At the funeral of Ismaïl Abu Shanab (Hamas Terror Inc. N° 3) in Gaza on August 21, as reported in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, a loudspeaker blared out: “Our one constitution is the Koran. Jihad is our only road. The best ambition for us is to die as martyrs.” (“Palestinians vow to avenge Hamas death” by Frank Bruni). This is hardly a revelation, but merely an abbreviation of the Hamas slogan: “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” (article 8 of the August 18, 1988 Charter)
Over fourteen years ago (31 January 1989), as the chief representative of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), I first alerted the UN Commission on Human Rights to this charter of hate and death, calling it “a blatant blueprint for genocide.” This warning has been repeated regularly, year after year, while quoting widely from it and reminded delegates of article III (c) of the 1948 Genocide Convention that explicitly condemns any “direct and public incitement to commit genocide” – punishable under its article IV. These reiterated appeals on behalf of several NGOs have elicited no official UN reaction over the years in spite of widely acclaimed jihadist crimes against humanity. Yet this Charter contains the most abject of Islamist Judeophobic ravings with strongly racist-religious menaces throughout, such as: “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people. ‘Let the cowards never sleep.’” (article 28) Article 14 explains why the “liberation of Palestine is then an individual duty for every Muslim wherever he may be.” This encourages global terror. A common ‘saying’ today used by Islamist preachers worldwide concludes article 7 – after the slogan – with a controversial hadith:
"Hamas aspires to implement Allah’s promise, whatever time it may take. The Prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: `The Hour [Day of Judgment] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them) until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! Oh Abdullah!, there is a Jew behind me, come on and kill him. This will not apply to the Gharqad tree, which is a Jewish tree.'”
A month ago, after this first statement to the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, a Reuters story referred to WUPJ’s 5 page written statement, which “said that the Hamas Charter was racist, genocidal and encouraged young Palestinians to become “jihadist-martyr bombers” and kill Israeli civilians.” (‘Jewish group urges U.N. bodies to condemn Hamas’, July 29, 20:31). Here are the words I used on the Hamas Charter:
its evil legacy of ‘jihadist-martyrdom’ bombings shows how article 8 has became an Islamist blueprint for local and global terrorism, with official fatwa approvals. Yet, this ‘Charter of Hate’ still shamefully inspires official sections of the media, sports and especially the education activities of the Palestinian Authority, financed from many outside sources. It is time for this ‘direct and public incitement to commit genocide’– and politicide too! – to be condemned. HAMAS must be pacified within the PA’s goal of dismantling all the terror groups. Failing this obligation, the HAMAS group in its entirety – “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine,” to quote its article 2 – and all its leaders and foreign financiers should be outlawed by the international community. Any UN Member State reluctant to do this should be reminded of articles III (c) and IV of the 1948 Genocide Convention – and article VIII that can be invoked by any State. Our concluding words are from Shakespeare: “Silence, that dreadful bell.”
As usual, that dreadful silence was deafening on the subject of Hamas – and the discussion on “terrorism” by some of the 26 UN ‘experts’ was unusually pathetic, somewhat similar to that of the June meeting in Oslo of thirty ‘international experts and specialists on the Middle East’ who debated futilely on “the real reasons of terrorism.” This symposium was intended as a prelude to the forthcoming Terrorism Conference to be held on September 22, the eve of the opening meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York – on the initiative of the Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and Elie Wiesel.
A week later (August 5), we appealed again to the experts in the distorted debate on terrorism:
In his statement of March 25, 2003 to the Commission on Human Rights, Rabbi François Garaï – the main representative of the World Union for Progressive Judaism – quoted from the Spiritual Appeal of Geneva announced in St. Peter’s Cathedral, where Christians, Jews and Muslims condemned “all who blaspheme and defame religion by claiming to kill in the Name of God.” He had asked that this Appeal be inserted in the Commission’s Resolution on the defamation of religions. His words were well received, but regretfully the request was not heeded by the sponsors, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member states. [Since 1999, this resolution only mentions Islam by name; the OIC had initially insisted on ‘Defamation of Islam.’]
The World Union of Progressive Judaism again appeals to this Sub-Commission – and to the Commission – to adopt a clear resolution condemning this great infamy, epitomised by the acclaimed ‘jihadist-martyrdom bomber’ (inaccurately called ‘suicide bomber’ / ‘suicide action’). This solemn appeal is again made to the UN Secretary-General, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, as well as to all human rights bodies – and especially to the OIC and Muslim leaders. Now is the time to speak, not to keep silent.
The current obfuscation of the true significance of the jihad-war ‘martyrdom’ bombers implicitly condones a gathering plague of religious — not political — terror, recently sanctified by some Muslim spiritual leaders, and others. In listening to some of the revealing comments by the experts, we wish to conclude with that very pertinent and immortal line by the 17th century English poet, John Donne: “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
Two weeks later two more barbaric ‘jihadist-martyr’ bombings took place, symbolically in Jerusalem and Baghdad, killing 45 and mutilating and grievously wounding hundreds more. Among the victims in Baghdad was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five months earlier (March 17, 2003), opening the 59th session of the Commission on Human Rights with a remarkable statement, this fine and courageous man stated: “I say that today we must fix a clear limit to terrorism. For we have the right to live without fear of a sudden death, at any place, at any time. (...) A human being has to be able to live free from the fear of sudden, utterly arbitrary attacks – free, in short, from terror.” Tragically, he paid with his life in the uphill struggle to uphold human rights, human dignity, and democracy – speaking out strongly against the aims of terrorism. Perhaps the United Nations will now understand.
President Bush recently made the position of the United States very clear on Hamas and its evil legacy of preaching and practising jihadist-martyrdom terror with direct Arab, and indirect Western, backing. In a speech to the American Legion in St. Louis on August 26, he reiterated that “there will be no retreat from terror.” He added that “a Palestinian state will never be built on the foundation of violence,” and called on all “to cut off money to terrorists.” Yet the European Union continues to drag its feet, with France still insisting on the distinction between ‘the armed branch of Hamas’ (only recently put on the EU black list of terrorists), and the so-called ‘political wing.’ A discussion on this timeless terrorist topic is scheduled at an informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers at Riva del Garda on September 5-6. Will France, Germany and Belgium, dare to argue that it would be counterproductive to sideline Hamas?
Will France and the EU only wake up to religious terrorism if, God forbid, the Eiffel Tower or the UN building in New York or Geneva comes crashing down, killing thousands? Probably not even then.
David G. Littman, a historian, is a representative to the United Nations in Geneva of the Association for World Education since 1995, and the World Union for Progressive Judaism (1986-1991), and since 2001.