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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 9, 2008 / 4 Nissan 5768

The genocide loophole

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week, Russia's lower house of parliament passed a resolution insisting that Josef Stalin's man-made 1932-33 famine — called the Holodomor in Ukrainian — wasn't genocide.


Not even the Russians dispute that the Soviet government deliberately starved millions. But the Russian resolution indignantly states: "There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines." It notes that victims included "different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas of the country."


Translation: We didn't kill millions of farmers because they were Ukrainians; we killed millions of Ukrainians because they were farmers.


And that's all it takes to be acquitted of genocide.


The United Nations defines genocide as the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Left out of this definition are "modern" political labels for people: the poor, religious people, the middle class, etc. The oversight was deliberate. The word "genocide" was coined by a Polish Jew,


Raphael Lemkin, who was responding to Winston Churchill's 1941 lament that "we are in the presence of a crime without a name." Lemkin, a champion of human rights who lost 49 relatives in the Holocaust, gave it a name a few years later. But to get the U.N. to recognize genocide as a specific crime, he made compromises.


Pressured by the Soviets, Lemkin supported excluding efforts to murder "political" groups from the U.N.'s 1948 resolution on genocide. Under the more narrow official definition, it's genocide to try to wipe out Roma (formerly known as Gypsies), but it's not necessarily genocide to liquidate, say, people without permanent addresses. You can't slaughter "Catholics," but you can wipe out "religious people" and dodge the genocide charge.


Political scientist Gerard Alexander decries that type of absurdity as "Enlightenment bias." Reviewing Samantha Power's moving 2003 book, "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," Alexander observed that this bias leaves the greatest mass murderers of the 20th century — self-described Marxist-Leninists — somewhat off the hook.


In Power's book, the most influential writing on genocide in a generation, she scolds — often justly — the U.S. for not doing more to stop systematized slaughter. But by focusing so narrowly on the U.N.-style definition of genocide, she implicitly upholds a moral hierarchy of evil, which in effect renders mass murder a second-tier crime if it's done in the name of social progress, modernization or other Enlightenment ideals.


This is dangerous thinking; people perceived to be blocking progress — farmers, aristocrats, reactionaries — can be more forgivably slaughtered than ethnic groups because they're allegedly part of the problem, not the solution. After all, you've got to break some eggs to make an omelet.


For many, the Soviets and the Red Chinese elude the genocide charge because Communists were omelet-makers. Ukrainian kulaks, or independent farmers, opposed Stalin's plan for collectivization, so they were murdered for that "greater good." Today, Mao and Stalin aren't in Hitler's class of evil because Hitler wasn't a


"modernizer," he was a racist. Note how the Russians have no problem copping to the charge of mass murder but recoil at suggestions it was racially motivated.


It's a wrongheaded distinction. Murder is murder, whether the motive is bigotry or the pursuit of allegedly enlightened social planning.


It's also a false distinction. Racial genocide is often rationalized as a form of progress by those responsible. Under the Holodomor, Ukrainian culture was systematically erased by the Russian Soviets, who saw it as expendable. No doubt the Sudanese janjaweed in Darfur and the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Tibet believe they are "modernizers," too.


Or consider the ultimate racially motivated genocide, the Holocaust. Gotz Aly and Susanne Heim demonstrate in their brilliant book, "Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction," that the Final Solution, particularly in Lemkin's own Poland, was perceived by the young economists overseeing it as a "modernizing project that would transform society."


In Germany, the effort to crush Jewry was intertwined with the effort to nationalize the economy and eliminate small and independent businesses. For German social engineers, the Jews were convenient guinea pigs for their economic experiments. The first test cases were not the Jews but the mentally ill, who were classified as an economic liability — "useless bread-gobblers" — in Germany's 1936 Four-Year Plan of economic modernization.


The climate of anti-Semitism made the Holocaust possible, but so did Enlightenment bias, which holds that almost anything can be justified in the name of progress.


I doubt such distinctions would have been of much comfort to Lemkin's 49 relatives.

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