Editor’s note: Kenneth Timmerman’s new book, “Preachers of Hate,” uncovers an ancient hatred that threatens the life and livelihood of every American. In the book, Timmerman explains the “new” anti-Semitism that targets not only Jews, but Americans specifically and the West in general. The book details how Muslim leaders are not just encouraging hatred of Jews and the West, but are spending a great deal of money to spread the kind of vitriol that spawned the terrorists responsible for September 11.
This is the second of three excerpts from “Preachers of Hate” featured this week on WorldNetDaily. This installment describes the unmitigated hate for Jews and Israel displayed at a U.N. conference in South Africa. Part 1 examines the myth spread in the Muslim community that “the Jews” were responsible for the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Timmerman’s eye-opening book is available at ShopNetDaily.
The “ideological prologue” to September 11 was a raucous and hate-filled event that played itself out half a world away in Durban, South Africa, a normally stately and elegant coastal city along the Indian Ocean.
The third United Nations “World Conference Against Racism” was intended to counterbalance the G-8 summits so the “forgotten peoples” of the world could make their voices heard amid the clamor of globalization and international capitalism. Jesse Jackson was there, demanding that America pay trillions of dollars in reparations for slavery, an institution America led the world in abolishing more than 140 years ago. Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat were there, as were AIDS activists, homosexual groups, women’s rights organizations, former Communists, Maoists, environmentalists and animal-rights and global-warming activists.
In the end, neither Jesse Jackson nor anyone else said one word about actual slavery – the real kind, still going on today in Sudan. Nor was racism – the real kind, that led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Tsutsis in Rwanda – on the agenda. Anti-Semitic violence was not on the table, despite the continuing murder of Israeli civilians and foreign tourists in caf?s, restaurants and street markets and the desecration of Jewish synagogues across Europe.
The nations of the world and some 6,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had come together for a different purpose. It was so overwhelming that it united such otherwise opposing groups as radical Islamic fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Malaysia, and sexual libertarians and abortion-on-demand activists from Europe. It united Yasser Arafat, Jesse Jackson and the 16 governmental delegations of the European Union whose representative, Swedish ambassador to Switzerland Johan Molander, helped prepare the documents and resolutions that were to be adopted in Durban. That purpose was a deep-rooted, unquenchable hatred of America and of the only successful democracy in the Middle East, Israel.
The single-minded focus and vehemence of the hatred was breathtaking, even for such a seasoned veteran of the United Nations as Shimon Samuels, who heads the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s European office. One of Dr. Samuels’ missions in recent years has been to monitor and attempt to influence the official anti-Semitism emanating from international organizations such as the United Nations. He was the only representative of a Jewish organization elected to the NGO Forum’s Coordinating Committee, and from there, was voted an alternate member of its 20-member International Steering Committee that supervised the drafting of conference documents.
In February 2001, the last of four preparatory conferences was convened in Tehran, capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran. That the Islamic Republic of Iran should have a seat at a forum ostensibly devoted to human rights was a travesty in itself, given its systematic repression of ethnic minorities and wholesale massacre of political opponents.
“I was curious to see if the Iranians would actually ban me because I was a Jew,” Samuels told me. They did, but with a delicacy that even today brings a wry smile to his face. “I kept on calling the Iranian embassy to ask them when my visa would arrive. Finally, they called back a few hours after the last flight to Tehran had left. I could have my visa, they said, but I’d have to rebook another flight and arrive once the conference was over. They made their point.”
The Tehran conference was significant because that is where some 22 paragraphs of rabid anti-Semitic prose was added to the official conference documents, under the watchful eye and guidance of Johan Molander, who was the European Union representative at the meeting. Conveniently, not only Jewish NGOs were excluded from attending the Tehran preparatory conference, but so were NGOs representing the Bahais, a dissident Shiite sect brutally persecuted by the Islamic regime in Iran, as well as the Americans and the Israelis.
“It’s much easier to have a debate on the Middle East if the United States is not involved,” Molander smugly commented to former Swedish Liberal Party leader Per Ahlmark, who was attending the conference as an NGO delegate. The same groups and the same governments who gang-banged America and Israel at the Durban conference later united to oppose the U.S.-led coalition to liberate Iraq, reborn as an international “anti-war” movement.
Shortly before flying down to Durban in late August, Samuels had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. Over the past two years throughout Europe he had witnessed an “incremental process of semantic theft,” where terms like “holocaust” and “genocide” were used loosely to describe not the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis, but virtually any action by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians.
“Left-wing movements in Europe marked ‘Kristallnacht 1938’ in November 2000, while ignoring more than 100 anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues worldwide in the same month,” he wrote. Even a ceremony to honor the Righteous Gentiles of France was marred when the Paris city government attempted to bar the Israeli ambassador from attending. The effort to delegitimize Israel and to demonize Jews – the live kind, not the victims of the Nazi death camps – was in full swing throughout Europe and at the United Nations. Despite his premonitions, Durban was uglier than anything Samuels could have imagined.
In the documentation packets handed out at the official registration desk, the tens of thousands of delegates who attended the conference received a pamphlet distributed by the Arab Lawyers Union, which contained caricatures of hook-nosed Jews worthy of the Nazi propaganda newspaper, Der Sturmer. On the cover, the booklet bore the title: “That is the fact … Racism of Zionism & ‘Israel,'” over a huge swastika that was intertwined with the Israeli Star of David. On the back cover, the booklet reproduced the official logo of the United Nations conference.
“It was clearly designed to look to a casual observer like an official conference document, which it definitely was not,” Samuels recalls. “I gave it to Mary Robinson just before she rose to give her speech at the opening dinner for the NGOs.” Robinson, a former president of Ireland, was the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights and secretary-general of the conference.
What happened next shocked nearly everyone at the dinner, especially Samuels, who had seen Mrs. Robinson bow and scrape to every demand from the Arab and Islamic groups.
“She stood up at the podium and waved the book, and said it had no place at a conference dedicated to human dignity. ‘When it comes to this,’ she said, ‘I am a Jew.’ She repeated it three times: ‘I am a Jew.'”
The reaction to her speech was so childish it would have been amusing if it weren’t indicative of the rabid anti-Semitism swelling the Durban conference halls. The next day, Samuels says, he “received a call from a puzzled reporter from the German Press Agency, asking me, ‘ Is it true? Is she really a Jew?’ That evening, Hamas sent out an e-mail saying, ‘We knew it all along. Now she’s going to get it.'”
Beyond the words, violence was never very far away. When the handful of Jewish groups who attended the conference sought to present evidence of how they had been “harassed and discriminated against” during the pre-Durban meetings, Arab activists stormed the hall and “began shouting, singing and pushing in front of the speakers” until they had to cut short the press conference.
“This is typical of how we have been treated during this conference,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who had joined Samuels in Durban. For Anne Bayefsky, a professor from New York’s Columbia University Law School, “It couldn’t get much worse. Some of the Jewish delegates are hiding their accreditation badge because it identifies them as from Israel or as Jewish.”
Fierce anti-Israeli demonstrations on the streets of Durban became “a venomous carnival of incitement,” with demonstrators handing out flyers “portraying Jews with fangs dripping blood and wearing helmets inscribed with Nazi swastikas.” One flyer showed a picture of Hitler, saying: “What if I had won?” Underneath were two possibilities. “The good things – there would be NO Israel and NO Palestinians’ blood shed. The bad things – I wouldn’t have allowed the making of the new Beetle.” Full-size posters of Hitler were on display at the stand of the Arab Lawyers Union in the Conference Documentation Center.
Lord Greville Janner, a member of the British Parliament and longtime pro-democracy activist, called Durban “the worst example of anti-Semitism that I have ever seen.” The Jerusalem Post titled one of many articles on the conference, “Festival of hate.”
At issue were two sets of declarations – one from the government conference, the second from the NGO forum, that sought to establish Israel as an outlaw state. They also reintroduced the “Zionism-is-racism” resolution that had been passed annually since 1975 by the United Nations General Assembly at the request of the Soviet Union and Cuba until the first Bush administration succeeded in repealing it in 1991. It was the threat of reintroducing that resolution that ultimately convinced the U.S. and Israel to walk out of the conference on Sept. 3 in protest.
The government declaration, originally drafted in Tehran, referred to Israeli “ethnic cleansing of the Arab population of historic Palestine,” and called Israel’s policies “a crime against humanity.” Intended to be adopted by the entire conference as an official United Nations statement that would shape future policy discussions and international law, the document accused Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinian people, and labeled Israel as a “racist apartheid state.” It referred to the creation of the state of Israel as “the Catastrophe” (“al Nakbaa”), a term used regularly by Arab leaders and polemicists, and called it a “third holocaust.”
Per Ahlmark says he was outraged by the open support the Swedish government gave to such statements. “The Durban conference amounted to a United Nations intellectual and propaganda pogrom,” Ahlmark says. Shimon Samuels called the resolutions “the U.N.’s Mein Kampf.”
Arch Puddington, vice president of the New York based human-rights organization Freedom House, observed that the drafters of the official declaration “left open for further decision the question of whether to spell the word Holocaust with an upper- or lower-case “h,” with some countries arguing that Hitler’s genocide had been a Jewish fabrication and others denying that Jews had been the focus of mass murder.
“A delegate from Iran called Zionism ‘the greatest manifestation of racism,'” Puddington wrote, “and demanded that anti-Semitism (in its proper sense of discrimination against Jews) be struck from the conference’s official register of bigotries because it is not a ‘contemporary form of racism.’ Syria weighed in with the claim that the Holocaust is a “Jewish lie”; Egypt insisted that it would not accept a conference declaration that did not explicitly identify Israel as a racist state.”
The NGO statement in Durban went even further, calling for the convening of an international war-crimes tribunal to try Israel for alleged crimes against the Palestinian people. And while Mary Robinson condemned it, she ultimately couldn’t prevent it from being adopted at the NGO forum.
“It is perhaps the most horrific document ever presented and finalized under the overall tent of the United Nations,” Rabbi Cooper told reporters in Durban on Sept 1.
Until the American delegation walked out with the Israelis, U.S. diplomats worked with a handful of Europeans behind the scenes to eliminate some of the worst excesses from the conference documents, which the Americans feared could lay the legal groundwork for a war crimes tribunal against Israel and possibly the United States. Those were legitimate fears. But Shimon Samuels saw a far deeper harm in the works at Durban: the banalization of intolerance and hate. “Durban set a new baseline for institutionalized anti-Semitism at the U.N.,” he said.
Alan Baker is a human-rights lawyer who served as a legal adviser to the Israeli negotiating team in Durban. He expressed concern that the NGO document “calls upon the U.N. to create educational packets for schools and universities explaining the “racist” nature of Israel, and how it is ‘an apartheid state.'”
The problem goes way beyond Durban or even the Durban generation, because “this filters down, seeps into people’s consciousness. Think Palestinians, think victims; think Israel, think apartheid. In Africa, South America, in Third World countries, this will be what is taught, it will be part of the curriculum,” Baker said. “If Israel and Zionism are absolute evils, then anything you do against these evils is not only legitimate, but even a mitzva.” The net effect of the hate language “is to give a sheen of legitimacy to the worst form of Palestinian violence,” he added. “For how can you condemn blowing up Israeli children, women and men if they are racist and perpetrators of apartheid?”
Haim Avraham, the distraught father of a kidnapped Israeli soldier named Binyamin Avraham, expressed what many Jewish observers at Durban were already thinking when he blurted out in the conference foyer: “They are paving the way here for another Holocaust.” His message was clear. “The Holocaust did not befall the Jewish people overnight, but came about after centuries of systematic delegitimization. It was easy to kill Jews en masse, for the ground had been prepared by years of viewing the Jews as subhuman. In Durban, a new process of delegitimization picked up steam.”
As the Americans were packing their bags, ordered home by Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Israelis made one last effort to stand up to the assembled world powers in an address delivered in halting English by a low-level Foreign Ministry official named Mordechai Yedid. He took direct aim at the central contention of many European governments and left-wing organizations that have become the fellow travelers of prejudice, namely that the criticism of Israel expressed at the conference was not anti-Semitism –that is, hatred of the Jew – but anti-Zionism, an acceptable form of political opposition to Israeli government policies.
“Anti-Zionism, the denial of Jews the basic right to a home, is nothing but anti-Semitism, pure and simple,” he declared. “The venal hatred of Jews that has taken the form of anti-Zionism, and which has surfaced at this conference, is different in one crucial way from the anti-Semitism of the past. Today, it is being deliberately propagated and manipulated for political ends.”
What begins with the Jews doesn’t end with Jews. That is a lesson that should have been clear after Hitler and the Holocaust. The German Protestant theologian Martin Niemoeller put it eloquently in a since-famous comment made to a student who asked why no one in Germany stood up for the Jews against Nazi persecution.
“First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade-unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Niemoeller was arrested by Hitler on July 1, 1937, and jailed for seven months, then rearrested and sent to a concentration camp for the duration of the war. He was liberated in 1945 and became a pacifist and ultimately the president of the World Council of Churches in the 1960s, an institution that – supreme irony – subsequently became a fierce opponent of the right of the Jews to a national homeland.
Three days after the Durban conference came to a close, terrorists descended on New York, Washington, D.C., and a lonely field in Pennsylvania. Americans all across the country saw firsthand on their television screens the horror that Israelis know virtually day in and day out. But the real forces at work were ancient, well-oiled, proven and deadly.
Albert Speer was not only the top Nazi official in charge of making Hitler’s war industry operate with deadly efficiency; he was Hitler’s close confidant. Jailed in Spandau for war crimes and crimes against humanity following his trial in Nuremburg in 1945, Speer kept a diary that was subsequently published in English translation. Just two years after Hitler’s suicide in his Berlin bunker, in an entry dated Nov. 18, 1947, Speer recalled the crazed Wagnerian fantasies of the man who had just destroyed Europe and caused the death of 60 million persons:
“I recall how [Hitler] would have films shown in the Reich Chancellory about London burning, about the sea of fire over Warsaw, about exploding convoys, and the kind of ravenous joy that would then seize him every time. But I never saw him so beside himself as when, in a delirium, he pictured New York going down in flames. He described how the skyscrapers would be transformed into gigantic burning torches, how they would collapse in confusion, how the bursting city’s reflection would stand against the dark sky.”
It all came full circle on September 11 when Hitler’s fantasies met Osama bin Laden. As Jews have known for centuries and Americans are just learning: Marry hatred to deadly capabilities and you get murder.
Excerpted by permission of Crown Forum, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.