- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

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. Anti-Semitism is not a consequence. It is a cause. A festering sickness nurtured for years in European capitals.
It was Belgium's Foreign Minister Louis Michel, then spokesperson for the European Union, who in Durban negotiated the repeated deletion of specific proposals to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. In March the General Assembly deleted "anti-Semitism" as a specific concern of the U.N. Third Decade to Combat Racism. The European Union brokered the deal.
The incitement to racial hatred against Jews from the mouths of Mr. Arafat, the Saudi's British ambassador, Bishop Tutu, Osama bin Laden and Jean-Marie Le Pen, is not idle rhetoric. It is war-mongering by any other name.
Palestinian demonstrators and the Arab media routinely connect the Nazi swastika with the Jewish Star of David. When Mr. Arafat likens Israelis to Nazis, in the ultimate perversion of the reality of Israel as the refuge of the victims of Nazi persecution, it is not irrelevant hyperbole. It is incitement to hatred and violence. It is evidence of something other than peaceful intent, before or after the duplicitous signing of agreements.
President Bush asked after September 11, why do they hate us? Israelis have an answer to this question and it includes anti-Semitism. International conferences to discuss issues related to the security of the Jewish state, which ignore this motivation, raise the spectre of Munich 1938. Particularly when a durable peace requires not imposed solutions, but negotiations between the parties themselves, acting in good faith.
The storm clouds are already gathering. Secretary of State Colin Powell has ceded America's unique facilitator role to the "quartet," where the United States is now one of four. The other partners, the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia have never been neutral on outcomes in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United Nations is a propaganda machine for the Palestinian cause, as any reading of the voluminous material produced by the U.N. Division for Palestinian Rights will reveal. The EU readily sacrificed Israel in Durban after the United States walked out. Russian interests are transparent from their recent vote in the U.N. Human Rights Commission to delete the U.N. investigator into human rights violations in Iran.
One and the same actors fan the flames of anti-Semitism as they seek to isolate and censure Israel in international forums of every kind. Anti-Semitism is not a byproduct of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is a root cause. The cure is not appeasement, but the moral courage to say in the name of human rights no. No to the continuing attempt by Mr. Arafat, Arab states and the majority on the "quartet" to condemn and endanger the Jewish state.

Anne Bayefsky is visiting professor of law at Columbia University.


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