Benjamin Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, died this week at 103 years old. He brought many individuals who committed crimes against humanity to justice, and had words of advice for future generations
You cannot kill an entrenched ideology with a gun. You have to teach compassion and tolerance at a young age.Benjamin Ferencz
While Ferencz prosecuted individuals, he understood that an “entrenched ideology” feeds violence. Unfortunately, vanquishing criminals brings a temporary respite. To bring about an enduring peace requires teaching “compassion and tolerance at a young age.” Such actions can yield long term benefits for a community of coexistence.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Nazis and their collaborators had an entrenched ideology that Jews were evil creatures who were harming the purity of Aryan land. They sought to ethnically cleanse the land of their supposed filth through twisted laws and via violence. Alas, they mostly succeeded in their vile aim. It was only upon their defeat, admission of wrong-doing, and re-education towards tolerance, that Germany was welcomed back into the community of nations, including having a good relationship with the Jewish State.
Today, the terrible entrenched ideology exists among Palestinian Arabs about their Jewish neighbors. The Arabs refuse to acknowledge the basic fact of the long history of Jews in the region. They deny Jews the basic human right to pray at their holiest location on the Jewish Temple Mount. They ethnically cleansed Jews from the eastern portion of Israel including eastern Jerusalem in the 1948-9 war, and now demand a return to such Jew-free situation. They are attempting to use laws and violence to purge the Jews of what they see as purely Arab land.
While several Palestinian terrorist groups wage war against the existence of Israel and presence of Jews, the future must be waged with Palestinian youth. The lesson plans for compassion and tolerance should include:
- The 3,300 year history of Jews in the holy land
- That Judaism is a unique religion, with ties to a specific land, that is Israel
- Judaism’s particularity poses no threat to Islam: there is no desire to convert people nor to turn al Aqsa or any mosque into a synagogue.
- Jews and Arabs are both descended from Abraham. Judaism teaches that Abraham loved Ishmael and promised that he would become great nations
- Jews are the most persecuted people in the world. Since 1900, they were tortured, routed and slaughtered in Russia, Ukraine, Europe and a dozen Arab countries.
- As the Holocaust began in Europe, Palestinian leadership convinced the British to implement the White Paper capping Jewish immigration to Palestine, which led to the death of over 100,000 Jews in Europe
- When Jewish survivors made it to Palestine after the European genocide, Palestinians and neighboring Arab armies waged a war to annihilate the paltry and weak remaining Jews
- The Jewish State gave all Arabs citizenship when it declared itself a country and offered the Arabs of Jerusalem citizenship when it reunited the city. Over 25% of Israel is not Jewish.
- Israel made peace with many Muslim and Arab countries and is willing to do so with local Arabs as well. It made several peace offers to Palestinian leadership which were all rejected
If Arab youth are taught that Jews coexist with non-Jews in Israel who have full rights in a liberal country, and that the Jewish State would welcome peace agreements with all neighboring Arab states, hopefully the evil ideology will be vanquished.
Alas, Arab youth are taught the evil ideology of their parents and reject coexistence and “normalization” as they seek a jihad with false claims:
- That Jews are not indigenous but “colonizers”
- There were no Jewish temples in Jerusalem
- Jews are ethnically cleansing Arabs and committing a genocide (despite all facts and figures showing otherwise)
- Israel is not a liberal country but committing “apartheid” against Arabs
- The al Aqsa compound is a purely Islamic site and Jews have no history or rights
- It is the Palestinian Arabs who are the real victims of a “Nakba” both from 1949 and 1967, lying that did not start either war
- Israel has never made any real effort towards peace
- The Israeli army likes to shoot Palestinian babies while Palestinians are simply “resorting to violence“
- That Zionism is racism
- That the United Nations will force Israel to absorb 6 million additional Arabs into Israel
This evil ideology does not accurately reflect the past, present or future. It is a concocted anti-Semitic invective which will stymy the chance for peace.
Benjamin Ferencz led a life of fighting evil and gave us a roadmap for enduring peace by teaching compassion and tolerance to young people. Let’s use that roadmap with Palestinian youth to bring peace to the holy land.
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