Home Tags Genocide
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."
I call upon President Obama to honor his campaign pledge of 2008 to recognize the Armenian slaughter of 1918 by the Ottoman Turks for what it was - a genocide. I also ask my political opponent Bill Pascrell, to join me in a press conference and call upon the U.S. to put a $25 million bounty on the head of Bashar Assad for his arrest for crimes against humanity, and for the removal of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia so long as President Putin continues to protect Assad.
Purim is my favorite holiday, and I love to share the joy. I have spent previous years wandering around my neighborhood in costume. This year, I fully intend to celebrate with full cheer, and I want everyone to know why I plan to spend the day in costume, singing Shoshanat Yaakov at the top of my lungs.
Last April, NYU student Emily Harrold embarked on the production of a film exploring why The New York Times under-reported the Holocaust during the 1940s. Now, a little less than a year later, the project has expanded to more than twenty students.
Turkish PM responded to the bill with threats of additional sanctions on France.
Sixty-five years ago at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, 22 defendants stood in the dock. They represented a cross-section of Nazi diplomatic, economic, political and military leadership, and became the first people in history to be indicted for crimes against humanity.
If Toni Morrison, the Nobel-prize winning African-American novelist, could refer to Bill Clinton, a white man, as America's first black president, then surely we can take a reverse tack: Is it possible that Barack Obama is not the first real black president after all?
President Obama has hitherto accepted the language of a "moderate" Palestinian Authority. The PA and its associates are distinctly obligated to refrain from incitement against Israel. Going back even to the legal antecedents of the current peace process, the Interim Agreement (Oslo 2) stated, at Article XXII, that Israel and the PA "shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other...." In the Note for the Record, which accompanied the Hebron Protocol of January 15,1997, the PA reaffirmed its commitment regarding "Preventing Incitement and Hostile Propaganda, as specified in Article XXII of the Interim Agreement." Substantially familiar if more general reaffirmations can readily be found in the Road Map.
But what has all this to do with present-day Israel, the recent American elections, and the Obama Road Map? For a very long time, certainly for the past dozen years, specifically anti-Jewish and anti-Israel diatribes have been standard fare on Palestinian Authority, Syrian, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Hezbollah television. As for the Arab print-media, even in "moderate" Jordan, the general and unrelenting theme remains that Jewish "infidels" are distinctly less than human, basically degenerate and suitable only for sacrificial (terrorist) killing.
After the recent U.S. election, President Barack Obama unhappily conceded that he had suffered a "shellacking." For the most part, the president was referring to an obviously firm and far-reaching rejection of his domestic policies. Nonetheless, his personal influence has now been weakened generally, including in many areas of U.S. foreign policy. It is fair to ask, therefore, whether his oft-stated preferences for a "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East" (that is, creation of a Palestinian state out of the still-living body of Israel), and also for "a world free of nuclear weapons (that is, a world in which Israel would no longer be able to deter existential attacks) are still a matter of reasonable concern.
I was almost inexpressibly saddened to read the comments made week before last by President Obama at a Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. In a mostly lyrical and affecting speech, I very nearly missed the significance of the following key passage:
Our new president seemingly understands something of very great importance: The state of our union is intimately intertwined with the state of our world. Our fate as Americans will ultimately depend upon our willingness to identify more broadly and openly as citizens of the entire planet. Reciprocally, the fate of all others on earth will be impacted more or less by what happens next in American politics. But the final outcome of all such interdependence will be determined by what is ordinarily called "human nature."
The phenomenon of genocide is a uniquely human creation. Since the dawn of history, it has occurred on all the inhabited continents among diverse ethnic, religious, social and geographic groups. It has caused the deaths of more people than all the wars and individual murders combined. It is difficult to predict, to prevent or to limit. Its perpetrators mostly face impunity. In sum, genocide is as pervasive as it is intractable.
Some years ago, following one of the devastating suicide bombings in which small Jewish children were blown to bits, prominent Palestinian columnist Fahd al-Rimawi - then writing with obvious approval of Nobel Peace laureate Yassir Arafat in Amman's al-Majd newspaper, gleefully celebrated the monstrous act of terror:
The recent Annapolis "peace" conference - and President Bush's subsequent visit to the Middle East - shows that where Israel is concerned, there is still nothing new under the sun. Once again, fundamental Israeli rights were shamelessly subordinated to the presumed rights of all others, including even of openly Arab defiant terrorists now conveniently disguised as an "Authority." Once again, it seems, Israel had been called upon to offer land for nothing.
"The more things change," goes the well-worn maxim, "the more they remain the same." Readers of The Jewish Press are already well acquainted with now incessant Iranian calls for the annihilation of Israel. What might not be so apparent, however, is that such calls to "wipe Israel off the map" constitute a serious crime under international law.
From Arafat to Abbas, nothing fundamental has changed within the Palestinian Authority or in any of its sister terrorist organizations. In the prevailing Palestinian view, formal and informal, Israel remains the immutable focus of proposed eradication, although the language is usually more finessed and the tactics now more cleverly disguised.
We have an ugly name for people who commit the ugly crime of declaring that The Holocaust never happened - they are called 'deniers,' and have been successfully prosecuted both here and abroad.
While most of the world outside of Washington and Jerusalem chooses to ignore calls identifying Palestinian terrorism as attempted genocide, international law has an unswerving and renewed obligation to do so.
A comparable legal case could just as easily have been made on behalf of Israel. Still reeling from an organized chorus of barbarous calls for individual and collective Jewish annihilation, Israel itself must now continuously remind the world of its own incontestable and established rights to self-defense.