Gaza Strip Hamas Israel Richard Goldstone UN Human Rights Council United Nations

The Goldstone report and why I am a self-hating Jew

I am a self-hating Jew. Sometimes, that is. Sometimes I hate myself after losing my temper at my daughter or wife, or envying a friend’s success, or not comforting someone who needed comforting. Sometimes I hate myself for being too hard on myself.

Today, I am a self-hating Jew because I realize I’ve never taken the trouble to denounce those who call critics of Israel “self-hating Jews.”

If you Google “Richard Goldstone self-hating Jew Gaza,” you will find more than 5,000 entries. They include recent posts that invoke the new, controversial report from the UN Commission that Goldstone headed, which charges Israel and Hamas with war crimes and possibly even crimes against humanity. But his accusers are just getting started. By the time I finish writing this post, I bet a few hundred more will appear. A campaign of very personal character assassination is as predictable as a rain shower after the clouds have grown dark.

Fortunately, before we are completely drenched, there is a great piece about Goldstone by Claudia Braude in the upcoming Forward. It sets the record straight about his own relationship with Judaism and Israel:

Goldstone is proud of his Jewish identity and links it firmly to his human rights concerns. A president emeritus of World ORT, an international Jewish vocational training organization that maintains some of its biggest projects in Israel, he also serves on the Hebrew University of Jersulem’s board of governors.

Characterizing the struggle for human rights as “a secular religion of our time,” Goldstone once described the existence of the State of Israel as its Jewish embodiment. “This struggle for human rights has been in the most profound existential sense very much the struggle for ourselves — for our own Jewish destiny. For the creation of the State of Israel,” he said.

“I’ve been involved with Israel since I can remember,” Goldstone told the Forward. “My mother was very active in the women’s Zionist movement.” His daughter, Nicole, lived in Israel. Speaking to the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists in 1995, Goldstone described the recognition of human rights as a “central part” of Jews’ “ancient and noble heritage.”

“As Jews, and particularly as Jewish lawyers and jurists, we… have a duty to inform ourselves of human rights abuses wherever they occur, and to add our voices to those… who seek to protest against them,” he said. “We must not only insist that we be judged by those standards by our neighbors and by the international community. We should indeed object vehemently when any seeks to judge us by any other standards,” he said.

I’ve just finished reading the Goldstone report. As the Forward notes, it “blisters with specificity.” It is upsetting. I don’t know exactly what happened in the Gaza Strip during “Operation Cast Lead” last winter. I do know that Israel will have a difficult time discrediting the report by citing the UN’s past transgressions, or insisting that Israel went out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, or explaining how the report neglected to include the “context” for Israel’s actions. White phosphorus provides its own context.

I also know that Richard Goldstone is my kind of Jew. And this time, I’m not going to hate myself for neglecting to lambaste those who reflexively call him “self-hating.”

66 thoughts on “The Goldstone report and why I am a self-hating Jew

  1. David-
    American Jews affiliated with J-Street are organizing in order to force the Israeli government and people to carry out policies directly damaging to the security and vital interests of the country AS DEFINED BY ITS DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT.
    That is, these American Jews have the gall to tell Israel what to do while they sit on their burgeoise behinds and don’t have to face the security consequences, nor send their sons into battle. I can’t think of any hutzpah greater than that. I would call THAT “shocking”, David.

  2. Interesting to note that since Operation “Oferet Yitzukah” (Cast Lead), rocket fire from Gaza has decreased dramatically.
    It is also interesting to note that HIZBULLAH, who received a dose of the same thing in the Lebanon II War REFRAINED from firing rockets in support of their Palestinian brothers during the Gaza War. Sort of makes you think, doesn’t it?- all of you who are now consumed with guilt feelings because of Goldstone.

  3. If a man like Goldstone can’t inspire much soul-searching and critical thought in Israel, what hope is there for anyone else? How are we supposed to believe that the 90% who supported Cast Lead would listen to another perspective, rather than sticking their fingers in their ears?

  4. Robin,

    Goldstone can’t inspire much soul-searching and critical thought in Israel because of whom he works for. Back in the 1960s when the Third World achieved a majority in the General Assembly it was determined that all problems could be blamed on Israel, Rhodesia, and South Africa. Rhodesia and South Africa to satisfy the African dictators club, the OAU, and Israel to satisfy the Arab League and the other Muslim countries. When Israel rescued its hostages from Idi Amin’s Uganda in July 1976 UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, appropriately enough a former Nazi war criminal, condemned Israel for violating Uganda’s sovereignty. I remember mentioning this to an Israeli at the time and his reply, delivered without much excitement or outrage, that it was to be expected. It was like your neighbor complaining about the noise or gossiping or your wife nagging–just ignored. That was more than thirty years ago and little has happened to justify a change in Israeli thinking. The white regimes are now gone in Rhodesia and South Africa, and of course everything is fine in Zimbabwe except for the 98 or 99 percent of the population that isn’t directly connected to the security forces or members of parliament. Hopefully we won’t be saying the same thing about South Africa in fifteen or twenty years but if that happens there will be no criticism from the UN. Robin, the UN only has moral authority for people like you. Israel doesn’t listen to people like you, if it did it would not exist.

  5. Tom, point taken on Goldstone and the U.N. But what about Israelis like Ilan Pappe, Neve Gordon, and Uri Avnery, who doesn’t even support the Palestinian call for boycott?

  6. One of the reasons for the self-hating Jew exagerated response, and for the solidarity exagerated response, is that neither understand the limited power and nature of the Goldstone report.

    It is a “fact-finding” investigation, not even as far as International Court of Justice deliberations, that are the equivalent of grand jury deliberations, affirming a cause for prosecution.

    They are not yet even indictments, and definitely not judgements.

    Both defensive name-callers inflate the authority of the investigation to one of determination.

    Israel did refuse to cooperate with the Goldstone investigation, probably to protect intelligence sources.

    Another inflation, by the left, is to call the whole endeavor a war crime (the term itself a broad condemning brush stroke understood as the equivalent of genocide, which the term is NOT equivalent to).

    The left doesn’t distinguish between rational defensive actions and excessive. That any civilian was killed is evidence of excess to that perspective, and the initiation of the state of war resulting from Hamas shelling and escalation of shelling.

    A war crime is an action outside of the rules of war, during war. (That an incident is described as a war crime in ways confirms that there was a state of war.)

  7. “It is also interesting to note that HIZBULLAH, who received a dose of the same thing in the Lebanon II War REFRAINED from firing rockets in support of their Palestinian brothers during the Gaza War.”

    It hasn’t been lost on me at all that despite their cry of victory after Lebanon II–Hizbollah disappeared with tails between legs.

  8. The goal of military action is change in behavior. So, although each action was embarrassing to Israel, including for its lack of discipline and adherence to international law during war, the military objectives were met.

    That is the $100,000,000,000 question though relative to ethics. Do the ends justify the means? Were there/are there alternative means to accomplish the necessary ends?

    For a Torah practitioner, that question IS in all inquiries. It is not dismissable.

    Rosh Hashona is this week. This is the time to review, including publicly, certainly privately and collectively privately to the result that it effects actual behavior.

    Towards the goal of mutual decency, if we are capable personally and in interactions of turning to peace, rather than rationalization of private lusts and habits.

    Did you see Goldstone’s op-ed in the New York Times?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/opinion/17goldstone.html

  9. Robin,
    What about Pappe and Gordon? Pappe is about as popular with Israeli Jews as Simon Girty was in Kentucky and the same will soon hold true for Gordon. Avnery I have more respect for. If you want an Israeli historian with a much more nuanced position than Pappe read Avi Shlaim or Benny Morris.

  10. Dan:

    To most, this is a political document, but in fact, as you know, it is in every sense more akin to a legal indictment. It is the predicate to possible jurisdiction of the incredibly unbiased international court. So when you say something like you read the report and then you opine, rightfully so, that “[w]hite phosphorous has its own context”, you leave the legal realm and fall into the political. That’s OK, but you just buttress the points made by those who object to the use of this report as a matter of law. Indeed, the issue that, as a matter of due process, would bring Israel before the unbiased international judiciary is whether Israel used white phosphorous in violation of international law. Yes, you’re right, Israel is going to have a tough time politically. But those who love her, warts and all, and who are embarassed and ashamed by much of what seems credible with respect to what happened in Gaza, should never forget that Israel is entitled to equal protection among the nations under the law. Equal protection under the law–it’s a concept that should resonate among us all. It is not an excuse; it is a fundamental requirement for true justice.

    In any event, lots of soul searching this year. L’Shana Tova.

    Bruce

  11. I’m only on page 5 of this report and already I’ve read that the Israelis refused to open their door to this commission, and the PA tripped all over itself to usher them in.

    Things that make you go hmmmm….

    However, I have about 567 pages to go, so maybe I’ll have a whole new perspective by the end.

  12. There is a path of accountability for Israel.

    There is none for Hamas though. Who is going to try Hamas officials for their war crimes?

    Do you attribute any qualitative significance to escalating rocket fire into Israel, with the HOPE that Israel would have to respond militarily.

    Again, with the odd twist of the Gandhian formula “The purpose of civil disobedience is to evoke a response”.

  13. Soul-searching.

    It should be oriented to “how do we practically get to peace?”

    I propose the two-state solution at/near the green line, with provisions to realize equal due process under the law in each state, and deliberate efforts to help Palestine become viable so as to realize a good neighbor to good neighbor relationship.

    What say you all? Bruce?

  14. Has there ever been a time in the world (until now) when Jews have *not* been allowed to disagree with one another? Why is it that if I don’t agree with the current Israeli administration am I considered not just wrong, but an enemy??? I don’t hate myself, or Judaism, or Israel… but I do hate this intolerance of free exchange.

  15. “It should be oriented to ‘how do we practically get to peace?'”

    This is how: Each side has to sacrifice something of great value to them.

    For the Israelis, it’s the settlements, for the Palestinians it’s “right of return.”

    Because settlement abandonment is tangible and “right of return” is more of an ideology that shapes behaviors and attitudes…the Palestinians need to do something tangible that proves they have abandoned “right of return.”

    Yes, it really should be that simple and straightforward. In my opinion.

  16. Suzanne,

    The trouble with that tradeoff is that the settlements are illegal under international law so that the Palestinians will feel that they are giving something for nothing.

  17. Richard:

    I am so very much with you. At or near the green line, and the reality is probably more likely to be near the green line with inner green line land as compensation. An integrated economy to continue boosting Palestinian infastructure is essential. On this point, Avishai’s Hebrew Republic should be on everybody’s reading list, along with Dan’s book which I’ve not gotten to yet but of course I owe it a read.

    I admit that I don’t take the Gaza Report as seriously as perhaps I should. I unqualifiedly believe that the deck was stacked against Israel before the investigation was commenced, and I believe that Richard Goldstone was there to temper it and to make the process appear more appropriate. I don’t believe an objective investigation could possibly be done in a Hamas-controlled Gaza, and I don’t believe most of the people involved in the investigation had a problem with that.

    And Suzanne, as to Israel’s refusal to participate in the investigation, respectfully, you should consider the implications of doing so, i.e. tacitly agreeing to the jurisdiction of those whom you know won’t give you a fair shake. That’s the way the world is, and that doesn’t excuse Israel’s transgressions, but nor does it or should it preclude Israel from recognizing that it’s not going to get a fair shake in such an investigation.

  18. D Weber-
    Jews have every right to disagree with each other. American Jews have every right to try to convince Israel’s population, and through them, its government to change policy. They do NOT have the right, realizing that they have lost the argument in Israel, to then run to the US government and use them to coerce or force Israel to carry out the policies these American Jews want and which Israelis have now overwhelmingly rejected.

  19. Bruce–I was being sardonic (as should be noted by “the PA tripped all over itself to usher [the commission] in”).

    Tom–occupation can’t be all that bad if they’re willing to forego a state on that technicality.

    About this report: I’m skimming–otherwise I’ll be at it for the next 2 months.

    But there were a couple of things that raised questions for me.

    First this on page 20: “58. In the Al Atatra area in north-western Gaza Israeli troops had dug out sand pits in which Palestinian men, women and children were detained. Israeli tanks and artillery positions were located inside the sand pits and around them and fired from next to the detainees.”

    If that is true, it’s pretty disturbing. It was probably the worst thing I read. However, I’m just wondering if they have physical evidence of this–i.e.aerial views, photos of the aftermath etc…anything that proves this inconclusively true. And if so, can it be made public?

    (that specific incident goes more into detail 200 pages later but still no mention of evidence.)

    My other question is the mention on page 28 about the arrest of children. What ages are these children? Are we talking about 17 year olds or 10 year olds? I didn’t find the details on this yet so maybe that question is answered.

    People sometimes use the term children for older teen agers for political purposes. I’ve seen it done–so of course I wondered.

  20. Suzanne:

    I’m glad you’re taking the time to read the report. I confess to having neither the time nor the fortitude to do so. I look forward to reading more of your analysis.

    I would be interested in knowing who the witnesses are, how they were interviewed, and chosen, and of course the extent to which the authorities were both involved and present. This goes to my thesis that there is absolutely no way that an independent inquiry could have been conducted in Hamas-controlled Gaza. I admit to bias; is it blinding me or are does the report reflect that my thesis is accurate? Penny for your thoughts. Thanks.

  21. I don’t know if you are a “self hating Jew” (your sarcasm is a defence mechanism) but I do know you are wrong about the Goldstone report.

    The presence of specificity isn’t a sign of the presence of veracity.

    It’s one sided report based mostly on evidence gathered from Hamas supporters.

  22. Richard Goldstone is my kind of Jew

    great you can both go to south africa once a thriving country and give money to the millions of blacks dying from aids

    the good people left south africa

    south africa went backwards 25 years

    with the rate black are dying whites will
    soon become majority

    as to gold stone not worth my effort

  23. The Goldstone report is worth the effort.

    I haven’t read it, even seen it.

    But, the man has credibility for reliable investigations, and was hired to do the job of collecting evidence, and suggesting a legal course of action. It is NOT a judgement, but a preliminary effort to determine if proceeding further down the judicial road is relevant.

    IF Israel desires to conduct its defense efforts ethically, it should read the report seriously, and correct systemic and incidental failings.

    Otherwise its an audit ignored. We’ve seen the consequences of under the rug-sweeping elsewhere in the world (and lots of times in Israel).

    I’m involved with a client who is a not-for-profit that was embezzled by a former employee. They’ve submitted the case to prosecutors, but the Massachusetts criminal investigation system is so bogged down, that it is unlikely that the case will be taken up by them in five years even.

    The not-for-profit has a restitution agreement with former employee, which she is paying.

    So long as she continues paying, even if charged and convicted of a felony, she’ll get probation (which I actually agree with). The purpose of prosecution is improvement, NOT punishment.

    So, Israel should DO the improvements called for by the report. It should also assist the restoration of the Gazan infrastructure and economy.

    But, the sequence to that happening is Hamas reconciling with the PA, negotiation between the PA and Israel, formation of a viable Palestinian state, and fixing what is broken in the relations.

    Who has the courage to accomplish that, to willingly risk reputation and life for the greater good? Not many. Its too bad.

    The inhibitions to that are threefold:

    1. Personal fear of death for isolation from one’s friends
    2. Fear of death for inability to fulfill one’s responsibilities to children and others that one is personally responsible for
    3. Dedication to one’s role and responsibilities as an official, though sadly those responsibilities are defined as solely parochial, rather than more humane.

  24. I hope others will take a look at the report for themselves. I’ve read enough to raise my own questions…I suggest others do the same.

    I have drawn no conclusions about this report.
    But I would like to see the physical evidence gor the claims (rather than eyewitness accounts, which often get tossed out for unreliability in a court of law).

    My other impression from skimming is that much of what happened was rogue behavior–if indeed the claims are true. The report indicated that it examined the Israeli military’s blueprint for strategy and did not find this kind of instruction given. Indeed everything was in place to avoid civlians.

    One last question comes to mind though…there was one report of a cluster of men who were targeted for long range shooting (thought to be Hamas associates)…and it was done in an area where “civilians were going about their daily business.”

    What constitutes daily business when you’re under attack?

    I dunno…it’s stuff like this that raises my antennae about veracity.

  25. Richard:

    I agree with you that Israel should take responsibility for its actions; I don’t believe that, until convinced otherwise, Israel should do anything in accordance this report. This would not be a response to a clogged state court system.

    The thing is, Israel has already, at least vis-a-vis the IDF, conducted its own investigation. The community of nations, perhaps some with cause, reject that effort. I do wish there was a reliabe and independent internal mechanism for looking into systemic flaws and going after individuals who authorized and otherwis engaged in unwarranted conduct toward the Gazan civilian population. What I wish for and what is are two different things.

    As to the “self-hating Jew” stuff, I don’t get where that fits into discussions of the Goldstone report in this forum. I think Dan can opine as he wishes here; he doesn’t have to consider himself a “self-hating” Jew. Leave that to the shock Jock Israel blogs. As to Goldstone, I have no doubt he takes his Judaism very seriously, perhaps even more than I do. From what I have read, I have also no doubt that he has been used by the UN Human Rights Council folks, the forum which found crimes before it investigated, and that he has been used because he is a Jew. Anyone who thinks that Goldstone’s status as a Jew did not play a part in his selection is fooling himself or herself. Perhaps Goldstone was able to temper things in the report. But he was still used.

  26. Bruce–it’s hard to know (or prove) if Goldstone was chosen because of his Jewish status. He has other qualifications as well.

    Personally, I wouldn’t rule it out nor assume that’s why he was chosen.

  27. “I’m only on page 5 of this report and already I’ve read that the Israelis refused to open their door to this commission, and the PA tripped all over itself to usher them in.

    Things that make you go hmmmm….”

    What do you mean?
    “Hmmm, the IDF has something to hide?” or
    “Hmmm, the IDF is pretty stupid not to take an opportunity to present their side of the story?”

  28. It’s legitimate to question the contents of Goldstone’s report. But at some point we have to act on the information we have, and what better information is there?

    There is other information out there. What I’ve heard about the Goldstone report sounds similar to incidents that news organizations reported during the conflict, and to claims that reliable human rights organizations have already investigated and endorsed.

    That includes the use of human shields, indiscriminate use of white phosphorous, destruction of purely civilian infrastructure, both intentional and negligent targeting of civilians, denial of medical care to civilian victims, and the bombing of UN buildings (most serving as civilian shelters). All these things have already been widely and credibly reported, so if they are in the Goldstone report they should not be treated as new or strange accusations.

  29. “One last question comes to mind though…there was one report of a cluster of men who were targeted for long range shooting (thought to be Hamas associates)…and it was done in an area where ‘civilians were going about their daily business.’

    What constitutes daily business when you’re under attack?

    I dunno…it’s stuff like this that raises my antennae about veracity.”

    This one probably shouldn’t. What constitutes daily business when you’re living on less than $1 a day, like 70% of Gazans? I would guess it is almost entirely about feeding yourself and your family–a biological obligation that unfortunately does not get suspended during wartime. For the most part Gazans aren’t people with the resources or the space to stock up on goods and hide out for any length of time.

  30. When incidents of war crimes (or even questionable behaviors if not overtly crimes) occur during war, that is an indication of lax standards in the IDF, of poor training, and poor leadership in accomplishing trained soldiers and policies.

    If a company loses a great deal of money from a large mistake, it is the company’s failure to guarantee appropriate controls that caused the errors. It is not nothing, or “just something that happened”.

    Again, if the result of the report is that Israel incorporates the information in it to make improvements to its performance, that is a good outcome.

    That is a DIFFERENT outcome than the condemnation by dissent. That outcome makes Israel more effective in its defense than less, and eliminates the argument that Israel is rogue.

  31. I seem to remember a lot of false reports coming out from news outfits during operation cast lead, e.g., targeting the UNRWA school, and Israeli snipers taking down an elderly Palestinian woman as she walked along the road.

    These were later recanted as bs–but of course the damage was done.

    Then there is the Jenin style Paliwood videos that everybody is familiar with.

    So unless there is physical evidence, I’d say it’s wise to remain skeptical and make these folks put some elbow grease into proving their claims.

  32. I think the information in the Goldstone report is sufficient to require serious follow-up.

    Even if the Hamas violations go nowhere in the public eye, Israel should endeavor to be an undeniably professional and legal army.

  33. Gideon Levy more or less sums it up:
    “[Operation] Cast Lead was an unrestrained assault on a besieged, totally unprotected civilian population which showed almost no signs of resistance…. It should have been enough just to look at the horrendous disparity in casualties – 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli – to shake the whole of Israeli society… [N]o need to wait for Goldstone to understand that a terrible thing had occurred between the Palestinian David and the Israeli Goliath. But the Israelis preferred to look away, or stand with their children on the hills around Gaza and cheer on the carnage-causing bombs. Under the cover of the committed media, and criminally-biased analysts and experts – all of whom kept information from coming out – and with brainwashed and complacent public opinion, Israel behaved as if nothing had happened. Goldstone has put an end to that, for which we should thank him. After his job is done, the obvious practical steps will be taken. It would be better for Israel to summon up the courage to change course while there is still time,” (Gideon Levy, “Disgrace in the Hague,” Ha’aretz, 17 September 2009)

    As does Amira Haas: “Like the Serbs of yore, we Israelis continue thinking it’s the world that is wrong, and only we who are right. Israel struck a civilian population that remains under its control, it didn’t fulfill its obligation to distinguish between civilians and militants and used military force disproportionate with the tangible threat to its own civilians. Air Force drones and helicopters fired deadly missiles at civilians, many of them children; the Tank Corps and Navy shelled civilian neighborhoods with weapons not designed for precision strikes; soldiers received orders to fire on rescue crews; others fired on civilians carrying white flags; and others killed people in or near their homes. Troops used Gazans as human shields, soldiers detained civilians in abusive conditions, the army used white phosphorus shells in dense civilian areas and, on the eve of withdrawing, destroyed wide residential, industrial and agricultural areas. There is only thing worse than denial – the admission that the IDF indeed acted as has been described, but that these actions are both normal and appropriate.”(Amira Hass, “The one thing worse than denying the Gaza Report,” Ha’aretz, 17 September 2009)

    Even fence-sitter Uri Avnery had a good comment: “In fact, the commission did not say anything new. Almost all the facts were already known: the bombing of civilian neighborhoods, the use of flechette rounds and white phosphorus against civilian targets, the bombing of mosques and schools, the blocking of rescue parties from reaching the wounded, the killing of fleeing civilians carrying white flags, the use of human shields, and more. The Israeli army did not allow journalists near the action, but the war was amply documented by the international media in all its details, the entire world saw it in real time on the TV screens. The testimonies are so many and so consistent, that any reasonable person can draw their own conclusions.” (Uri Avnery, “UM-Shumm, UM Boom” http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1253361627/)

  34. For Suzanne and then David,

    1) Suazanne, the Goldstone Commission indicates it did search for physical evidence by going to the places where it says the atrocities occured. As for your other doubts, you might be right, but Israel refused to cooperate and did not launch an investigation by an independent, non-military body as was done after the Sabra and Shattila massacres. So without the Israelis the Goldstoners had to rely on witnesses but also other reports and documentation, and their own eyes. In a court of law, if 5 witnesses give essentially the same description of an incident but differ on some details, that is generally thought of as compelling evidence.

    I wish I agreed with you. I really do. But if even 1/3 of these allegations are true, they are appalling.

    2) David, why do you call Avnery and “fence-sitter?” Because he doesn’t support BDS and a one-state solution or is there something specific to how he has related to the Gaza operation? I’m curious

  35. Dan–as far as I’m concerned…if the sand pit incident turned out to be the only thing that’s true it would be appalling.

    I’m prepared to be appalled…but I want proof.

    agree…Israel should have an independent, non-military investigation.

    Even better, an impartial, non-affiliated, non-Israeli commission.

    The UN is tainted–and that’s a huge part of the problem.

  36. Hi Dan

    While fully aware of his contributions to the cause of peace, I was compelled to refer to Avnery as a “fence-sitter” because he opposes BDS. Israel must pay a price for its litany of crimes (those of Operation Cast Lead being only of recent vintage.) Increasingly, for good reason, Israel is viewed around the world as a pariah state. It should be treated as such.

    Suzanne: wake up and smell the coffee. Stop making excuses for Israel. The world, including the US, is growing weary of having to put up with its expansionism and racism. Israel is a major and ever-increasing geopolitical liability and will inevitably suffer the same fate as all settler/colonialist states.

  37. David,
    Some of us are reluctant to condemn harshly without evidence, and even then choose to emphasize reform rather than punishment.

    One problem with the condemnatory tone, stated as verbal assaults, is that they deter being listened to seriously.

    A more effective approach is to trace your experience and basis by which you formed your conclusion. There is the risk that someone will say, “that is just subjective”, but there is the benefit that more will conclude “I see how you got there.”

    The which side are you on approach, with this complex a conflict, is also a form of violence. Some of the language that I’ve been accosted by in the context of a political demonstration would be criminal assault if it occurred on a street corner.

  38. David–get a clue…the US announced on Thursday or Friday that it has reservations about the Commission’s report.

    There’s a credibility problem here on all sides…no innocents. So maybe YOU need to smell the coffee.

    Contemplate your own navel, dude.

  39. “Israel is viewed around the world as a pariah state. It should be treated as such.”

    Correction: “Israel is viewed by the Left around the world as a pariah state.”

    Big bleeping deal.

  40. You might wanna check the latest BBC global opinion polls (or for that matter, any BBC global opinion polls.)
    Scroll down to the bottom to see Israel. It’s usually at about the same spot as Iran and North Korea.

  41. ummm…the BBC leans left.

    Polls are limited (if you’re looking for accuracy as opposed to validation of your own views) unless you apply honest science to them and include polls from varying sources.

  42. BTW–European polls are skewed by the presence of fundamentalist Muslims.

    So all sorts of variables have to be considered before you rely on a poll.

    ya know?

  43. Suzanne:

    I apologize for not writing back during the holiday over the weekend. We had a quick colloquy about Mr. Goldstone, wherein I asserted that he was selected to serve as chair because he’s a Jew. I didn’t mean to question his credentials as jurist or attorney. I do stand by what I think is irrebuttable, and that is that this was an investigatory committee with a predisposition conducting an investigation in a Gaza where a true unfettered investigation (i.e. without monitoring and direction by the authorities) would be absolutely impossible. These are givens that I have trouble understanding why some folks, whose good faith I presume, won’t accept.

    Dan, who is one of these folks, makes one good point, and that is that Israel should have convened an investigation such as what we saw after Lebanon in the early 80s. But, and a big but, the fact that Israel did not do this does not, and should not, count as a waiver against Israel’s right to not to particiipate in a predisposed forum, and its post-hoc right to challenge the findings as biased.

    I also agree with Dan when he writes that even if 1/3 of the allegations in the report are true, it would be a horror. Let me go further and say it would be a horror if 1/10th of the incidents addressed in the report or even less than that were true.

    Here’s what I would like to see Dan or anyone in all of media (and I have see NOBODY do this): take one incident in the report, describe it, and describe the basis upon which he or she thinks that the allegation is credible.

    I remain a skeptic, and certainly until then. I don’t trust the UN, I don’t trust world opinion, and this union attorney for the last 25 years doesn’t trust many of his brothers and sisters on matters concerning the State of Israel. And I favor a two-state solution with a shared capital of Jerusalem and Green Line with caveated and compensated borders. And I think I can live with that.

    Why is it laft, sans explanation, to defend this report? Because we are tired of being harangued or does Israel truly deserve a presumption of guilt?

  44. Bruce–I agree with everything you said. And I made my share of emotional typos too. lol!

    Imo, Richard summed it up nicely, if the incidents in this report turn out to be true, then reform (and self correction)is necessary.

    Which is a lot different than the witch hunt mentality of the Islamo-Left coalition (I’m still trying to figure out this particularly bizarre alliance–is it hatred of capitalism?)

  45. Lots of thoughtful comments here & I assume good faith until people truly prove otherwise. I have not read the report, but I do understand that Goldstone has an impeccable reputation.

    I have had the opportunity to see a number of people speak who were in Gaza during and after Cast Lead. I’ve read a lot of other material, watched some videos. I think Gideon Levy’s posted comments do sum up what I understand of this tragedy.

    The Gaza operation sent me the message that Israel is fine with endless war. I reject the utility of an endless war between Israelis and Palestinians. Given everything……settlements, home demolitions, etc etc, the dominant picture here is one of Israel waging war on the Palestinians.

    My point is not to absolve Hamas or others of responsibility. I am just looking at the situation and seeing a clearly dominant party. That party has been playing it hand very poorly.

    Sharon refused to cooperate with Abbas? Why? He withdrew from Gaza unilaterally.

    It is all just really lame. In my view, Israel has run out of excuses.

    I still oppose a boycott, but I am not going to argue against one. Seriously, what else do we expect given Israeli behavior and US complicity prior to January 20 of this year? Palesinians and their supporters quite reasonably pursue every nonviolent means at their disposal.

    Practically the first thing President Obama did after taking office was to appoint a superb individual as his Special Envoy. We should take heart from the Administration’s desire to change this situation but they are going to need our help.

    Israel has to come back from the brink. Most of the people who have claimed to speak for the American Jewish community up till now are charlatans. They have forgotten what it means to be a Jew. I refer you to Dan’s post by the BTVS Rabbi. She understands Judaism.

    Israel has an absolute right to defend itself like any other nation. It does not have a right to make war on civilians. It does not have a right to confiscate land that belongs to others. It does not have a right to make the lives of those under occupation increasingly unbearable.

  46. Lee–I understand what you’re saying.

    Israel has a dilemma: how do you fight a war when your enemy–being weaker–INSISTS on guerrilla (urbanized) warfare and is manipulating the pupper strings?

    The million dollar question.

  47. “BTW–European polls are skewed by the presence of fundamentalist Muslims.”

    Riiight. The, for example, 4-5% Muslims in the UK are surely responsible for the 66% negative rating Israel gets from that country.
    I wonder how negatively Israel rates itself, then, with more than 20% Muslims. 95%?

  48. Koshiro–I believe it’s closer to 10% in the UK. It’s up to 25% in some Scandinavian countries (the Netherlands, for example).

    My argument still stands, however. The BBC is biased. You need to do comparative polls from other (preferably impartial) sources.

  49. Errr. Geeze.
    1.) Even the 4-5% I cited are the *high*, as in “used by islamophobes to make their points” estimates. 10% is a thoroughly ridiculous number which you pulled from thin air.
    2.) There is *no* EU country which has a Muslim population anywhere near 25%. The only countries in Europe which have that many or more Muslims are Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania and the Kosovo. And their Muslims happen to be long-time natives.
    3.) The BBC, that obvious haven of anti-Israel bias, didn’t conduct the survey. They just published it. And even so, unless you accuse them of downright forging the results, what impact does that have?
    4.) The Netherlands are *not* a Scandinavian country. And quite frankly, if that mistake is symptomatic of what you know about Europe, you have made the job of taking you seriously a lot harder.

  50. Correction: this article cites percentages of Muslims in European cities, which is arguably where they yield more political clout.

    “Muslims in West Europe settle in largely urban areas. Muslim population in selected European cities is as high as 25% in Rotterdam (Netherlands), 24% in Amsterdam (Netherlands), 20% in Marseille (France), 17% in Brussels (Belgium), 16% in Bradford (UK)[16] and in while in others, like Paris, Brussels, London and Copenhagen, the figure is 10%.[17][18]”

    Muslim populations in Europe

    I’m not about to engage in some petty bickering match with you, Koshiro. Relying on a single poll (source) is simply not scientific. End of discussion.

  51. My bad about the Netherlands. I tend to lump those Northern European countries together.

    So we’re even: my geography sucks and your scientific application is appalling. haha!

  52. Scientific? Yeah, right. Let’s get scientific. You say my sources are biased. Unreliable. Not enough.

    I can’t help but notice that *your* sources are non-existent. In my scientific world, the non-perfect beats the non-existant.

    I know you are very fond of making unfounded, unproven assertions. (In this case: “Israel is viewed by the Left around the world as a pariah state.”) I also realize you like to put the burden of proof on anybody who disagrees – it’s awfully convenient. But don’t you think that by not even accepting evidence to the contrary is going a little too far into “la-la-land” territory?

    You are blurting out nonsensical assertions as if they were facts, remain adamant about this – and when finally confronted with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, you just shrug it off with no sign of any reflection or reconsideration of your methods of thinking.

    Conclusion: You can’t be taken seriously. ’nuff said by the scientist.

  53. Dear “humanitarian” people & self hating Jews- here and elsewhere,

    For years you kept silence & ignored suicide bombings & rockets on civilians in Israel.
    Have you raised ever a voice against the plans and declarations of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas to destroy Israel and kill the Jews – or that is “humanitarian”?

    But when Israel is defending its citizens, fighting these terrorist creatures that use civilians as human shields, then you wake up with the “crime against humanity”!?

    By the way – where are your voices, or UN “Goldstone” reports related to U.S., U.K. Russia etc, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya?
    Have you some idea how many tens of thousands civilians where killed in Chechnya? No? Why -only because Israel was not involved?

  54. lwaser,

    I don’t know which people should be the recipients of your message. The groups I’ve been associated with regularly condemned suicide bombings and rockets fired against Sderot and Hamas terrorism. I can’t count the number of times when I’ve invoked Rabin’s “periphery theory.” He believed the existential dangers to Israel did not come from its immediate neighbors, but from Iran and Iraq. That was one of the principal reasons why he eventually agreed to pursue the Oslo process, because he thought a defacto or dejure alliance with more moderate Arab states was the key to isolating and defanging Iran and Iraq. I still believe that to be true, when it comes to Iran. You shouldn’t lump everyone from the “humanitarian” groups together into the same category, pal.

  55. Suzanne:

    However skeptic you may be, you should have found compelling evidence of the white phosphorous bombs since we all witnessed them on live TV.

    Iwaser:

    There is a growing belief worldwide in a very simple concept:
    If you steel your neighbor’s water, take down their trees and build yourself a fortress in their backyard then you must expect that they will do something about it, even if you keep repeating that God loves you more and gave this property to you.

    Blaming it on the lefties, Islamists, anti-Semites, etc will not curb this growing belief. The war on Gaza didn’t help much either.

    The Palestinians are ready to give up most of what has been taken, provided that they are left with the minimum requirement of a dignified, sustainable life.

    Today, Israel is a beautiful strong state, with magnificent power and resources and infinite support from the powers of the world.

    So, what does it do to give the neighbors hope that someday no more will be taken from what little they’ve been left with? or that Israelis are remotely interested in the concept of live and let live?

    Israel has the power to make Peace on its own! yet the choice is invariably that of war.

    If you want to point fingers at Sderot’s enemies, they’re called Vanity and Greed.

  56. War is a terrible act. War is not pretty. The world always seems to hold Israel to higher standard and expect while this tiny little country to behave in a God like manner while its opponents, detractors and haters that bomb it and verbally abuse and lie about it, have No rules.
    If Patton, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Bradley follwed the rules of engagement, we the people in the USA would be speaking either German or Japanese this very minute. Give me a break. The reason there is a Palistinian area at all is because Israel has chosen to attempt to follow the rules. Otherwise, they could turn the whole area into Long Term Parking. Most of you bleeding heart liberals need to read a history book and have a rocket or a bullet wiz by your head. There are no atheists in fox holes.

  57. How about “hypocritical” and “self-serving” then?
    Goldstone headed up the mission “asaJew” and a dhimmi and its findings were a done deal before they even set foot in Gaza, which is why the likes of Hamas had no problem with them. Hamas knew beforehand what the report would comprise.

    Christine Chinkin fatally compromised the neutrality of the mission by her signature on the letter to The Times during Cast Lead. She should have been forced by Goldstone to recuse herself and a more ethical man than he would have himself resigned in protest.

    But rather than lose what he thought was a sinecure with the UN he was willing to sell his soul to this reprehensible lot. Shame on him and shame on this author for his deliberate blindness

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