He’s back. Yesterday, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York. For the next few days, there will be no avoiding his oily voice as he gives interviews on our airwaves and a speech before the United Nations. Once again, we’ll be subject to his torrent of lies, conspiracy theories and downright lunacy.
But don’t let the insanity fool you. This man knows what he wants, and he is ruthlessly pursuing it. Caught red handed in a series of crimes, he weaves impossible tales to divert our attention and avoid answering unpleasant questions. He talks about “planning to talk” about his nuclear program — as if such talks haven’t already been underway for years. As he speaks, we need to keep our eyes on his hands. His deeds betray him.
This year, Christians United for Israel will be playing a leading role in calling attention to Ahmadinejad’s evil deeds. His crimes – against his own people as well as Israel and the United States – are many. But one crime still stands out above the rest. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is guilty of the crime of incitement to genocide.
The fact is that Genocides do not occur spontaneously. They do not arise on a whim or after a dictator’s bad day. This ultimate crime against humanity requires extensive preparation and groundwork. And the most important element of this preparation is best described as “incitement” – teaching the general public that a particular group of people are subhuman, evil and deserving of destruction. In order to perpetrate the Holocaust, the Nazis had to first dehumanize and degrade the Jews. The Hutus had to dehumanize the Tutsis. The Serbians had to dehumanize the Bosnians. And so on.
Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is dehumanizing the Israelis. He portrays Israelis as monsters responsible for the world’s greatest atrocities. He lays the groundwork for the next Holocaust by accusing Jews of fabricating the last Holocaust, thus fueling the dangerous myth that Jews control not only the media but our very understanding of history. And – most significantly — Ahmadinejad has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel and its almost six million Jews off the map. By diligently working to acquire nuclear weapons, and by arming its proxies in Hezbollah and Hamas with missiles that can hit every major Israeli city, Ahmadinejad has made it crystal clear that his threats are by no means idle.
The international community has already recognized the special role that incitement plays in the crime of genocide, and it has already taken the important step of outlawing such behavior. In 1948 – a few years after the shocking discovery of the Nazi death camps — the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. To date, 140 nations — including Iran — have ratified this important agreement. The Genocide Convention outlaws not only the commission of genocide, but also “the direct and public incitement to commit genocide.” The Genocide Convention thereby empowers the international community to prevent future genocides by prosecuting the very actions that make genocides possible in the first place.
Tragically, however, those responsible for enforcing this law have lacked the vision and the courage to do so. Yes, international tribunals have prosecuted those guilty of genocide. But they have only done so after the fact, once the killing has ended. What is needed – what we must demand – is the vision and courage to apply these wise provisions before the incitement has yielded its poison fruit.
The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over violations of the Genocide Convention. And the United Nations Security Council has the power to refer such violations directly to that body. Thus CUFI has been circulating a petition calling upon United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and our UN Ambassador Susan Rice to refer the case of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the International Criminal Court for prosecution of his incitement to genocide. So far, over 110,000 people have signed. Tomorrow we will be releasing an important video promoting this petition – please be on the lookout for it and help us promote it.
Will this petition work? Will we have the pleasure of seeing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a defendant in the dock of the International Criminal Court? This will be an uphill battle. We must never underestimate the ability of the international community to shrink from strong action and coddle tyrants. But the long odds do not excuse silence. They difficulty of the challenge does not permit passivity. Whether it results in a prosecution or not, we must do everything in our power to call attention to Ahmadinejad’s crimes as he desperately seeks to hide them.
We do this for the sake of the Jewish people. We do this for the sake of America, which has also been threatened with destruction by Ahmadinejad. And we do this for the sake of humanity. The only way to prevent genocide is to stop incitement to genocide. If we can stop Ahmadinejad, we set a precedent that will deter all those who would seek to follow him. If we fail to stop him, we only embolden evil.
For the sake of those who died in the Holocaust he denies,
For the sake of those who would die in the Holocaust he threatens,
For the sake of all who could be victims of future genocides,
Please sign the petition to indict Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today. And please ask your friends and family to join you.
David Brog is the executive director of Christians United for Israel and author of a new book, In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity. You can follow David on Facebook by clicking here and on Twitter by clicking here.