Confront Ahmadinejad

Nothing prevents Israel from taking Ahmadinejad to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

Ahmadinejad wave 298.88 (photo credit: )
Ahmadinejad wave 298.88
(photo credit: )
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has applied for a visa to enter the US and address the upcoming UN General Assembly. Formally, Washington is "studying the matter." Past practice has been to allow the admission of foreign leaders - even of the extremely unsavory or inimical variety. What sets Ahmadinejad apart isn't his lust for nuclear might or even his Holocaust-denial. Ahmadinejad, in total contempt for the most basic tenets of the UN Charter, has repeatedly agitated for the obliteration of another state, a fellow-UN member. Ahmadinejad is an unabashed genocide-monger. The UN was founded to prevent genocide (the term having been coined following European Jewry's Holocaust). For that organization - troubled and ineffective as it already is - to now provide a platform for the would-be promoter of a new Holocaust is to negate its raison d'etre. Why should he be welcome in the UN? He is the embodiment of the threat that the UN should unite against. Unfortunately, bitter experience suggests that the UN will not, on its own, uphold its forgotten charter. It was only days ago, after all, that the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan traveled to Teheran and provided Ahmadinejad with the legitimacy of a meeting. But America, leader of the free world's struggle against the murderous extremism advocated and sponsored by Ahmadinejad's regime, has an opportunity - indeed a responsibility - to intervene. If the UN fails to declare Ahmadinejad, would-be obliterator of sovereign states, an unacceptable presence at its assembly, then the US should do the UN's work for it. It should make plain that it cannot issue a visa to Ahmadinejad, because if it did, it would have to arrest and prosecute him for incitement to genocide. As human rights activist and former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler told The Jerusalem Post this week, Ahmadinejad is in clear breach of the UN's post-WWII Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide - international legislation designed precisely to prevent the kind of mass-murder that Iran's president so relentlessly encourages. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, the US, like every state, has the right - Cotler says the duty - to take action against an offender in its jurisdiction. For its part, Israel can also initiate vigorous diplomatic and legal action. At a minimum, right now, Israeli should demand that the Iranian president not be granted the honor of attending the UN General Assembly. Israel should also be demanding that the UN suspend Iran's membership because of its undisguised genocidal designs against a member-state. Paragraph 6 of the UN's own charter stipulates that "a member of the UN which has persistently violated the principles contained in the present charter may be removed from the organization." As long as Iran fails to abide by the most basic of UN principles, it cannot continue to be treated as a state which upholds them. Were Israel to launch such an effort, it would reasonably expect to be joined by other fair-minded nations. Likewise, nothing prevents Israel from taking Ahmadinejad to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Other countries - Canada included, according to Cotler - are already contemplating such action. Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel has just joined a group of eminent Israeli legal scholars and public figures at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who plan to initiate legal proceedings against Ahmadinejad at the ICJ in a non-state framework. They additionally demand Iran's expulsion from the UN. The petitioners argue that "Iran's threat is not a potential or theoretical one... Iran today endangers the peace of the entire world." The group expresses sorrow that, despite Ahmadinejad's repeated threats to the Jewish people and their state, "the world remains silent, as it was 70 years ago." Issraeli leaders repeatedly state that, while our right to exist does not depend on the Holocaust, the archetypal genocide demonstrates the necessity of the Jewish state. This is the meaning of the "March of the Living," the IDF's flights over Auschwitz and the pilgrimage of every visiting dignitary to Yad Vashem. In this context, it should be obvious that calling for the prosecution of Ahmadinejad on the charge of incitement to genocide should not be left to private organizations and former diplomats, but should be led by the government of Israel. If the Jewish state does not lead the struggle for its own defense, who will?