Dear Mr. President, the clock is ticking

An open letter to President Shimon Peres: Wake up! Stop errors of commission and omission re Iran.

August 20, 2012 14:44
4 minute read.
Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres 370. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

Dear Mr President,

I am writing to express my deep concern over your grave and grotesque errors of commission and omission concerning Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel.

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The error of commission is to speak in a way that emboldens Iran and its terror surrogates. Indeed, within hours of your public statements advising against military action, the leaders of Iran ratcheted up their hate language, incitement and genocidal threats to a level not even used by the Nazis. Past evidence shows that Iran’s leaders, like other perpetrators of crimes against humanity, are emboldened by signs of hesitation “out there.” They increase the pace of nuclear enrichment, incite more, export more terror, and execute more Iranians.

By contrast, they are chastened by signs of resolve. Still, the Iran of today — after more than 30 years of inter-generational genocidal indoctrination and suppression, is where public hangings are cheered by thousands, many bringing their children.

But my major concern is your error of omission. As someone who has worked in the field of genocide studies I am shocked that you as our president, have chosen to remain silent concerning the world’s failure to use the tools of international law to hold Iran’s leadership accountable for its crimes against humanity.

Several months ago, five of Israel’s leading jurists wrote to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressing their support for mobilizing international action to implement the detailed recommendations of the "Responsibility to Prevent Petition": the signers (in alphabetical order) are Professors Ruth Lapidot, Michla Pomerance, and Amnon Rubinstein and Dr. Meir Rosenne and former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar.

This petition states the case for indictment and prosecution of the Iranian leaders for four distinct but converging dangers: (1) their clandestine development of nuclear weapons and long-distance missile delivery systems, in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions; (2) their persistent and repeated explicit incitement to genocide against Israel (3) their decades-long support for murderous genocidal terror and (4) their cruel and inhuman suppression of human rights inside Iran. The first includes massive violations of many binding international decisions. The three others are crimes against humanity.

This petition has been signed by more than 100 leading jurists and political leaders from around the world; it has gained the endorsement of the Canadian House of Commons Sub- Committee on International Human Rights. It is similar to a resolution passed in the US House of Representatives in 2007 (HConRes21) by a vote of 411 to 2.

Your first responsibility, as Israel’s titular leader, should be to lead the international campaign to implement the recommendations of these documents. Doing so would advance the moral case for strong international action against Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel. Furthermore, emphasizing the link between Iran’s threats against Israel and oppression inside Iran (repression of dissidents, religious minorities and more) will produce new coalitions for Israel. By contrast, continued silence and inaction will only embolden Iran’s demonic leadership and its terror surrogates.

As Israel’s president, It is essential for you, especially now, to hold the nations of the world to the following moral principles and core values, which are:

1. The right to life itself is the first and most fundamental basis for all other human rights

2. Genocide is the most extreme assault on the right to life

3. Incitement to genocide itself leads to genocide, as it has been proven in the past, therefore, it itself is an assault on human rights. Combined with the nuclear threat, it poses unprecedented existential dangers. There should be zero tolerance for incitement.

4. The Iranian regime violates the human rights of its own people in a permanent and systematic manner, through executions of adults and minors, killing women by stoning, severe penalties for women for “criminal” violations of its dress codes, not following of women, imprisonment and convictions without trial, and persecuting political opponents and dissidents, religious and ethnic minorities and more.

Calling upon the nations of the world to advance the recommendations of the Responsibility to Prevent is the first essential and urgent step

Evil results from human choice and bystander inaction. Rather than chattering about the pros and contents on how Israel should have to cope with the threats of evil, you should prodding the nations of the world to use the existing tools of international law to remove these threats.

Israel should be leading the world wide coalition against the abuse of human rights. I call upon you, as our president, to lead this campaign. The fact that you have not done so until now is disgraceful.

The silence is shameful. The clock is ticking. If you do not speak out now and mobilize your enormous prestige for this campaign, then when? The clock is ticking, Mr. President!


Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH
Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention and [email protected]

In December 2005, immediately following Ahmadinejad's calls for Israel to disappear from the face of the earth, the author wrote to the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, to initiate indictment proceedings for incitement to genocide, based on the precedents from the Rwandan Tribunals.

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