Israeli delegation wears Holocaust-era yellow stars to UN meeting

'From this day on, each time you look at me you will remember what staying silent in the face of evil means.'

Israeli delegation wears Holocaust-era yellow stars to UN meeting
Israel???s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan wears a yellow Star of David that reads
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan was among the delegation who a yellow Star of David (Picture: AP)

Israel’s delegation to the UN has worn yellow stars in the style of those used by the Nazis to identify Jews during the Holocaust, as it criticises the organisation for its handling of the war in Gaza.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan said the group would continue to wear the Star of David, which has the words ‘Never Again’ written at the centre, until the Security Council condemns Hamas and its ‘atrocities’.

Follow live coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict on our liveblog

Israel has been heavily critical of the UN since the attacks of October 7, and called for Secretary-General António Guterres to resign after he said the incursion ‘did not happen in a vacuum’.

However, the wearing of the yellow stars has been criticised by the president of Jerusalem’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, who said it dishonours victims.

Speaking at the United Nations, envoy Erdan said: ‘Some of you have learned nothing in the past 80 years. Some of you have forgotten why this body was established.

‘So, I will remind you. From this day on, each time you look at me you will remember what staying silent in the face of evil means.’

Placing the star on his chest, he continued: ‘We will wear this star until you condemn the atrocities of Hamas and demand the immediate release of our hostages.’

The Security Council has not adopted a single resolution relating to the war between Israel and Hamas since the attacks more than three weeks ago.

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epa10936207 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to delegates during a United Nations Security Council meeting called to address the ongoing Israel-Palestianian conflict, in New York, New York, USA, 24 October 2023. Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians have died since the militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October, and the Israeli strikes on the Palestinian enclave which followed it. EPA/EDUARDO MUNOZ
Israel reacted angrily to remarks by Antonio Guterres where he condemned Hamas while saying it was important to acknowledge the ‘suffocating occupation’ Palestinians have been subject to (Picture: EPA)

A text calling for a humanitarian pause in the conflict was blocked by the US as it did not mention Israel’s right to self-defence, while Russia blocked another that did not call for a ceasefire.

Last Friday, the UN General Assembly passed a motion calling for a ‘sustainable humanitarian truce’ by an overwhelming majority of 120 in favour to 14 against, with 45 countries – including the UK – abstaining.

Erdan said the vote showed the organisation no longer has ‘even one ounce of legitimacy or relevance’, adding that a ceasefire would allow Hamas to rearm for another ‘massacre’.

Unlike the Security Council, the General Assembly cannot pass binding resolutions, so Friday’s vote represented little more than a demonstration of opinion.

Last week, Israel said it had refused a visa to UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths amid fury over Guterres’ comments, in which the leader condemned Hamas while adding: ‘The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.’

However, yesterday Griffiths tweeted to say he was ‘in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory’, where ‘over 200 Israelis remain hostage and the situation in Gaza is the most dangerous it’s ever been’.

Jews wearing Star of David badges, Lodz Ghetto, Poland, World War II, 1940-1944. The Nazis forced Jews into over-crowded ghettos from which thousands were deported to the death camps. (Photo by Jewish Chronicle/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Jewish people were made to wear yellow stars by the Nazis during the Holocaust (Picture: Jewish Chronicle/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Dani Dayan, the president of Yad Vashem, denounced the delegation’s provocative use of yellow stars and called for Israeli flags to be worn instead.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, he said: ‘We were sorry to see the members of the Israeli delegation to the UN wearing a yellow patch.

‘This act dishonours both the victims of the Holocaust and the State of Israel. The yellow patch symbolizes the helplessness of the Jewish people and being at the mercy of others.

‘Today we have an independent country and a strong army. We are masters of our destiny. Today we put a blue-white flag on the lapel, not a yellow patch.’

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