New Haven, CT ― The UN outlawed genocide in 1948, and the United States launched a war on terror in 2001; yet, neither genocide nor terrorism shows any sign of abating. What went wrong?
“Perhaps we should ask, ‘What really causes these horrific outbreaks of violence?’” wrote counterterrorism expert and former federal prosecutor Henry “Hank” Kopel in an op-ed for Washington Examiner (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/can-we-ever-stop-genocide-and-terrorism). “Conventional wisdom blames genocides on ‘ancient hatreds’ and explains terrorism as a response to both poverty and the legacy of Western colonialism. In this view, mass killings are the inevitable outcomes of impersonal forces, leaving little space for prevention. But these popular causation theories are profoundly wrong.”
In his thoroughly researched analysis, War on Hate: How to Stop Genocide, Fight Terrorism, and Defend Freedom, Kopel explains why public policy efforts have fallen short and identifies new strategies that he says could prevent such carnage.
In his book, he refutes the dominant views related to terrorism and genocide causes and says that the inciting power of mass, ideological hate propaganda is what activates the drive to commit mass atrocities and creates the multitude of perpetrators needed to conduct a genocide or sustain a terror campaign. A secondary causal factor, he goes on to explain, is illiberal, dualistic political culture.
“This is the breeding ground for the extremist, ‘us-vs-them’ ideologies that always precipitate episodes of mass hate incitement,” Kopel said. “These causal factors are especially pronounced across the Middle East, which explains why the region exhibits such a disproportionate output of terrorist and related violence.”
He outlines a two-tiered policy response that naturally follows from his analysis: in the short term, several targeted interventions to curtail outbreaks of such incitement; and in the long term, support for indigenous agents of liberalization in venues most at risk for ideologically driven violence.
War on Hate provides an abundance of evidence for this pathbreaking causation analysis. It also explains how the Middle East became such an incubator of violence; calls out the liberal democracies for their relative neglect of the actual causes of mass violence; and offers a comprehensive policy agenda both for combatting and reducing terrorism, and for making “Never again!” a reality.
About the Author
Henry “Hank” Kopel is a former federal prosecutor in Connecticut with more than 30 years of experience investigating and prosecuting national security matters, domestic terrorism, violent crimes, narcotics trafficking and white-collar crime. In addition to War on Hate: How to Stop Genocide, Fight Terrorism, and Defend Freedom, Kopel is the author of “The Case for Sanctioning State Sponsors of Genocide Incitement” in the Cornell International Law Journal, as well as several op-ed commentaries on Middle East issues. Kopel is an honors graduate of Brandeis University, Oxford University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has served as a teaching assistant in the government department at Harvard College and lectured on prosecuting hate crimes at the University of Connecticut Law School. Kopel serves on the global board of advisors for the Abraham Global Peace Initiative.
To read his blog, please visit https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/henry-kopel/, or follow the author on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KopelHank.
War on Hate: How to Stop Genocide, Fight Terrorism, and Defend Freedom
Publisher: Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield
Available from Amazon.com, BN.com and numerous other retailers
Reviews, photos, links to previous interviews and Q&As are available upon request.