Why Won’t the State Department Call the Extermination of Middle Eastern Christians “Genocide”?

Feb. 18 2016

While the U.S. Department of State is poised to declare Islamic State’s mass murder of Yazidis a “genocide,” it is unlikely to recognize the mass murder of Iraqi and Syrian Christians as such. Nina Shea explains:

It is difficult not to conclude that the reason for the administration’s reluctance to designate a Christian genocide is not for lack of evidence but for political reasons. One possible obstacle is the Genocide Convention’s requirement that states act to “prevent and protect” the victims of genocide. . . .

But might there be another political reason at the root of the administration’s reluctance to recognize this Islamist genocide of Christians? Consider how it would parallel the reason that Holocaust scholars have found for President Roosevelt’s silence about the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust: “Nazi propaganda, which portrayed the Allied involvement in the war as being on behalf of ‘the Jews,’” led him instead to “refer in general to the aim of ending the mistreatment and murder of civilians under Axis rule.” That silence proved devastating for European Jews and came to be seen as a historic moral failing. . . .

In the face of IS’s anti-“crusader” propaganda, might the Obama administration be on the verge of making that same mistake, of silence, over the genocide of Christians? Whether the official U.S. list of genocide victims includes or excludes Christians will affect the persecuted Christians enormously: in raising humanitarian aid, receiving asylum, overcoming de-facto discrimination in UN resettlement programs, receiving restitution and reparation for seized land, and securing a place at the peace-negotiations table. It would also give these two-millennia-old Christian communities a sense of justice.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Genocide, ISIS, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, Yazidis

What Israel Can Learn from Its Declaration of Independence

March 22 2023

Contributing to the Jewish state’s current controversy over efforts to reform its judicial system, observes Peter Berkowitz, is its lack of a written constitution. Berkowitz encourages Israelis to seek a way out of the present crisis by looking to the founding document they do have: the Declaration of Independence.

The document does not explicitly mention “democracy.” But it commits Israel to democratic institutions not only by insisting on the equality of rights for all citizens and the establishment of representative government but also by stressing that Arab inhabitants would enjoy “full and equal citizenship.”

The Israeli Declaration of Independence no more provides a constitution for Israel than does the U.S. Declaration of Independence furnish a constitution for America. Both documents, however, announced a universal standard. In 1859, as civil war loomed, Abraham Lincoln wrote in a letter, “All honor to Jefferson—to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.”

Something similar could be said about Ben Gurion’s . . . affirmation that Israel would be based on, ensure, and guarantee basic rights and fundamental freedoms because they are inseparable from our humanity.

Perhaps reconsideration of the precious inheritance enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence could assist both sides in assuaging the rage roiling the country. Bold and conciliatory, the nation’s founding document promises not merely a Jewish state, or a free state, or a democratic state, but that Israel will combine and reconcile its diverse elements to form a Jewish and free and democratic state.

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Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Israel's Basic Law, Israeli Declaration of Independence, Israeli politics