- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Occasionally it’s educational to watch the United Nations embarrass itself. Since Jan. 27 marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, Rep. Tom Lantos, himself a Holocaust survivor, thought it would be a good time for the world’s foremost deliberative body, one which arose amid the ashes of World War II, to hold a special session of the U.N. General Assembly to commemorate the victims. But this is, after all, the United Nations, where not all 191 member nations see the Holocaust in such morally unambiguous terms.

Upon hearing of objections by Arab member nations, Mr. Lantos rightly lashed out. “I am appalled by what I understand is the opposition of some countries to this session, which reflects a degree of historical and mindless venom which is difficult to justify in the international arena,” Mr. Lantos said earlier this week. The California Democrat is being too diplomatic. Unfortunate as it is, the “international arena” is full of anti-Semitic despots, whose views on Hitler’s “final solution” are anything but condemnatory. Although the Arab League’s U.N. delegate said he is unaware of any opposition, Reuters has reported that the secretary-general himself has begun lobbying members for the initiative to pass and is “determined to do everything in his power to proceed with such a session.”

The cynic would say that the vote should be held now, immediately, if only to show just who isn’t appalled enough by one of mankind’s most horrific atrocities. But that isn’t what this is about. It’s a small act for the millions murdered to hold a day of appreciation. And yet Kofi Annan must apply the full weight of his office to get such a simple initiative passed.

A few days after American troops liberated the major death camp at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower spoke to those members of Congress and the press who had viewed the horrors. He told them: “You saw only one camp yesterday. There are many others. Your responsibilities, I believe, extend into a great field, and informing the people at home of things like these atrocities is one of them … Nothing is covered up. We have nothing to conceal. The barbarous treatment these people received in the German concentration camps is almost unbelievable. I want you to see for yourself and be spokesmen for the United States.”

Sixty years after the furnaces of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Treblinka and Dachau were extinguished, anti-Semitism is back on the rise, and not just among Arabs. The world should be reminded just how far certain hatred can go if not stopped dead in its tracks.



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