What about Anti-Semitism? Incitement Is the Root of the Arab-Israeli conflict.(OPED)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 10, 2002 | Go to article overview

What about Anti-Semitism? Incitement Is the Root of the Arab-Israeli conflict.(OPED)


Byline: Anne Bayefsky, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Yasser Arafat wasn't out on the streets courting the sympathy of the world's media for five minutes before he violated international law. "Israelis are Nazis and racists," he said. Incitement to racial hatred is a violation of the world's first major human rights treaty - the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the most basic standards of human dignity. For Mr. Arafat and his Middle East agenda, however, racism is a central weapon of war.

He has lots of like-minded friends. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in a recent speech in Boston, declared: "People are scared in this country [the U.S.] to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful, very powerful. Well, so what? . . . Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust."

Many would have us believe that this grotesque anti-Semitism is a side issue, a minor nuisance in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Unpleasant, insoluble, best avoided. But to ignore it, is to fail to understand the tools of the terrorists' trade.

Mr. Arafat, his agents and soul-mates, whether it be Fatah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, operate a two-part strategy. First, demonize the enemy as a racist. Second, advocate and justify eliminating that enemy by armed struggle, including suicide bombing.

The United Nations has proved to be the ideal breeding ground for this one-two punch. At the U.N. World Conference "Against" Racism in Durban last August, Palestinian and Arab participants succeeded in including in the final declaration the conclusion that Palestinians were victims of Israeli racism. Jewish delegates to the Durban non-governmental forum, of which I was one, saw our voices silenced and replaced by the condemnation of Israel as an apartheid state.

Step two has been the pitch by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Arab League, ever since September 11, in the General Assembly and the negotiations over a Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism, that armed struggle against Israeli racism is not terrorism. The point is repeatedly made by the Syrian ambassador from his U.N. Security Council platform.

This phenomenon is not a localized Arab problem. The U.N. Human Rights Commission recently passed a resolution specifically supporting the use of "all available means," that is violence, against Israelis in the name of human rights. The resolution got the votes of France and the holder of the current presidency of the European Union - Spain - as well as Russia.

Is it a coincidence that anti-Semitism is rampant in France? Europeans routinely claim the recent wave of anti-Semitism there is a consequence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and unresolved Palestinian grievances. …

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