Col Richard Kemp received a standing ovation from over 400 delegates at the Fed Conference on Sunday. Below is a transcription of portions of his Sunday speech – and below that, the full text of a speech he delivered to the Australian JNF last November.
During question time after Col Kemp had spoken and received a thunderous applause, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein gave an impromptu thanks to Kemp on behalf of SA community for what he has done for the Jewish people. “Your integrity and honesty and courage is inspiring,” said Rabbi Goldstein, “we are eternally grateful.” Jews everywhere have a great debt of gratitude to Kemp.
Rabbi Goldstein told Kemp that he was showing the world - and standing up with incredible courage and integrity. “It gives me such hope and encouragement. The fact that you have stood up against the whole world and defended us is amazing.”
It takes a lot of courage to stand up for truth and justice, said a clearly moved Rabbi Goldstein, “and we thank you for that. It is a debt of gratitude we can never repay.” The Chief Rabbi thanked Fed Chairman Avrom Krengel: “It’s a privilege to be part of all this,” he said – to another round of thunderous applause.
Transcript from the speech by Col Richard Kemp to the SAZF conference:
The launching of this conference was spectacular and in particular the speeches. I was inspired by the words of Alan Dershowitz and John Howard, however. I feel slightly sheepish as a British soldier coming here to speak at a Jewish gathering. I have stolen some of the finest soldiers from SA.
Secondly I am not Jewish I am a Catholic. At this time of year as we approach Easter there is a prayer that we say on Good Friday – we go through a list of different people that we need to bring into our fold e.g. the Russians and we even pray for the conversion of Jews. It is something that I tell my Jewish friends about.
Increasingly dangerous global conspiracy. David Ben Gurion declared Israel to be an independent state. Resolution 181. Within hours the armed forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq fell upon the fledgling nation. Now in 2011 Israel has the most powerful armed forces in the Middle East. Even the most self-deceiving enemy cannot realistically believe that the countries destruction can be achieved.
They have gradually evolved three new tactics. Iran – the pursuit of nuclear weapons – wiping Israel off the map. Second – asymmetric conflict – suicide bombings, hit and run operations, spreading terror throughout Israel’s terror and seeking to lure her defence forces to turn against her. Techniques that fit perfectly into the third – a concerted conspiracy of propaganda against Israel’s existence.
Israel is so evil that is has no right to exist -when that idea becomes an acceptable mainstream acceptable argument in our society. It is no surprise that such a campaign has such popularity and support.
What is truly shocking is the attraction that this propaganda has gained in the West.
I am going to focus on the military aspects of delegitimisation.
Torture in Iran is institutionalized and widespread and they hang homosexuals up by cranes.
1.2 million Tibetans have been killed under Chinese rule.
Half a million men slaughtered in Ruanda.
Tens of thousands killed in Chechnia.
Since its formation, the only country to have ever been specifically condemned is Israel. While continuing to neglect the rights of 350 million citizens of the Middle East.
I gave evidence at the United Nations Human Rights Commission – Judge Richard Goldstone’s report.
I said that during its operation in Gaza the Israelis did more to defend the rights of civilians than any other army in the history of warfare.
The commanders of the IDF who planned and implemented the operation had a very clear understanding. There was an absolute necessity to minimize civilian casualties.
Hamas lured IDF troops to kill their own people. In these circumstances the IDF commanders took unprecedented measures to protect civilians.
They took great risks to pinpoint enemy positions while minimizing harm to the civilian population. If any of these intelligence agents had been captured their fate would have been horrific. Hamas introduced crucifixion as a means of executing spies.
The IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza and announced a cease fire for 3 hours every day. This gave Hamas time to redeploy and re-equip.
Israelis dropped a million leaflets warning people of the attack. Despite all this many civilians were killed and wounded. Hamas were deliberately trying to lure the IDF to kill their own people.
In every army there will always be bad soldiers who go against orders.
Of the 1300 deaths in the Gaza conflict, Hamas says 700 were fighters and the rest civilians.
The death of a civilian is a grave tragedy. A study published by the UN shows that the ratio to civilian to combat is by the far the lowest in the history of warfare. In Kosovo it was 4 to 1.
The IDF is of course far from perfect. But their work to reduce the risk of casualties of civilians – would not be contemplated by any other army anywhere in the world.
Israel is always in the wrong. The US and UK and other NATO countries attract no condemnation only Israel.
The IHH is a radical Islamic organization. It is anti-Israeli and anti-American. The IHH played an important role to carry out a mass casualty attack at Los Angeles International Airport, an attack without justification.
We have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I am sure many of us have criticism of Israel and its army but there is a huge difference between justifiable criticism and deligitimisation.
I have been to Auschwitz – it is haunting.
There is also a glorious light there flaunting oversized flags of Israel.