Israel’s United Nations ambassador displayed a yellow star on his chest Monday as he addressed the Security Council, provocatively pledging to wear the badge until members of the body condemn Hamas “atrocities,” in a move quickly disavowed by the head of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
“Some of you have learned nothing in the past 80 years. Some of you have forgotten why this body was established,” envoy Gilad Erdan said, as he denounced the Security Council for “staying silent” over the unprecedented deadly attacks by Hamas Palestinian militants against Israel on October 7.
The deeply divided 15-member council has not adopted a single resolution on the three-week-long war between Israel and Hamas, angering both Israeli and Palestinian officials.
“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,” Erdan said.
“Just like my grandparents, and the grandparents of millions of Jews, from now on my team and I will wear yellow stars,” he said, standing up to affix one on the breast of his suit inscribed with the words “Never Again,” in reference to the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis.
He wears it “as a symbol of pride,” Erdan said.
“We will wear this star until you wake up and condemn the atrocities of Hamas.”
The stunt was quickly called out by Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum director Dani Dayan, who said it “dishonors 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,” Dayan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“We are masters of our destiny. Today we place a blue-white flag on the lapel, not a yellow patch,” Dayan added.
Unnamed Foreign Ministry officials also slammed Erdan’s display, saying the move was not coordinated with the Israeli mission or ministry and was potentially harmful to the country’s efforts to explain the war, the Ynet news site reported.
One of the officials labeled the act as a “cheap gimmick that doesn’t serve our goal and doesn’t serve Israel.”
“Beyond the disdain he has shown about the value of the Holocaust, I do not see how his colleagues at the UN will now take his arguments seriously. If a person in his position wants to convince the world, he shouldn’t adopt cheap gimmicks” that serve only to provoke, the official said.
Others accused Erdan of embarking on a political campaign aimed at appealing to members of the ruling Likud party, of which he is a member, Ynet reported.
For weeks, the Security Council has been riven by divisions over the war and its impact, rejecting four draft resolutions about the conflict.
Some texts were blocked by the United States, a close Israel ally, because they did not mention Israel’s right to defend itself.
Another presented by the Americans was stymied by Russia and China in particular because it did not clearly call for a ceasefire.
In light of the impasse, the UN General Assembly last Friday adopted by a large majority a non-binding resolution requesting an “immediate humanitarian truce,” but not mentioning Hamas.
Israel, through Erdan, blasted the text, saying it will “go down as infamy.”
During Monday’s Security Council meeting, several speakers, while denouncing the Hamas attacks, highlighted the price paid by inhabitants of Gaza, where health officials say more than 8,300 people have been killed in the Hamas-run territory. Those numbers have not been verified and are believed to include civilians killed by errant missiles fired by terror groups as well as Palestinian terrorists killed by Israel.
Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, said the siege of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of its residents.