Archive for October, 2010

October 26, 2010

Where is the Jewish community on South Sudan?

by Gedalyah Reback

We have witnessed an unsettling rebirth for Holocaust denial the last several years. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pronouncements have had a shuttering effect in the global Jewish community, conjuring up the fears of our most devastating moment in history and being denied the right to mourn it. His, among others’, mindgames with the global Jewish community and Israelis especially has woken us up to the undying need to educate the world about the most systematic genocide in human history, as to better ensure that such a thing never happens again.

But if that is the goal, why are we so silent about what is boiling in southern Sudan?

After seven years of advocacy for Darfur, the Jewish community seems to have either forgotten or grown complacent with the ebb and flow of genocide in modern human history. And for this, we risk our moral standing as a people with a determined principle, not to mention our credibility. As the world we live in reflects its current displeasure with Israeli policies on Jewish communities globally, the community risks prioritizing the education about genocide over its actual prevention. Compound this idea with the fact the bulk of the Jewish community’s Darfur advocacy took place AFTER the main crimes had been committed in Darfur and we encounter a disturbing question. Is the Jewish community serious about “Never Again?”

Our warnings about an Iranian bomb and association of Iranian regional designs with psychotic policies of Nazi Germany have been promoted ad nauseum and have consequently lost their impact. This has fed a growing cynicism about comparisons with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, leaving us with a diluted weapon that had at one point invoked the personification of evil – an analogy with the Third Reich. Henceforth, we have let the Holocaust become a political tool, whether we intended it to be or not. Warning Iran has genocidal designs is not something taken seriously, reduced to a petty piece of Israeli, right-wing rhetoric.

And so, perhaps our own exhaustion from these campaigns have set in. Or perhaps the community was never in touch with world affairs as it commonly perceives itself to be. The Sudanese government is the world’s repeat offender regarding massive slaughter, with 2 million casualties from a 20-year civil war in the south, plus 300,000 massacred in its Darfur region in and just after 2003. And as we head toward one of the biggest moments in recent geopolitical history – the splitting of the largest country in Africa and transfer of major oil resources from the control of one government to that of another – we are oblivious to the visceral opposition to South Sudan’s independence in the country’s north and from the current regime. That regime has perpetuated monumental crimes against of humanities in two wars already and has a sitting president wanted for those crimes by the International Criminal Court.

And where the hell are the Jews? The global Jewish community has the duty to advocate for a stronger initiative to intervene in the event of a northern Sudanese attack on the nascent state of South Sudan. No other people has made it the cornerstone of its activist culture since World War II. The history feeds a sense of tackling injustice in the Jewish collective psyche. The risks of another genocide are immense and troops on both sides of the wouldbe border are mobilizing. Stories of mass slaughter, kidnapping and rape could very well repeat themselves in the months to come.

That is, save intervention.

Push your leaders to prevent a genocide in Sudan, no matter what country you live in. The threat to use force to keep out a northern onslaught maybe the only effective measure that can prevent such a calamity. As a people we can push our leaders wherever we are to set the precedent for an effective anti-genocide policy that sanctions the use of force in the event diplomacy fails to be effective. The entire Western world and even Israel itself have the ability to either covertly or overtly thwart a campaign by the regime in Khartoum. This cannot become another failure to add to Rwanda and Darfur.

Scars of Rwanda

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