Op-Ed: No Statute of Limitations on Genocide
Daniel Perez, Jewish Voice EditorThe writer was editor of the Jewish Voice of New York. His work has appeared in a variety of news outlets, including A7, Yeshiva World News and JNS. Mr. Perez is currently working as a freelance writer and consultant . He can be reached at email@example.com.
It seems like the few stories we read nowadays involving wanted Nazi war criminals includes them being let off the hook, because they’re old, or frail, or sick.
Or because it happened a long time ago.
As if any of these are valid reasons to excuse the perpetrators of the Holocaust. We thought we’d heard every lame excuse in the book, but alas, we have heard a new one.
In this case, it involves accused Hungarian war criminal Charles Zentai. The Hungarians want him extradited to finally face some semblance of justice—and it only took them a little over half a century to get the ball rolling. Way to go, guys!
The Aussies’ response? “No way, mate!”
Supposedly, the basis of the Australian High Court’s decision was its finding that in order to qualify for extradition, the crime must have existed as a legal offense in the state requesting extradition at the time of commission.
So, just to be clear: Hungary wants to recall one of its citizens to try them for war crimes committed under a previous government. But Australia can’t do that in good conscience, because the crime was committed with the tacit approval of the criminal regime in whose service the offense was committed. So…because the war criminal in question had his war crimes approved by higher-ranking war criminals, his crime was not a crime. Or at least, not one deserving of punishment!?
What are we supposed to do with the knowledge that murder isn’t considered murder if it’s committed in a time and place where society condones murder? We understand the liberal tendency towards moral relativism, but this is tantamount to giving the Holocaust an ex post facto legal seal of approval!
Unless the Australians were to fry him themselves, of course. (Even then, it makes no sense to have the trial there – no doubt any pertinent witnesses, if there are any still with us, would be quite elderly and probably wouldn’t take well to intercontinental air travel.)
Of course, we all live in a post-post-war world. We live in a place where, in the name of “compassion,” a German court can ban the practice of circumcision, implicitly lecturing the Jews on what is considered unethical treatment. Excuse me, but while I’m sure that Germany is full of experts on all things cruel and unusual, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that we Jews, as a people, have earned a free pass to
a) practice our religion un-harassed and in peace, and
b) not be subjected to the moral pontifications of the right honorable judges of any nation whose former pastimes involve forcing men, women and children into gas chambers and ovens.
No. You don’t get to lecture us. Not then, not now, not ever.
We will continue to circumcise our sons, shecht and consume kosher meat (we'll even take a moment to thank the G-d whose laws you hold in contempt, before and after we eat it), keep the Sabbath, conduct our business with unwavering integrity – and we will continue to pursue Nazi war criminals, to the ends of the earth, until every last one of them is dead. Then, it's the Almighty's turn.
Given this Bizarro-world approach to ethics that seems to be gaining popularity in such far-flung places as Germany, Holland, and Australia, and with anti-Semitism back in vogue, now may be the time to buy that ticket to Israel, even if you missed the El Al pricing glitch earlier this month!