Condoning Genocide


[..] The silence from the nations of the world in the face of this blatant endorsement of terror and incitement to genocide is deafening, giving the lie to oceans of pious rhetoric.

Just weeks ago, for example, the UN noted the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, established in 2005 by a General Assembly resolution. Once again, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for “rededication” to “applying the lessons of the Holocaust to our lives.”

Just what are those lessons? The late US Congressman Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, said what Ban should have said. Already too sick to attend the UN event, his daughter read his warning:

    “Just as an earlier dictator pledged to destroy the Jews of Europe, so a new one is threatening to destroy the Jewish state. It is the responsibility of the entire world community… to prevent another Holocaust, wherever it may occur, and to keep the memory of the killing of six million Jewish people alive as the State of Israel faces constant attacks, and must fight each day for its very survival.”

This, indeed, is the obvious, yet unspoken lesson for today. Iran openly backs Hizbullah, openly hosts Hamas leaders and openly calls for Israel’s destruction. Nor are these genocidal intentions “only” rhetorical. They are already being carried out in practice, in the form of daily missile attacks and other terrorist acts, ongoing weapons buildups and – topping it all off – through Iran’s race to full nuclear weapons capability.

The stunning global silence in the face of incitement to and preparation for genocide testifies to a belief that all this is “just” Israel’s problem – as if an existential threat to one small state is not of sufficient concern. Yet the eminent Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, in a discussion paper on the UN Web site, explains why, once again, a threat to the Jewish people is also a global one.

    “World War II… [was] initiated by Nazi Germany, largely for ideological reasons: one, the desire to rule Europe, and through it, the world, and thus achieve a global racial hierarchy… of the Aryan race on top, and everybody else under them… [Two,] they saw the Jews as the Satan that controlled all of Germany’s enemies… It is no exaggeration to say that World War II, and the death of tens of millions, the destruction of countries and cultures, the torture and death of children and adults, was caused in part by hatred against Jews,”

On Tuesday, Israel officially asked the UN Security Council to condemn Iran’s “direct and public incitement to commit genocide.”

Which nation will stand up and join us? How long will more than 130 parties to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which explicitly makes incitement to genocide a crime, continue to encourage Iran with their silence? Which leaders and nations will speak out and act – not only in Israel’s defense but in their own?

February 23, 2008 | Comments »

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