The UN, Europe, the Holocaust, and the Jews
What is genocide? In Israel, the Israelis knock down buildings and try not to kill people. The Palestinian population, although not growing as fast as Palestinian propaganda would have, is still markedly expanding. (See here for an article discussing the fact that Palestinians used faked numbers to convince the Israelis that they were going to be swamped by a huge Palestinian baby boom.) Nevertheless, Israeli is repeatedly accused of commiting genocide against the Palestinians. (You can find your own links to this one. I'm not going to dignify the trash-bearing websites that make this charge by linking to my own blog.) By the way, just for contrast, keep in mind that the Nazi's successfully slaughtered two-thirds of the entire European Jewish population. (If you'd like a good primer on this depressing subject, check out the Holocaust Encyclopedia.) Now, contrast what is going on now in Israel with what is going on in the Sudan, where the Sudanese government has slaughtered 70,000 people, and evicted more than 2 million. Sounds pretty brutal to me but -- and this is where you have to follow things very carefully -- this is not genocide:
A UN report has said Sudan's government and its militia systematically abused civilians in Darfur - but it stopped short of calling the violence genocide. It said those responsible should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Where genocide is found to have taken place, signatories to a UN convention are legally obliged to act to end it. The report also said rebel forces in Sudan's western region had committed serious human rights violations. More than 70,000 people have been killed and two million forced to flee their homes in Darfur since February 2003. Khartoum denies arming the pro-Arab Janjaweed militias and blames Darfur's rebel groups for starting the conflict. The report was initiated in October by the UN Security Council which had asked Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up a commission to investigate alleged human rights violations in Darfur. 'The commission found that [Sudan's] government forces and militias conducted indiscriminate attacks,' the report by the five-member commission said. It said those included 'killing of civilians, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, throughout Darfur'. The commission concluded that the Sudanese government 'has not pursued a policy of genocide', but added that the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur might be no less serious. It said some individuals - including government officials - may have committed 'acts with genocidal intent'. However, it did not name names. Genocide is defined as intent to destroy a group on national, ethnical, racial or religious grounds.This heinous story is coupled in my mind with the hypocritical observations of the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation. I say hypocritical because the same governments that sent wreath layers to Auschwitz are presiding over some of the worst anti-Semitism in their countries since WWII. It's also coupled with the point I made above, which is that the left has coopted the Holocaust and is using it against Israel. (I'm not even going to get into PETA's use of the Holocaust in advertisements comparing chicken deaths to Jewish deaths.) And lastly, it mixes in my mind with the Prince Harry debacle -- not a rather dumb 20 year old's idiocy in dressing like his country's most-recent and worst enemy, but the fact that the "punishment" for being stupid was that people were talking about forcing him to go to Auschwitz. Yeah, a forced trip to Auschwitz as a punishment -- that will certainly get Harry's sympathy juices flowing. All of this leads to my belief that it's time for the Jews to take the Holocaust out of the public domain and bring it to being a purely Jewish memorial. The Holocaust is being so horribly cheapened and degraded by much of the public that Jews, rather than continuously trying to force it on the ignorant, should simply remove it from discourse. Nothing we can do will make the Holocaust deniers cease their denial, especially as more and more of the people who actually witnessed the Holocaust are dying. And given that the Holocaust is now being used to describe the effects on an otherwise booming population of destroying buildings, or even the death of chickens, while it will not be used to describe the slaughter of 70,000 Sudanese innocents, it's clear that, in the realm of public discourse, the Holocaust's potency has been depleted, if not destroyed. Nothing can therefore be gained if well-meaning people and groups (ranging from Prince Charles, trying to punish his son, to the estimable Simon Wiesenthal organization), keep trying to make people accept something which they are no longer capable of understanding. I know that someone is going to read this and say that I'm trying to shut down the Simon Wiesenthal center or that I'm trying to deny the Holocaust myself. I'm not. I'm just saying that the Simon Wiesenthal center should continue doing its good work, that the Holocaust Museum in D.C. should continue to exist, but that the Holocaust can no longer be a working part of modern political discourse.