Radical Islam’s Threat of Genocide Against the Jews

Read here the remarks by the Representative of Israel to the Fourth Stockholm Conference on the Prevention of Genocide

Your excellency, the Prime Minister of Sweden, distinguished heads of state and heads of government, esteemed heads of delegations,

We have gathered here in Stockholm for the fourth time, since 1998, in order to confront one of the greatest scourges to afflict humanity, namely genocide.

I address this conference as the representative of the Jewish people, whose centuries of persecution and suffering reached their apogee during the Shoah, the Holocaust; an event which led to the explicit coining of the term "genocide", by the international jurist Raphael Lemkin.

I address this conference as the representative of the State of Israel, which arose phoenix like from the ashes of the Shoah, and which for most of its short history, has itself been threatened with extermination.

I also have the honor to address this conference as the representative of "Yad Vashem", Israel’s national institution for the commemoration of the Shoah, which has played a leading role in educating generations of teachers and historians; that the lessons of the Shoah may be learned by all of mankind. Hence, our concern with genocide and its prevention is not theoretical; it is an issue which concerns us as a people and as individuals on a constant basis.

The Bible records, mythically, the first murder in human history, that which was perpetrated by Cain against his brother Abel. In that scenario god asks Cain "where is your brother?" He concludes his investigation with the thundering judgment "your brother’s blood cries out from the earth." Truly this is the typology of genocide.

"Where is your brother?" We know that genocide occurs when the perpetrators believe that no one is watching. That no one knows or cares about that which has befallen "his brother". We also have learned, in the course of the last 58 years that attempts to ignore this phenomenon are futile. The blood of our brothers will continue to cry out from the earth until the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.

The challenge that confronts us is how to prevent conflicts from reaching the genocidal stage to begin with and how to intervene effectively when necessary. Experience has taught us that once the orgy of violence and murder begins it may already be too late.

First, we must recognize that words do matter. Before physical violence begins, the stage is usually set by a constant verbal assault on, and dehumanization of, the nationality, ethnic group or race in which has been targeted. Nazi propaganda against the Jews was predicated on this premise and sowed the seeds for mass murder. Unfortunately, others have followed this paradigm in subsequent years. This propaganda barrage is not a secret; it is orchestrated in the media with incitement coming from the highest levels. It is at this stage that firm intervention may prevent violence.

Second, we must be prepared to honestly report that which will become invariably evident. States which respect themselves cannot and should not evade the obvious by requiring field reports to be phrased euphemistically. It is therefore imperative that an international warning mechanism be in place, to report on activities which may constitute genocide in an expeditious and forthright manner.

Third, forces which are dispatched to guarantee the safety of endangered civilians must be given the logistical and political support to accomplish these goals. It must be made clear to the commanders in the field that the success of their mission will be judged by the manner in which atrocities are prevented and thwarted.

Fourth, the political and military leaders who instigate and supervise genocide must be put on notice, at the earliest possible instance, that they will be held responsible for their actions.

I wish to return to the first point which I have made, namely that words do matter. We in Israel have been concerned with an upsurge in hate speech directed against Jews, over the last three years. This phenomenon reached its apogee recently when the Syrian produced television series "Al Shataat" (Diaspora) chose to resurrect the evil, heinous, and false accusation of ritual murder which has dogged the Jewish people since the middle ages. This television series was carried by the Hezbollah TV. station, "Al Mannar", which is broadcast from Lebanon and is readily accessible here in Europe, through a European satellite service. Everyone in this room knows the inevitable and tragic results of hate propaganda such as this.

It is important to realize that this despicable example of hate propaganda is unfortunately not unique, nor did it occur in a vacuum. Hatred such as this is not the exclusive provenance of known terrorists such as Al-Qaida or Hezbollah. Allow me to quote from the sermon of Sheikh Abd-el Rahman al-Sued, imam of the central mosque of Mecca, who in may 2002 described the Jewish people thus: "(they are) infidels, worshippers of calves, murderers of prophets, who attempted to murder the prophet Mohammed."

He goes on to say that the Jews "falsify prophecies, are the scum of mankind, are corrupt, mendacious and treacherous."

He ended his sermon with this plea for "brotherhood", beseeching Allah that "the Jews along with all of the other idol worshippers be utterly destroyed and that god use his sharp instruments upon them."

These are the words of one of the foremost Saudi clerics, spoken at a mosque at the center of the Islamic world.

The Saudi cleric, Mohammed Salah el-Munjeed, stated: "How can Moslems not be joyful when in the killing of Jews and infidels? Allah will surely gladden the hearts of his followers as they kill and destroy all of them (the Jews)." Esteemed delegates, do not think for a minute that such genocidal rantings target only the Jews. There are reputable clerics in the Moslem world, such as Sheikh Youssef Kardawi, who dream of "returning to Europe as conquerors."

There are others who condemn democracy as a heretical belief (with all that this entails in the Islamic world). In their view democracy merely enshrines the collective will of mankind, in opposition to Islam which is God’s revealed truth.

I am sorry to say that this is just a sample of some of the prevailing trends in current Islamic theology.

Words do lead to deeds! Is it any wonder that the world has to now confront suicide bombers, who target Russians and Americans, Turks and Australians, when these are the "spiritual teachings" which have gained credence in the Islamic world.

There can be no excuse for this type of rhetoric; neither can there be any understanding of the "underlying political causes" of such murder inducing filth. If there is a message that should go forth from this conference it should be that even in the realm of an adversarial relationship between states and peoples, there are lines which no one dares cross.

We all know that freedom of speech is a basic human right. Yet this right is not absolute, and it certainly doesn’t trump the most basic of all human rights, the right to live. Many jurists now believe that the decision of the united states supreme court, one of the most zealous defenders of freedom of speech, in the 1969 landmark case of Brandenburg versus Ohio which stated that free speech was no defense in the face of "advocacy directed to producing or inciting imminent lawless (violent) action", can be applied against the terrorist threat.

We have seen the deadly results of hate speech, in Auschwitz and in New York; in Jerusalem and in Moscow; in Bali and in Mombasa. Those who believed that the issue of political mass murder could be confined to the so called Third World have been rudely awakened. The question is, having been suddenly aroused from our slumber, are we prepared to do what must be done to ensure all of humanity’s safety, security and prosperity.