CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Sometimes an apology can be quite revealing. Consider the one recently issued by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah. He apologized to the families of two Israeli children who were killed by a Hizbullah rocket that hit the Christian holy city of Nazareth. He called them shahids, martyrs, even though they did not choose to die at the hands of Hizbullah terrorists.
The apology was issued not because they were children or innocent bystanders, but because they were Israeli Arabs and not Jews. Hizbullah's rockets are aimed at Jews, and earn cheers whenever they kill a Jewish baby or grandmother. No apologies there.
The so-called Arab-Israeli conflict represents the first instance since the Holocaust that Jews, as Jews, are being specifically targeted by an international organization that seeks recognition as a legitimate power. Hizbullah has threatened to attack Jewish targets outside of Israel as well. And they have proved their willingness to do so, as evidenced by their attack on a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, in 1994, in which they collaborated with Argentine neo-Nazis to murder many Jews, including children.
The collaboration between neo-Nazis and Islamic terrorists to murder Jews should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the history of the collaboration between the Palestinian leadership and Hitler during World War II.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was recognized as the official leader of the Palestinians during this period, was a virulent anti-Semite whose hatred of Jews was both religious and racial. He became a close ally and adviser to Adolf Hitler, and an active supporter of the "final solution," the mass murder of European Jewry. In 1940, he asked the Axis powers to settle the Jewish problem in Palestine in accordance with the "racial interests of the Arabs and along lines similar to those used to solve the Jewish question in Germany." He urged Hitler to extend the final solution to the Jewish refugees who had reached Palestine, and he advised Hitler, in 1943, when it was well known what was happening in Poland's death camps, to send the Jews to "Poland, in order thereby to protect oneself from their menace."
Husseini rejected the two-state solution, arguing that Palestine was part of Syria. He objected to any Jewish state, even one the "size of a postage stamp," on Islamic holy land. He wanted all of the Middle East to become judenrein (free of Jews). Husseini's heir was Yasser Arafat, a cousin who also targeted Jews, through his surrogate terrorist groups. When a young student at the Hebrew University was gunned down while jogging through a mixed neighborhood of Jews and Arabs in north Jerusalem in 2004, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arafat's Fatah movement, joyously claimed credit for killing yet another innocent Jew. When it was later learned that the jogger was a Jerusalem Arab and not a Jew, Al Aqsa quickly apologized to the family, calling it an accident.
This is anti-Semitism, pure and simple. And despite efforts by supporters of Palestinian terrorism to justify the murder of innocent civilians as national liberation or by any other euphemism, these selective apologies prove Islamic terrorists' targeting of Jews is little different in intent from other forms of exterminatory anti-Jewish murders.
And yet Kofi Annan, the secretary- general of the United Nations, Louise Arbour, the high commissioner of human rights at the UN, and many within the European Union are condemning Israel for its reasonable military actions to prevent these racist murders. They insist that there is a moral equivalence between the anti-Semitic targeting of Jews by Hizbullah and the defensive actions directed by Israel at military targets.
Hizbullah's goal is not the "liberation" of Palestine. Its members are not Palestinian. They are Islamic extremists who want to "liberate" all Islamic land, which includes all of Israel proper, including Tel Aviv, from the "crusaders," a term that includes Jews and Christians (even though Jews were among the victims of the Crusades). The fight against Hizbullah is a fight against anti-Jewish, anti- Christian, and humanistic values. If Hizbullah terrorism is not stopped in southern Lebanon, it will be coming to a theater, church, or synagogue near you.
• Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard University. He is the author of, most recently. "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways."