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Terror Stings Its Pal, the U.N.

The world body has fed a monster that now threatens it and everyone else.

August 27, 2003|Alan Dershowitz | Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz's most recent book is "The Case for Israel" (John Wiley & Sons, 2003).

Several days ago I received a phone call from a Brazilian journalist who asked me to respond to the charge being made in her home country that Israel was at least indirectly to blame for the deadly truck bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that killed, among others, a prominent Brazilian diplomat, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

I was not surprised at the question, considering its source. Among many South Americans, as among many Eastern Europeans, the knee-jerk response to nearly every evil is "blame it on the Jews." For example, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has blamed the "Jewish media" for the scandal involving Catholic priests having sex with young parishioners.

But the question got me to thinking: Who does share the blame with the terrorists themselves for the horrific explosion that killed and injured so many innocent people? Although the primary culprit is clearly the terrorist group that planned and executed the mass murder, the secondary culprit is the U.N. itself.

For more than a quarter of a century, the U.N. has actively encouraged terrorism by rewarding its primary practitioners, legitimating it as a tactic, condemning its victims when they try to defend themselves and describing the murderers of innocent children as "freedom fighters." No organization in the world today has accorded so much legitimacy to terrorism as has the U.N.

Consider the following:

* There are numerous occupied peoples around the world seeking statehood or national liberation, including the Tibetans, Kurds, Turkish Armenians and Palestinians. Only one of these groups has received official recognition by the U.N., including observer status and invitations to speak and participate in committee work. That group is the one that invented and perfected modern international terrorism -- namely, the Palestinians.

These rewards were first bestowed in the 1970s when the Palestine Liberation Organization was unabashedly committed to terrorism. In fact, Chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974 at a time when his organization was seeking to destroy a member-state of the U.N. by terrorism.

By rewarding Arafat and the PLO for such behavior, the U.N. made it clear that the best way to ensure that your cause is leapfrogged ahead of others is to adopt terrorism as your primary means of protest. The Tibetans, whose land has been occupied more brutally and for a longer period than the Palestinians, but who have never practiced terrorism, cannot even receive a hearing from the U.N.

* The U.N. has for years refused to condemn terrorism unequivocally, while encouraging and upholding "the legitimacy of the struggle for national liberation movements" against "occupation" -- in other words, the use of terrorism against innocent civilians to resist occupation. This has sent the message to aggrieved groups that terrorism is legitimate.

* The U.N. has allowed Palestinian terrorists to use U.N.-sponsored "refugee camps" like Jenin as terrorist bases. This has sent the message to the world that the U.N. closes its eyes to terrorism.

* The U.N. has repeatedly condemned efforts by Israel to prevent and respond to terrorism. For example, the Security Council condemned Israel for isolating Arafat in the West Bank last year, even after it was proved that Arafat remained complicit in acts of terrorism.

This has sent the message to the victims of terrorism that if they fight back they risk sanctions.

* The U.N. has allowed states such as Syria that sponsor terrorism to sit on the Security Council and to chair important committees, while denying Israel these same rights. This has sent the message that the U.N. applies a double standard when it comes to terrorism.

The bottom line is that the U.N. has served as an international megaphone for the perverse message that any people who feel that they are occupied have the right to resist occupation by randomly murdering innocent civilians anywhere in the world.

Now the chickens have come home to roost. Some Iraqis, who feel that they are now occupied, have taken the U.N.'s message to heart and are engaged in a "national liberation movement" of the kind long praised by the U.N. and are using the tactics rewarded by the U.N. against that very organization.

Now that the victims of "national liberation terrorism" are U.N. employees instead of Jewish babies, maybe the U.N. will finally come to its senses and understand that by legitimating and rewarding terrorism, they have created a Frankenstein monster that can be turned against any nation, organization or group. Unless there is a change, no one will be safe from this U.N.-created, -fed and -rewarded monster that threatens the entire world.

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