of bigotry. I have dedicated my entire professional life toward eradicating hate spewed by racists, anti-Semites, xenophobes and homophobes.
I greatly appreciate the fact that my colleagues recognize the importance of a unified international condemnation of Iran's commitment to hold another Holocaust denial conference. We have a shared responsibility to promote awareness of injustice and preach tolerance education if we ever are to succeed in combating this widespread epidemic of hate.
I certainly am deeply appreciative that Mr. Lantos and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen saw fit to permit this matter to be brought to the body.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Florida for his eloquent statement.
Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of my time.