Kofi Annan's Holocaust Problem

In June, a shockingly disturbing article about Holocaust education appeared in The New York Times online and The International Herald Tribune and was written by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations. Annan questions the value of teaching about the Holocaust in the first place and deletes the memory of the Jewish victims from the Holocaust -- not mentioning Jews one time.

Annan wrote: "[I]t is surprisingly hard to find education programs that have clearly succeeded[.]" He then linked Holocaust education to other events. Annan declared that Holocaust education has failed to prevent genocidal campaigns "from Cambodia to the Congo, from Bosnia to Rwanda, from Sri Lanka to Sudan."

Can Annan be blind to the fact that his beloved U.N. bears the largest portion of international blame for failing to prevent these post-World War Two tragedies?

Annan also wrote that "few teachers in any country have the knowledge or skills to teach the Holocaust in a way that would enable today's adolescents ... to relate."

Here Annan missed the fact that Holocaust education has worked very well in Israel. As a direct result of that education process, all Jewish Israelis, regardless of age, level of religious observance, political views or ethnic background, are completely united in their full support of their government to take whatever means necessary to stop Iran's deployment of a nuclear weapons program.

Perhaps almost as shocking as Annan's sudden attack on Holocaust education is the text of the article itself. Annan does not mention Jews or Judaism even once in nearly eight hundred words. Germany and Hitler are not mentioned, either.

Annan has the chutzpah to conclude his screed with a veritable love note to Austria. He states, "[A]nd it seems fitting that Austria -- which provided both victims and perpetrators of Nazi atrocities in abundance -- should be hosting a [Holocaust teacher training] program."

Here Annan totally misses the ironic fact that Austria is the one nation in the post-World War Two period to elect a head of state that was accused of Nazi war crimes, Kurt Waldheim. Obviously Annan is familiar with Waldheim's case. The two were colleagues at the U.N., and Waldheim preceded Annan in the Secretary General position there. That Annan failed to ever investigate Waldheim's history at the U.N. is just one action in a long career of incompetence. To this day, the official U.N. online biography of Waldheim ignores World War Two and the Holocaust entirely.

Is this essay by Annan an isolated incident, or does he have a track record of inappropriate action in regard to preserving the history of Holocaust?

Annan claims in this article that he supported Holocaust education in 2005, when as U.N. Secretary General he "urged the General Assembly to pass a resolution on Holocaust Remembrance."

However, remarks made at the time the Holocaust Remembrance resolution was passed also ignore the connection of the Holocaust to the Jewish people. A November 1, 2005 "[s]tatement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on General Assembly Resolution on Holocaust Remembrance" was 107 words. There is no reference to Jews.

The official U.N. news article from November 1, 2005 failed to mention Jews at all.

It is worth recalling that not a single Muslim nation other than Turkey supported the Holocaust Remembrance Resolution. Can one imagine that happening now? Annan apparently could not have cared less about the Resolution at the time. Annan was either unable or unwilling to see to it that his native Ghana supported the Resolution, either. He gave a speech of over 780 words the night the Resolution was passed at the "King Hussein Foundation inaugural peace-builders dinner." There was not a single "remembrance" of the Holocaust included in Annan's remarks.

One more aside: Ninety countries supported the Resolution, but not one "moderate Islamic Arab" country such as Egypt, Morocco, or King Hussein's Jordan signed on. Well before 2005, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan had all signed peace agreements with Israel. Just what kind of peace does Israel have with these nations if they refuse to acknowledge that the Holocaust needs to be remembered? And that is even with the fact that the actual wording of the original resolution itself mentioned Jews just once in an over five-hundred-word text:

Reaffirming that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people along with countless members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice[.]

Given the fact that Holocaust-deniers often argue that fewer than six million Jews were murdered during World War Two, was it just a coincidence that the term "six million" was not used?

Annan is often considered to have been a fair arbiter in the Israel-Arab conflict. This is a naïve reading of Annan's track record and his professional alliances. As the maxim states: A man is known by the company he keeps.

Annan has longtime colleagues in the self-appointed (and self-righteous) group of elites called The Elders that is funded in part by the United Nations Foundation. The Elders seem like a rogue's gallery of Israel's harshest critics. Included as part of The Elders are Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and Mary Robinson.

In the post-Annan era, the way the U.N. has related to the Jewish people and the Holocaust has worsened considerably.

One example is that Ban Ki-moon's 2010 official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jews.

Another example is the honors that Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who sponsored the December 2006 International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust) received at the U.N. in September 2007. Annan and Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly worked to keep Ahmadinejad from being marginalized. Ban Ki-moon stated on December 14, 2006:

[D]enying historical facts, especially such a very important historical fact as the Holocaust, is not acceptable. It is not acceptable. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself visited Iran and had a series of dialogues with the Iranian leadership and other senior-level people. Wherever and when, and if the situation requires me to do, I am also prepared to engage in dialogue with the Iranian leadership.

In the full version of his December 14 remarks, Ban Ki-moon again avoided any mention of Jews.

Still another recent example is the controversy that erupted when Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann was the president of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 2008 to September 2009. Brockmann compared Israel's treatment of Gazans to Nazi atrocities against Jews.

Brockmann's successor as General Assembly President, a Libyan (!) diplomat named Ali Abdussalam Treki, stated that Israel's Gaza blockade "is worse than the camps of the Nazis in the past." And this was weeks before the flotilla episode.

The next person in line for the presidency is Switzerland's Joseph Deiss. Deiss is a longtime critic of Israel. In 2001, when he was Switzerland's Foreign Minister, Deiss met with Yasser Arafat's aides and condemned Israel for settlement activity and "a blockade of Palestinian areas."

Annan's attack on Holocaust education was published just as the U.N. was generating headlines for condemning Israel for the Gaza flotilla episode. What was behind the timing of this article?

The Israel-bashers do not want to give up the powerful imagery of the Holocaust, so they transform it and remove the Jews. This allows The Elders and others to recast the Gazans as victims and the Israelis as the war criminals. This is especially outrageous when one recalls that the father of modern Arab anti-Jewish violence is Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921-1948. He was an important ally of the Nazis and helped recruit thousands of Muslims for Waffen SS units in Bosnia.

And so, what is there to learn from Kofi Annan's Holocaust problem and the U.N.? Over the last several years, it has been popular to speak about nations that are in internal disarray as "failed states." It is now past time to declare the U.N. a "failed institution." If the U.N. cannot be reformed, it must be marginalized. And the sooner, the better. Moreover, the U.N.-controlled Quartet on the Middle East project, led by Special Envoy Tony Blair, must be reevaluated, given the U.N.'s Holocaust problem and its funding of The Elders.

"If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to keep getting what we're getting," says Stephen Covey. If we fail to reform the U.N., these outrages won't just continue -- they will get worse.

Moshe Phillips is a member of the executive committee of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel / AFSI. The chapter's website is at www.phillyafsi.com. Moshe's blog can be found at phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com and Moshe tweets at twitter.com/MoshePhillips.

In June, a shockingly disturbing article about Holocaust education appeared in The New York Times online and The International Herald Tribune and was written by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations. Annan questions the value of teaching about the Holocaust in the first place and deletes the memory of the Jewish victims from the Holocaust -- not mentioning Jews one time.

Annan wrote: "[I]t is surprisingly hard to find education programs that have clearly succeeded[.]" He then linked Holocaust education to other events. Annan declared that Holocaust education has failed to prevent genocidal campaigns "from Cambodia to the Congo, from Bosnia to Rwanda, from Sri Lanka to Sudan."

Can Annan be blind to the fact that his beloved U.N. bears the largest portion of international blame for failing to prevent these post-World War Two tragedies?

Annan also wrote that "few teachers in any country have the knowledge or skills to teach the Holocaust in a way that would enable today's adolescents ... to relate."

Here Annan missed the fact that Holocaust education has worked very well in Israel. As a direct result of that education process, all Jewish Israelis, regardless of age, level of religious observance, political views or ethnic background, are completely united in their full support of their government to take whatever means necessary to stop Iran's deployment of a nuclear weapons program.

Perhaps almost as shocking as Annan's sudden attack on Holocaust education is the text of the article itself. Annan does not mention Jews or Judaism even once in nearly eight hundred words. Germany and Hitler are not mentioned, either.

Annan has the chutzpah to conclude his screed with a veritable love note to Austria. He states, "[A]nd it seems fitting that Austria -- which provided both victims and perpetrators of Nazi atrocities in abundance -- should be hosting a [Holocaust teacher training] program."

Here Annan totally misses the ironic fact that Austria is the one nation in the post-World War Two period to elect a head of state that was accused of Nazi war crimes, Kurt Waldheim. Obviously Annan is familiar with Waldheim's case. The two were colleagues at the U.N., and Waldheim preceded Annan in the Secretary General position there. That Annan failed to ever investigate Waldheim's history at the U.N. is just one action in a long career of incompetence. To this day, the official U.N. online biography of Waldheim ignores World War Two and the Holocaust entirely.

Is this essay by Annan an isolated incident, or does he have a track record of inappropriate action in regard to preserving the history of Holocaust?

Annan claims in this article that he supported Holocaust education in 2005, when as U.N. Secretary General he "urged the General Assembly to pass a resolution on Holocaust Remembrance."

However, remarks made at the time the Holocaust Remembrance resolution was passed also ignore the connection of the Holocaust to the Jewish people. A November 1, 2005 "[s]tatement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on General Assembly Resolution on Holocaust Remembrance" was 107 words. There is no reference to Jews.

The official U.N. news article from November 1, 2005 failed to mention Jews at all.

It is worth recalling that not a single Muslim nation other than Turkey supported the Holocaust Remembrance Resolution. Can one imagine that happening now? Annan apparently could not have cared less about the Resolution at the time. Annan was either unable or unwilling to see to it that his native Ghana supported the Resolution, either. He gave a speech of over 780 words the night the Resolution was passed at the "King Hussein Foundation inaugural peace-builders dinner." There was not a single "remembrance" of the Holocaust included in Annan's remarks.

One more aside: Ninety countries supported the Resolution, but not one "moderate Islamic Arab" country such as Egypt, Morocco, or King Hussein's Jordan signed on. Well before 2005, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan had all signed peace agreements with Israel. Just what kind of peace does Israel have with these nations if they refuse to acknowledge that the Holocaust needs to be remembered? And that is even with the fact that the actual wording of the original resolution itself mentioned Jews just once in an over five-hundred-word text:

Reaffirming that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people along with countless members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice[.]

Given the fact that Holocaust-deniers often argue that fewer than six million Jews were murdered during World War Two, was it just a coincidence that the term "six million" was not used?

Annan is often considered to have been a fair arbiter in the Israel-Arab conflict. This is a naïve reading of Annan's track record and his professional alliances. As the maxim states: A man is known by the company he keeps.

Annan has longtime colleagues in the self-appointed (and self-righteous) group of elites called The Elders that is funded in part by the United Nations Foundation. The Elders seem like a rogue's gallery of Israel's harshest critics. Included as part of The Elders are Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and Mary Robinson.

In the post-Annan era, the way the U.N. has related to the Jewish people and the Holocaust has worsened considerably.

One example is that Ban Ki-moon's 2010 official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jews.

Another example is the honors that Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who sponsored the December 2006 International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust) received at the U.N. in September 2007. Annan and Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly worked to keep Ahmadinejad from being marginalized. Ban Ki-moon stated on December 14, 2006:

[D]enying historical facts, especially such a very important historical fact as the Holocaust, is not acceptable. It is not acceptable. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself visited Iran and had a series of dialogues with the Iranian leadership and other senior-level people. Wherever and when, and if the situation requires me to do, I am also prepared to engage in dialogue with the Iranian leadership.

In the full version of his December 14 remarks, Ban Ki-moon again avoided any mention of Jews.

Still another recent example is the controversy that erupted when Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann was the president of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 2008 to September 2009. Brockmann compared Israel's treatment of Gazans to Nazi atrocities against Jews.

Brockmann's successor as General Assembly President, a Libyan (!) diplomat named Ali Abdussalam Treki, stated that Israel's Gaza blockade "is worse than the camps of the Nazis in the past." And this was weeks before the flotilla episode.

The next person in line for the presidency is Switzerland's Joseph Deiss. Deiss is a longtime critic of Israel. In 2001, when he was Switzerland's Foreign Minister, Deiss met with Yasser Arafat's aides and condemned Israel for settlement activity and "a blockade of Palestinian areas."

Annan's attack on Holocaust education was published just as the U.N. was generating headlines for condemning Israel for the Gaza flotilla episode. What was behind the timing of this article?

The Israel-bashers do not want to give up the powerful imagery of the Holocaust, so they transform it and remove the Jews. This allows The Elders and others to recast the Gazans as victims and the Israelis as the war criminals. This is especially outrageous when one recalls that the father of modern Arab anti-Jewish violence is Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921-1948. He was an important ally of the Nazis and helped recruit thousands of Muslims for Waffen SS units in Bosnia.

And so, what is there to learn from Kofi Annan's Holocaust problem and the U.N.? Over the last several years, it has been popular to speak about nations that are in internal disarray as "failed states." It is now past time to declare the U.N. a "failed institution." If the U.N. cannot be reformed, it must be marginalized. And the sooner, the better. Moreover, the U.N.-controlled Quartet on the Middle East project, led by Special Envoy Tony Blair, must be reevaluated, given the U.N.'s Holocaust problem and its funding of The Elders.

"If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to keep getting what we're getting," says Stephen Covey. If we fail to reform the U.N., these outrages won't just continue -- they will get worse.

Moshe Phillips is a member of the executive committee of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel / AFSI. The chapter's website is at www.phillyafsi.com. Moshe's blog can be found at phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com and Moshe tweets at twitter.com/MoshePhillips.