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December 29, 2014 / 7 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘genocide’

Iran’s Unhidden Plan for Genocide: A Legal Right to Prevent Genocide? (Second of Three Parts)

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Originally published under the title “Iran’s Unhidden Plan for Genocide: A Legal Assessment (Second of Three Parts).” 

On June 7, 1981, Israel launched Operation Opera against Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor outside Baghdad. Officially, this preemptive attack on Osiraq – which ultimately saved a great many American and other lives ten years later, during the first Gulf War, was an expression of anticipatory self-defense. Interestingly, however, because Iraq had always considered itself to be formally at war with Israel, the Jewish state could just as easily and correctly have regarded this essential act of preemptive self-defense as something else.

Back in 1981, taking an alternative legal position, Prime Minister Menachem Begin could have justified Operation Opera as a permissible tactical action in the wider context of a longstanding and ongoing belligerency. Had he done so, Israel could then have pointed out that both of the pertinent legal obligations applying here had also been fully satisfied. These are the always twin obligations of “just cause” (facing an existential threat), and “just means” (minimizing collateral harms). To be acceptable, any act of anticipatory self-defense would have to fulfill classic law of war expectations that the means used to injure an enemy are not unlimited.

Jurisprudentially, it is significant that Begin chose, explicitly, to link Operation Opera to preventing, in his words, “another Holocaust.” Historically, of course, the rationale of including anticipatory self-defense under customary international law had been the prevention of aggression, not genocide. Logically, it was not until 1951, when the Genocide Convention first entered into force, that the legal question of defensive first strikes to forestall such crimes against humanity could even have been raised.

After the Holocaust, and subsequent Nuremberg Trials, it became plain that the prerogatives of sovereignty in world law could no longer remain absolute, and that the once-legitimate cover of “domestic jurisdiction” would now have to exclude certain crimes against human rights. With this very fundamental transformation, individual human life was to be held sacred everywhere, and individual states were no longer automatically precluded from entering into the “territorial sphere of validity” of other states. On the contrary, from then on the traditional norm of “non-intervention” would need to yield to indisputably compelling judgments of “international concern.”

It was now the reasonable expectation that all states, either individually or collectively, would acknowledge a distinct and overriding legal obligation to prevent Nuremberg-category crimes (after 1951, crimes of genocide) in other states, even to the extent of undertaking active intervention within those sovereign states.

This critical obligation was strongly reinforced at Articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter, a core document that has the formal status of a multilateral treaty. Today we speak of all such permissible interventions as “humanitarian.” Sometimes diplomats and scholars prefer the closely related term “The Responsibility to Protect.”

Whichever term is preferred, the international legal order now accepts and expects that all states will feel co-responsible for each other, including the prevention of genocide and certain corollary crimes against humanity. Examples of this collaborative expectation, a concept that makes incontestably good sense in our still-anarchic system of world law – a system that first came into being in 1648, when the Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War and that has yet to be replaced with genuinely effective supra-national legal institutions – can be found in at least four prominent post-Holocaust cases:

(1) the Tanzania-led invasion of Uganda in 1979, which put an end to Idi Amin’s almost decade-long genocide against the Acholi and Langi tribes;

(2) the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979, which put an end to the Khmer Rouge mass murder of almost 2,000,000 people, a genocide that had targeted several diverse populations along many different ethnic, cultural, and tribal lines;

(3) the 1971 genocide against Bengali people, the “Bangladesh Genocide,” which covered an area then originally known as “East Pakistan,” and that was finally stopped by massive Indian military intervention; and

(4) the 1994 invasion of Rwanda by Tutsi rebels who had been “hosted” in neighboring Burundi, and also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This genocide, perpetrated largely by Hutu extremists (the interahamwe) produced almost 1,000,000 deaths in ninety-days, making it the “fastest” genocidal mass murder in human history. It is also infamously noteworthy because the European powers, the United States, and the United Nations had all abandoned every shred of responsibility for humanitarian intervention or the responsibility to protect.

Iran Charges Israel with ‘Genocide’ at IAEA Meeting

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

U.S., Canadian and Australian officials stalked out of a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog when the Iranian envoy accused Israel of genocide on Wednesday.

Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stormed out of the meeting in Vienna on Wednesday after Ali Asghar Soltaneh made the accusation, Reuters reported, as did Canadian and Australian officials.

Macmanus earlier had accused Iran of “deception, defiance and delay” in its dealing with the agency.

The meeting Wednesday comes weeks ahead of a renewed effort at talks in Istanbul by major powers, led by the United States, to negotiate terms with Iran to make more transparent its nuclear program.

Western powers and Israel believe Iran is close to being able to manufacture a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, and Soltaneh repeated these denials on Wednesday, calling the accusations “baseless.”

The UN Plan For ‘Palestine’: Terror Without End

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Editor’s note: This article appeared in print under the title, “The U.N. Plan For ‘Palestine’ and its Aftermath (Fourth of Four Parts).” Find part one here, part two here, and part three here.

“NAIL IN BRAIN; nail in heart.” For a time, such graphic labels attached to X-Rays in Israeli hospitals had become routine. Several years ago, a victim of Palestinian suicide terror arrived at Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva with nearly fifteen nails and metal fragments embedded in his body. One of the “merely wounded,” this thirty-one year old man had multiple shrapnel penetrations along the left-side of his body and second and first-degree burns on the left side of his face and chest, on his hands, and on his left leg. His injuries required five types of surgery. After regaining consciousness, he was weaned from a ventilator and now – in 2013 – still faces additional years of painful rehabilitation.

What kind of people fighting for “national self-determination” inflicts such harms on defenseless noncombatant populations, and then cheers the most awful casualties in gleeful ceremonies conducted with their own young children? What kind of an America or U.N. General Assembly could ever accept such harms as understandable, or even permissible? Is there any reasonable way in which any civilized international community could justifiably equate the search for self-determination of such a people with the victims of the Holocaust?

Palestinian terror seeks national self-determination but shouts endlessly to the world that even after statehood violence will continue against “The Jews.” Significantly, every map of every Palestinian group features a new Arab state (the 23rd) that incorporates all of Israel. Therefore, not only Hamas but also “moderate” Fatah has already exterminated Israel cartographically.

Terrorism has brought suffering throughout the world, but Palestinian terrorism in particular will remain fiendishly unique even where it is manifestly counterproductive. Given the opportunity, it is probable that, ultimately, Palestinian terror groups will seek to exploit the particular horrors that still lie latent in weaponized pathogens and/or fissile materials. Earlier, in Latin America, groups such as MRTAand Sendero Luminoso (“Shining Path”) had resorted to extensive bloodshed in a more or less class-based fight for social, economic and political equality.

But their violence was plainly instrumental, and limited by specific objectives. Their ultimate goals had nothing to do with genocide. In Peru, moreover, whenever Sendero Luminoso exploded bombs in cars and buses, the citizens themselves uniformly condemned the terror.

If undertaken by Palestinians, who would openly condemn bioterrorism against Israel? Certainly President Obama would, but to what end? The proper position of any American president seeking peace in the Middle East must be to prevent war and terror, not to use American resources after the fact to help bury the dead.

All Palestinian terror groups are relentlessly determined to use violence against noncombatants, even on those occasions where it is plainly unsuitable for political gain. To these organizations, “Palestine” refers to all of Israel proper, as well as to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. As for Palestinian civilian populations, they still regularly applaud even the most heinous forms of anti-Jewish terrorism.

When, years back, two lost Israelis were lynched outside a P.A. “police station” in Ramallah, a mob of literally thousands danced a frenzied bacchanal on top of the mutilated bodies. This is undeniable. We know this because of the heroic film work done that day by an Italian television crew in the area.

What defensible human emotions can move a mob of “ordinary” Palestinians to torture, gouge out the eyes of, beat and then burn two utterly helpless human beings? What, one must inquire, was more incomprehensible that October morning in Ramallah, the elbows-deep-in-blood attacks launched by a desensitized people, or the spontaneously twisted celebrations of the multiple Arab bystanders?

Arab women as well as men could not contain the ecstasy of their cruel involvement. What kind of human beings can commit the horrors that Palestinian mobs inflicted on that terrible day upon Vadim Norjitz and Yossi Avrahami? While the answers to these questions are complex, they have a great deal to do with understanding the incessantly distinctive barbarism of Palestinian terror groups, a barbarism that now frequently manifests itself in intra-Palestinian battles between Fatah and Hamas as well.

The UN Plan For ‘Palestine’: The Motive for Terror

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Editor’s note: This article appeared in print under the title, “The U.N. Plan For ‘Palestine’ and its Aftermath (Third of Four Parts).” Find part one here, and part two here

The Genocide Convention is not the only authoritative criminalization that can and should be invoked against the interminable and illegal Palestinian calls for the mass murder of Jews in their own state.

The1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination could also be brought productively into play. This treaty condemns “all propaganda and all organizations which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form,” obliging – at Article 4(a) – state parties to declare as “an offense punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons.”

Article 4(b) affirms that state parties “Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offense punishable by law.”

Still further authority for curtailing and punishing Palestinian calls for the genocidal destruction of Jews can be found at Article 20(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”

By definition, of course, all terrorist groups emphasize violence and the use of force, but the Palestinian groups are distinctive in several important ways. Most significant of all is that, for the Palestinians, violence is sometimes its own reward. Often rejecting more demonstrably instrumental views of force, Hamas, PA, and other movement organizations have on occasion come to celebrate and justify terror violence as an end in itself. The doctrinal root of this dark sentiment lies in their common and fundamentally religious hatreds.

President Obama and other leaders still do not understand that Israel is despised by Palestinian populations because it is Jewish. In fact, Israel’s occasional capitulation to Arab terror tends to elicit even greater Palestinian loathing, as such surrender behaviors merely confirm the prevailing Islamist view of the Jew as coward. When Haj Amin al Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, spoke together with Hitler on Berlin Radio in 1942, he cried out: “Kill the Jews – kill them with your hands, kill them with your teeth – this is well pleasing to Allah.”

Today the P.A./Fatah/PLO calls for annihilation of Israel, always denied publicly by the allegedly moderate Abbas whenever he speaks with the Americans, still remains undisguised at assorted P.A. websites and publications. The Hamas Covenant,of course, still calls insistently for the “realization of Allah’s promise: ‘The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, killing them.’ ”

In the final analysis, for the Palestinians and for the Arab/Islamic world as a whole, the “Zionist Problem” is merely a surface manifestation of what is, for them, truly intolerable: This is the “Jewish Problem.”

Recently a prominent Palestinian “intellectual” wrote in Al-Ahram:

We are all,once again, face to face with the Jewish Problem, not just the Zionist Problem; and we must reassess all those studies which make a distinction between ‘The Jew’ and ‘The Israeli.’ We must redefine the meaning of the word ‘Jew’ so that we do not imagine that we are speaking of a divinely revealed religion…. we cannot help but see before us the figure of the great man Hitler, may God have mercy on him, who was the wisest of those who confronted this problem, and who, out of compassion for humanity, tried to exterminate every Jew, but despaired of curing this cancerous growth on the body of mankind. In all world politics, but especially in the Islamic Middle East, the ultimate form of power is power over death. Directed toward Jews, the violence of Palestinian terrorism is always “sacred” violence, and it is always oriented to eternal life for the terrorist. Unlike most other terrorists, the Palestinian movement fighters openly aspire to immortality. Paradoxically, that is why they enthusiastically commit uniquely homicidal forms of “suicide.”

Israeli Citizen to Be Turned in for Crimes against Humanity in Bosnia

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Aleksandar Cvetkovic, who allegedly took part in the massacres of Muslim population – Bosnian area of Srebrenica, Bosnia, was arrested and will be extradited to Bosnia to be prosecuted on suspicion of genocide, Israel’s Supreme Court decided on Thursday.

Cvetkovic was arrested in January, 2011, after a Bosnian court issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity during massacres that took place in July, 1995. The “Srebrenica massacre” involved transporting hundreds of Bosnians to a farm where they were shot and buried in mass graves. That massacre has been recognized by the international community as genocide.

The Israeli judge ruled that Bosnia must meet conditions that will ensure Cvetkovic’s safety, otherwise he would not be extradited. Accordingly, the judge ruled that the Bosnia government must hold him in a separate, secure wing, and allow him to receive visits of the Israeli Consul. Also, should he be found guilty, his punishment must be in line with the protocol established by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Bosnian authorities estimates the number of victims murdered in the farm at between 1,000 and 1,200 Bosnian Muslim men. The farm murders were part of the overall campaign waged by the Serb-Bosnian armed forces against the Muslim population of the Srebrenica enclave, during which 7,500 people were killed.

Cvetkovic, 42, immigrated to Israel with his Jewish wife and children in 2006 and received Israeli citizenship. According to the investigation material provided to the Israeli prosecution, Cvetkovic was part of the eight-soldier firing squad that executed the Bosnian victims.

The Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina asked Israel back in August of 2010 to extradite Cvetkovic, after a court in Sarajevo had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Justice Minister Prof. Yaakov Neeman then decided to open extradition proceedings against him.

R. Shmuley and Rwandan FM Discuss Holocaust Denial and Israel

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

On Friday, “America’s Rabbi” Shmuley Boteach hosted a press conference with Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo for a discussion of holocaust and genocide denial and its peril to human rights worldwide. The discussion came on the morning following a vote to include Rwanda on the UN Security Council for 2013-2014.

The meeting touched on how much Rwanda has progressed economically, agriculturally, and technologically, as well as on women’s rights in the 18 years since the 1994 ethnic cleansing of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda.

The two ethnic groups are actually very similar – they speak the same language, inhabit the same areas and follow the same traditions. But the Tutsis are often taller and thinner than the Hutus. When the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916, they considered the Tutsis to be superior to the Hutus. The Tutsis enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than the Hutus.

Resentment among the Hutus built up, and when Belgium granted Rwanda independence in 1962, the Hutus took their place. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were portrayed as the scapegoats for every crisis. The decades of officially promoted hatred ended up in the mass genocide that started in 1993.

The meeting between Boteach and the foreign minister revealed how holocaust and genocide denial have become a political tool over the years and how the newly-voted seat on the Security Council will help the Rwanda enter into a positive new phase in its history.

The two also stressed the deep-rooted connection between the Rwandans and the Jewish people, given their tragic histories and their commitment to “a hopeful future absent of hate or recrimination.”

Mushikiwabo stated that when Rabbi Shmuley had met with President Kagame and her in New York a few weeks ago, Shmuley had spoken passionately of the importance of solidifying a closer relationship between Rwanda and Israel by having Rwanda open a permanent embassy in Israel. Mushikiwabo noted that Kagame had turned to her on the spot and said how much he agreed with Rabbi Shmuley about the establishment of an embassy. He asked the Foreign Minister to work on its creation as soon as possible. Mushikiwabo thanked Rabbi Shmuley for the role he played, saying Rwanda now plans to open an embassy in Israel within the next six months.

Rabbi Shmuley said, “As someone who is deeply committed to the connection between the Rwandan and Jewish people, I was so grateful to hear from my friend, Foreign Minister Mushikiwabo, that she and President Kagame have now taken the decision to open an embassy in Israel. Having witnessed firsthand this summer the pain and the rebirth of the Rwandan people, I was incredibly inspired by their warmth and their ability to come together as a unit in times of hardship, much in the way that the Jewish people have done for centuries.”

As We Care For Survivors, Don’t Forget The Damage Done To Their Descendents

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The words “Never Forget” have become synonymous with the Holocaust, but as the actual horror of the Holocaust starts to fade, it’s time we add to the mantra an addendum: “Never Ignore.”

As the events of 60 years ago start to slip into history, the suffering of those who survived the Holocaust has been a steadfast reminder of the atrocities of which humanity is capable if we do not keep ourselves in check. Their scars are front and center, their tattooed arms impossible to ignore. And helping them heal will be our cause even as they enter the last stages of their lives.

Yet as we focus on that generation, often lost are those whose pain will endure long after the last survivor is gone – the generations of their children and grandchildren who have been traumatized by growing up with the pain their families endured during the Holocaust and scarred by the trauma of growing up with those in post-Holocaust shock.

The tales of some survivors are certainly famous, but most suffered in silence, refusing to discuss their terror as they tried to protect their children from pain. Their children grew up with parents who never dealt with their own trauma, and the silence was often deafening and painful.

Some have been able to deal with the silence constructively, teaching about the Holocaust, not letting the world forget what happened. Some fight it by being vocal about genocide. Others research the genocide in attempt to understand what happened to their parents.

Yet thousands more simply suffer from psychological disorders such at PTSD, low self-esteem, and hoarding, according to such publications as the Cambridge Journal.

Take for instance “Anna,” a 35-year-old architect and grandchild of survivors, who suffers from a hoarding disorder.

Her apartment is packed with things she will not throw out. Every counter space is covered and every draw is bursting forward. She keeps a pair of shoes that she swears she threw out 26 months ago. Walk into her apartment, and you’ll find one thing: stuff. The more that is available, the more she keeps. She just can’t escape the need to hold on to stuff.

Yet she can’t let go of things that even she knows are meaningless junk, and she can tell you. Why? Because that is how her parents acted – and how can she throw away an old pair of shoes, when her grandparents would have died for a pair of shoes?

It’s time we begin paying attention to the thousands of children walking around today with these disorders.

That’s why Yeshiva University students who are third-generation Holocaust survivors, and who still live with the repercussions of the Holocaust, have created a forum in which we can address some of the unique challenges our generation faces, and learn how to finally move forward.

We are hosting a conference that will discuss in scientific and medical terms what many of us still endure because of the Holocaust. We want to ensure that our generation is informed and sensitive about how the pain of the Holocaust lives on even today.

On October 21, we will bring our issues to the forefront and publicly grapple with them at a forum at Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus that will include such speakers as Dr. Michael Grodin of Boston University, Irene Hizme, a survivor of Mengele’s experiments on twins, and renowned psychologist Dr. David Pelcovitz.

As descendents of survivors, we have are responsible for remembering the six million of our parents’ and grandparents’ generation who were needlessly killed. We know that we need to keep alive their message. After all, it is we who have been privileged to hear their first-hand accounts, and we must inform our children of what happened.

But with that responsibility comes a price that many of us have paid. It’s time that we teach about that as well.

Mordechai Smith and Yosefa Schoor are co-presidents of Yeshiva University’s Student Medical Ethics Society. Learn more at www.yumedicalethics.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/as-we-care-for-survivors-dont-forget-the-damage-done-to-their-descendents/2012/10/17/

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