Assemblyman Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove, joined numerous state, federal and civic leaders at a rally in New York Sept. 24 protesting comments made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations General Assembly.
Lavine offered these remarks at the rally:
"It is critically important to note that our voice of protest here today is not aimed at harming the people of Iran, but is instead meant to send a strong message to that nation’s despotic regime, and is in response to the threat that its present government poses to world peace.
"Still, we live in a world in which we are all interrelated and interdependent, a lesson too well learned on September 11, and we, in the United States and in Israel, hear very well the words of hostility, atavism and rank prejudice that emanate from Iranian President Ahmadinejad, such as: World War I was started by the Jews (My Uncle Ralph, a doughboy, would have found this amusing); Israel a cancerous tumor; 6 million Jews were not ritualistically slaughtered by the Nazi tyrants; the Nation of Israel must be wiped off the map; and just two years ago at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, Ahmadinejad fabricates that the United States was responsible for the attack on America on September 11.
"Words matter, and, to us Americans, the words of tyrannical regimes count even more. We are acutely aware that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not the only Iranian governmental representative to use such bizarre language.
"The strategic American-Israeli alliance ought not to be undervalued by the current government in Iran, nor would it be wise to discount our resolve that the people of Iran will one day again live in freedom, safety and dignity.
"We know that the people of Iran have a proud and honored history and culture and we all know of the friendship between the peoples of America and Iran. We know, as well, that as long ago as the days of Cyrus the Great, the people of Persia were among the first to struggle to establish and maintain human rights.
"And so, to the people of Iran, you should know that we Americans still grieve for Neda, just as we do for our dead on September 11, all martyrs for democracy. The photos of the death of a young woman called the “Voice of Iran” and of our towers burning are the defining images of our day and our world. And the voices of the people of America and of the people of Iran deserve to be heard by Mr. Ahmadinejad.
"That is why we citizens of New York stand together today."