Large-scale exterminations of a religious or ethnic group usually don't "just happen" haphazardly. Long gone are the days in which wild-eyed pagans would run amok on whims, slaughtering innocents on a moment's notice. Contemporary annihilation campaigns have tended more to resemble fund-raising campaigns, requiring a great deal of premeditation and organization intended to make the horrific thinkable, indeed "acceptable," to national, and sometimes world, opinion.
After modern-day mass murder has occurred, sometimes hindsight helps identify a turning point where the groundwork for legitimizing the unspeakable had been firmly laid. In the case of the Holocaust, for example, the passage of the Nuremberg Laws, or perhaps Kristalnacht, can be said to have played that role.
That some Palestinians and many of their Islamist fellow travelers seek nothing other than, as "twentieth hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui forthrightly put it in federal court this week, "the destruction of the Jewish people and state" is too obvious a point to belabor. But in the current drive of the jihadists to make that destruction a reality, the conceptual stage necessary to achieve it was strengthened by a little-noted action taken by some well-known members of the "community of nations."
On April 15, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, citing Israel's manifold human rights violations, but with nary a mention of Palestinian terrorism, passed a resolution supporting the use of "all available means, including armed struggle" to achieve Palestinian statehood. The two-week period surrounding that vote was an unusually hectic time for the Commission. During that short time-span, the group, in quick succession, voted not to condemn both Zimbabwe and Iran for arbitrary executions and torture, as well as violence against women and minorities, and only by razor-thin votes managed to express concern over the human rights situations in the Sudan and Cuba, respectively. The anti-Israel vote, by contrast, was 40-6, with 7 abstentions.
The resolution actually endorses the use of terrorism to further the Palestinian cause.
Far from being a garden-variety Israel-bashing move of the sort that has been de rigueur at the U.N. for decades, the resolution is unprecedented in two respects.
First, it explicitly legitimates -- actually, endorses -- the use of terrorism to further the Palestinian cause.
There may be some countries that, like Belgium, voted for the resolution because it "could be seen as a call for peace." To see it that way, one would best stand at a vantage point somewhere in Lewis Carroll's Wonderland.
But this much is clear: Yasser Arafat certainly reads the Commission's phrase "by all available means, including armed struggle" as an invitation to murder and mayhem.
Perhaps more importantly, those who joined the Islamic bloc countries to vote in favor of blowing up women and children at malls and Seder tables extended beyond the usual suspects like co-sponsors China, Cuba and Vietnam. This time, six European Union nations joined them voted that way as well. The six moral dwarfs by name: Austria, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
That Austria, which spawned a certain Fuhrer and, decades later, elevated one of his soldiers to its presidency, would vote this way might not surprise greatly. Nor ought we be particularly astounded that the folks who brought us Torquemada and the auto-da-fe -- Spain and Portugal -- would cast a cold eye against the Jews. As for France, of which Jews have such fond memories labeled Dreyfus and Vichy and on whose streets les Juifs must now be as afraid to walk as in the Damascus bazaar, there's no cause for wonderment in its vote either. But Sweden, proud member of the Scandinavian peninsula of tolerance and neutrality?!
We need not be overly disheartened, though, over Sweden's action. The Swedish ambassador reassures us that, in fact, his country supported the resolution "without joy" but that, to its deep chagrin, "the sponsors did not want to accept further improvements to the resolution."
Thus, it was with an apparently heavy and conflicted heart that the Swedes decided to sign on. It may be small comfort for some, but next time, God forbid, a bomb explodes in Haifa or Hadera, know that somewhere, far off to the North, are some Swedish diplomats who regard the events "without joy."