We’ve long witnessed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – “the moderate” – naming public squares after Palestinian terrorists whose hands are dripping with Jewish blood. He posthumously bestowed the “Star of Honor” on Abu Jihad, the mastermind of the 1978 Coastal Road attack in which 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were killed, calling him “the model of a true fighter and devoted leader.” He named a public square after Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian woman who led the attack, in 2011. Last August, Abbas gave a hero’s welcome to Palestinian murderers who were stupidly released by Israel as a goodwill gesture.
We’ve also watched as Abbas has slowly become yet another Arab dictator who, once he is elected, ceases all elections. We’ve watched as Abbas has turned the PA into a kleptocracy, enriching his two sons Tarik and Yasser as they’ve illegally taken control of the cigarette, construction and other trades.
Now comes the news that Abbas’ response to last weeks’ shooting by a Palestinian terrorist of an Israeli- American activist in Jerusalem was to write to the murderer’s father praising him as a Palestinian hero.
All this from the Abbas who wants peace. The man Israel is supposed to be doing business with. The man who is not Hamas. The man who would lead a peaceful Palestinian state.
Last September, three days before he went before the United Nations and accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinians, Abbas spoke at Cooper Union’s Great Hall to a crowd comprised mostly of NYU students.
Many gave him a standing ovation as he repeated his blood libel about the Jewish state. And this in a university with more than 8,000 Jewish students.
Only one protest was staged outside the building that night. It was organized by my son Mendy, an NYU undergraduate, who wisely focused on the positive message of the American values of democracy, racial harmony and freedom of expression, and how Abbas contravenes all three.
Abbas is in the 10th year of his four-year term as president and has no plans to go to elections. In July 2013 he promised that no Jews would be allowed to remain in a Palestinian state. It would be Judenrein. And his PA continues the practice of Yasser Arafat before him of punishing independent news editors who may be critical of his leadership.
I was very proud of my son and his siblings and friends who joined him in the protest. The American campus is now a battleground for Israel, and how can a battle be fought without fighters? On November 17 we will go beyond that protest and organize a proper response in an evening panel featuring the greatest living Jewish personality and one of the three most respected people alive: Elie Wiesel, the living face of the Holocaust and the world’s most respected voice on genocide. Who better to respond to Abbas’s lie of an Israeli genocide against the Palestinians.
Prof. Wiesel has been my friend and I have been his disciple for 25 years. This past summer he and I published a full-page ad in the world’s leading newspapers that assailed Hamas for engaging in human sacrifice by intentionally firing rockets from schools and homes and encouraging Arab children to devote “their shoulders and bodies” to the Palestinian cause.
The world needs Prof. Wiesel’s voice right now as so much slaughter and human rights abuse take place around the globe. We also need to him to safeguard the word “genocide” – the most powerful in the English language – so that it is not abused by those with a political agenda, be they Jew-haters who wish to trivialize the Holocaust and compare Jews to Nazis, or tyrants like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who scapegoats Israel so as to conceal his destruction of Turkish democracy.
Holocaust denial started as an attempt to undermine the suffering of the Jewish people and delegitimize Israel.
For if the Jews of Europe were not exterminated, what were they doing coming from Germany and Poland to take away Arab land? Abbas himself wrote his shameful PhD thesis on Holocaust denial.
There was one problem, however. No matter how much anti-Semitic historians like David Irving and murderous tyrants like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran tried to deny the Holocaust, there were just too many Jews who died and too much evidence to suppress it.
So another idea arose. OK, millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis. But rather than the Jews becoming more humane and sensitive as a result, they have internalized the hatred of their tormentors. They have become Nazis themselves. They are engaged in the extermination and genocide of the Palestinians people.
Thus, ignoramuses like Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz along with self-hating Jews like Naomi Wolf and terrorist-lovers like Mahmoud Abbas have been parading the ultimate blood libel: that Jews are engaged in genocide.
What better way to destroy the State of Israel than to make it impossible to defend itself.
On November 17 I have also asked my close friend Professor Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, whose rabbi I was during his Rhodes scholarship at Oxford, to join our panel to help legally define the term “genocide” and give it moral and political context so as to impede its abuse.
Noah is one of the foremost public intellectuals and legal scholars in the world and played a central role in the formation of the Iraqi constitution. Noah and I do not agree on all things political. But few people are more respected as experts in the fields of human rights.
And we’re especially honored to have my friend Samantha Power, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, giving the introduction and special tribute to Elie Wiesel.
Samantha’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning work A Problem from Hell
is the foremost book on genocide ever published and influenced my life deeply. Since becoming ambassador Samantha has traveled to areas around the world where true genocides are taking place, like the Central African Republic and South Sudan, not to mention having just visited, at great personal risk, West Africa to help lead the world’s efforts to fight the Ebola virus. As our ambassador and voice the UN she is a great American light unto the nations.
When genocide is trivialized it is not just the six million of the Holocaust who suffer. It is the 1.5 million Armenians slaughtered by the Turks. It is the 2.5 million Cambodians murdered by the Khmer Rouge. It is the 800,000 Tutsis slaughtered by the Hutu. And it is all the innocent victims in Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo.
It’s time for people who truly care about human rights to start responding to those who use the murder of the others as a smokescreen to camouflage their despicable treatment of their fellow man.The author, “America’s rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 30 books including
Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Lived Life. He has just published Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer. Tickets for “Genocide and the Jews: A Never- Ending Problem” on November 17 are available at www.shmuley.com and www.thisworld.us. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.