Monday, January 21, 2008


The First "Core Issue": Incitement - Elihu Richter (Jerusalem Post)

  • Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that it was words, not machinery, that produced Auschwitz. Incitement and hate language are early warning signs of genocidal intent by their perpetrators. If the rocks, daggers, guns, suicide bombs, Kassams and long-range missiles are the hardware of today's terror threats to Israel, it is the incitement that is the software.
  • An end to state-sponsored incitement to terror belongs right on top of the negotiating agenda, before any discussions on borders, settlements, refugees, Jerusalem, and all the other issues. The first "confidence-building measure" should be ending incitement, cutting off funding for those spreading such incitement, and prosecuting those who propagate hatred, not only in the PA, but its hinterland in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
  • It is state-sponsored incitement, and not what is whispered between diplomats, that signals the intentions of states or their surrogate organizations. The blowback from "the street" makes the decision-makers captive to such messages. So long as incitement warps the minds of coming generations, no diplomatic solution of the conflict between Israel and the Muslim world will be sustainable.
  • Israel should be demanding an end to funding by U.S., EU and UN agencies of all educational institutions that tolerate or issue hate language. Until Saudi Arabia and Egypt put an end to the propagation of the ugly anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish motifs in their mosques, texts, universities and media, neither should have any credibility as a participant or intermediary in any peace process.
  • The road map explicitly calls for an end to incitement as an essential precondition for all future agreements. Official monitoring, reporting and sanctioning of incitement are the essential next steps to eradicating this fundamental obstacle to peace and threat to human life.

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