Israel Palestine Infos
March 19, 2011
A Dirty Word
ON THURSDAY EVENING I
could not think of anything except
First I heard the
blood-curdling speech by Muammar Qaddafi, in which he promised to occupy
I was extremely worried
and extremely furious with the international community and especially with the
Then there was the almost incredible sight of the UN Security Council convening within the hour, dispensing with speeches and unanimously adopting the resolution calling for military intervention.
The scene that ensued in
THE HESITATION of the
My heart is with the Libyan people. (Indeed, in Hebrew “libi” means “my heart”.)
For me, ”non-intervention” is a dirty word. It reminds me of the Spanish civil war, which took place when I was very young.
In 1936, the Spanish
republic and the Spanish people were viciously attacked by a Spanish general,
Francisco Franco, with troops imported from
Franco was decisively
aided by Nazi
The Western democracies
adamantly refused to help the republic and coined the term “non-intervention”.
Non-intervention meant in practice that
At the time, it looked liked a clear fight between good and absolute evil. Idealists from all over the world joined the International Brigades of the republic. If I had been only a few years older, I would without doubt have volunteered, too. In 1948, we sang with gusto the songs of the International Brigades in our own war.
FOR SOMEONE who was alive at the time of the Holocaust, especially for a Jew, there can be no doubt at all.
When it was over, and the awful extent of the genocide emerged, there was an outcry that has not yet died down.
“Where was the world? Why
did the allies not bomb the railway lines leading to
These questions have not
been satisfactorily answered to this very day. We know that Anthony Eden, the
British foreign minister, asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “What shall we
do with the Jews [who manage to escape]?” We also know that the allies were
mortally afraid to be seen as conducting the war “for the Jews”, as Nazi
propaganda proclaimed from morning to evening. Indeed, the Germans dropped
leaflets over American positions in
Using military force to
prevent the Nazis from killing the German Jews – as well as the Roma – would
definitely have constituted interference in the internal affairs of
Should it have been done?
Yes or no? And if the answer is yes, why does it apply to Adolf Hitler and not
to this little Fuehrer in
THIS, OF course, leads us straight to Kosovo.
There the same question arose. Slobodan Milosevic was committing an act of genocide – driving out a whole people, committing barbarities along the way. Kosovo was a part of Serbia, and Milosevic claimed that it was an internal Serbian affair.
When there was a
worldwide outcry, President Bill Clinton decided to bomb installations in
At the time, I applauded publicly, to the dismay of many of my leftist friends at home and all over the world. They insisted that the bombing campaign was a crime, particularly since it was conducted by NATO, which for them is an instrument of the devil.
My answer was that in order to prevent genocide, I am ready to make a pact even with the devil.
This goes for today, too.
I don’t care who puts an end to Qaddafi’s murderous war against his own people,
and especially to the bombing raids of his air force. The UN, NATO or the
A few days ago, on a day
when Qaddafi’s pilots were killing Libyans as usual, I read an article by an
American journalist I like and appreciate very much. She ferociously attacked
the idea of the
It seems that this has become a domestic American affair. While the extreme right (called for some reason “conservative”) - tea partiers, neo-cons and such - advocate the non-flying zone, politically correct “liberals” (another of these curious terms) oppose it.
People are being killed by a ruthless, half-mad dictator, a whole country is going down the drain – what the hell has that got to do with domestic American politics? And why have my friends been maneuvered into the wrong corner?
BARACK OBAMA was again at his best, saying all the right things and doing the wrong – or doing nothing at all.
He told Qaddafi to go,
and then looked on passively as the tyrant, instead of going anywhere,
terrorized his people. His Secretary of Defense told everybody what an
incredibly difficult operation enforcing a no-fly zone would be, his generals
warned against taking on another war they are unable to fight. The almighty
We are not the policeman of the world, American politicians argued. But that is exactly what a superpower is – power brings responsibility.
The pitiful sight of the
Obama administration throughout this crisis shows that the
Cynics will say that the Americans really desire to keep Qaddafi, so that he can go on delivering the oil, much as they support the autocrats of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain who are crushing their peoples and continue to deal with the oil as if it were their private property.
“Non-intervention” turned the Spanish people over to the tender mercies of Franco, and protected Hitler at the most sensitive stages of his preparation for war. Direct intervention, on the other hand, sent Milosevic to the war criminals’ prison.
I WANT to make my position on this perfectly clear.
The doctrine of non-intervention into the internal affairs of other countries when matters of genocide and mass killings are concerned is dead and should be buried, before the corpse starts to stink to high heaven.
At this point in history, it is the duty of all nations to prevent systematic atrocities committed by a criminal government against its own citizens. This duty falls on international institutions like the UN, but when these fail, as they so often do, the duty falls on individual nations or groups of nations. To its credit, the Arab League, comprising 22 Arab nations, did come out unequivocally for military intervention against Qaddafi – though not against other Arab tyrants, some of whom voted for the resolution.
Centuries ago, it was accepted that every nation is responsible for the capture and trial of pirates, irrespective of where and against whom their crimes were committed. This principle should be applied now to crimes committed by regimes against their citizens. Muammar Qaddafi should be caught and put on trial.
Humanity is moving towards a civilized world order. Non-intervention is the
Security Council resolution was a historic step in this direction. In my
imagination I saw French planes rolling off the airstrips minutes after the
votes were counted. That has not happened. But
In international parlance, non-intervention has indeed become a dirty word.