Never Again — Until Next Time
Vol: 128 Issue: 22 Tuesday, May 22, 2012
History records the main reason that the Jews decided, after almost two millennia after being exiled, that the continued survival of the Jewish race required their return to their ancestral homeland.
Israel’s Founding Fathers summed the reason up in two words: “Never again!”
“Never again!” is so indelibly linked to the Holocaust and the attempted destruction of the Jewish people that the phrase has become a synonym for unimpeded genocide.
It was the slogan of Kofi Annan’s observance of the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, during which the ruling Rwanda Hutu tribe set out to exterminate their traditional enemies, the Tutsi tribe.
When the bloodletting was finally exhausted, almost a million Tutsis had been slaughtered, in full view of the United Nations.
At the time, Kofi Annan was the head of UN peacekeeping operations, including the one in Rwanda that he ordered out of the country — after ten Belgian peacekeepers were killed in an attack.
According to a 1998 article in the New Yorker magazine, Kofi Annan was told by the commander of peacekeeping forces in Rwanda of a plan by the then-government of Rwanda to exterminate the Tutsis, some three months BEFORE the slaughter began.
After the deaths of the Belgian peacekeepers, the magazine reported that Annan gave orders not to intervene. Full details of the commander’s cable were reportedly forwarded to the American, French and Belgian ambassadors in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, the day after the report was sent to New York.
On the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan slaughter, Kofi Annan, then-UN Secretary-General, designated April 7 as the “International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.” Kofi urged the world to set aside a ‘moment of silence’ so that “such a tragedy can never happen again.”
At the time of Kofi’s ‘never again speech’ in 2004, at least THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND people had already been butchered at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Sudan’s Janjaweed Militia while the world did nothing.
In 2005, after almost a half-millon deaths, the UN finally brokered a deal that separated the Islamic north from the mainly Christian south. More than two MILLION people have been slaughtered since. And the slaughter continues.
That is what ‘never again’ means to the world community. It means ‘never again’ — until next time, after which the UN will dedicate an ‘annual’ moment of silence and reflection that will be observed exactly once.
Israel was founded also on the ‘never again’ principle, which means something different to Israelis than it does to the rest of the world.
For two millennia, Jews were systematically rounded up and slaughtered in regional pogroms — but it wasn’t until the rise of Adolf Hitler that the wholesale slaughter of Jews threatened to wipe them from the face of the earth.
The Jews who survived the world’s acquiescence to their slaughter declared that ‘never again’ would they trust the world community to ensure their survival.
Adolf Hitler had clearly and unambiguously outlined his planned extermination of the Jewish people some twenty years before in his political manifesto, “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”). And, while part of the world sat idly by (and the rest helped) Hitler imposed his ‘Final Solution to the Question of the Jewish People’ on almost six million of them.
THAT is what ‘never again’ means. Israel’s foundational principle is that it would never again entrust its survival to global good will.
Israel’s establishment as a Jewish State was an indictment to the world community that let the Holocaust happen, despite Hitler’s having made his intentions perfectly clear — and that it would never happen again because Israel wouldn’t let it.
The establishment of Israel prevented the wholesale slaughter of Jews under the principle of collective security, but ‘collective’ has become a two-edged sword.
Jews were slaughtered indiscriminately throughout history, but the Jewish people survived, mainly because they were scattered throughout the world.
The Diaspora that ended the existence of the Jewish state in AD 70 also prevented the concentration of Jews in one place where they could be annihilated.
Israel’s re-establishment in 1948 brought them all back into one place at precisely the moment in history when it is possible to annihilate the tiny Jewish state in a single, blinding, nuclear flash.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously observed during the Yom Kippur War that, “the Arabs can fight, and lose, and return to fight another day. Israel can only lose once.”
In 1973, it was a rallying cry. Hitler’s successors see it as a battle strategy.
Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani outlined it recently, telling the world that, “the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.”
Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made it clear that his goal is the annihilation of Israel, an event that he described as Israel ‘being eliminated by one storm’.
Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani made global headlines with his declaration:
“We have announced that wherever [in Iran] America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel.”
Noted Charles Krauthammer,
“The logic is impeccable, the intention clear: A nuclear attack would effectively destroy tiny Israel, while any retaliation launched by a dying Israel would have no major effect on an Islamic civilization of a billion people stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia.”
When viewed through the prism of Bible prophecy, things continue to develop precisely as outlined some twenty-five hundred years ago — without deviating one iota from the original script.
We find Russia, Iran and the Islamic world on one side; Israel (and the ‘Christian Crusaders’) on the other. The United Nations has already established a precedent for sitting on its hands in the face of slow, systematic, genocide. Iran is talking about genocide in ‘one storm’. Iran’s goal is the destruction of Israel.
“Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal . . . Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them . . . Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. . . ” (Ezekiel 38:2,3,5)
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (38:13)
“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (Ezekiel 38:22)
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
Note: Today’s OL is an update of a column first published in 2004. I’ve managed to damage my shoulder somehow and found it exceptionally difficult this morning to type with my arm in a sling. About the best I could manage was an update.
But what I find interesting about the situation is that if I hadn’t mentioned that this column was seven years old, I don’t think you’d be able to tell.
I believe the reason for that is found in 2 Peter 3:9 where Peter reminds us that the Lord hasn’t forgotten His Promise, but is instead waiting until the very last person has a chance to accept or reject the Gospel before coming for His Church.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
I believe that we are in something of a “holding pattern” until the Lord has given everybody their chance — and the fact this column is still relevant seven years after the fact supports that contention. We’re still holding now.
The Lord is not “slack” — He isn’t late. We Christians often ask, “How long, Lord?” — but the answer (and the solution) is right before us.
Q. How long, Lord? A. Until everybody has heard the Gospel.
Whose job is that?