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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.