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The Goldstone report is fast becoming the Goldstone Affair.
When we first heard of the oncoming report by a committee headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, it was because of a series of letters written by Maurice Ostroff to Judge Goldstone back in May 2009, when the fact-finding mission was first announced. We wondered why the fuss. There was no way a country as meticulous as Israel could be accused of war crimes. Arab terrorists know they are safe from IDF counterattack if they shoot from within a group of women and children. True, even though Israel sacrificed her soldiers in Jenin to spare civilians, still the Arabs accused them of killing some 5000 civilians. (The final count -- when the propaganda smog cleared -- was around 50, almost all of whom were terrorists or who had aided the terrorists by luring the IDF troops to their deaths.) Notwithstanding, we still thought this was plain silly. If unintentially killing an actually innocent occasional civilian was a war crime, was there a democratic country that could not be so tarnished? And as for the arab and other totalitarian countries, had anyone even bothered making a count of their crimes against civilians?
The founders of the United Nations envisioned an environment where its members would behave in a gentlemanly fashion to argue out and negotiate differences in a peaceful manner. But times have changed.
We ignored that the Goldstone Commission was put in place by UNHRC, the Human Rights Council of the U.N. UNHRC had a long history of unsubstantiated attacks on particular countries, while it ignores what other particular countries do, no matter what they do.
But we naturally assumed there would be a red-line drawn at some point on outrageous accusations.
The Father Brown story "The Crime of the Communist" turns on the question why the victim didn't light his cigarette at table.
'He only wanted to abolish God,' explained Father Brown in a temperate and reasonable tone. 'He only wanted to destroy the Ten Commandments; wash out all the common sense of ownership and honesty; and let his culture and his country be flattened out by savages from the ends of the earth. That's all he wanted. You have no right to accuse him of anything beyond that. Hang it all, everybody draws the line somewhere! And you come here and calmly suggest that [he] would have begun to smoke, or even strike a match, while he was still drinking the College Port... no, no; men are not so utterly without laws and limits as all that!
We were wrong. Wrong about the U.N. Wrong about Judge Goldstone, who has put himself in the company of those who sold out his neighbors to the Inquisition to prove himself a good -- if newly converted -- Christian. He is outstanding even among the current crop of Jews who use their Jewish birth to aid and abet any and all organizations that desire to destroy Israel. He has shown himself a worthy member of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), a group he helped found. As NGO Monitor writes:
"HRW's massive lobbying effort aligns it with such human rights stalwarts as Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Libya, Iran, Malaysia, Venezuela, Egypt, and Hamas, which are vigorously campaigning for the adoption of the recommendations, including war crimes indictments." (NGO Monitor, October 15, 2009)
HRW has more than earned its notoriety by condemning Israel for any
dereliction and ignoring outrages by the Arabs. Saudi Arabia -- that
model of respect for human rights -- is one of their funders. Saudi
Arabia, whose punishment for minor crimes is to cut off a hand (it's
merciful and cuts off the left hand so the criminal can still eat
with his right hand), isn't noted for wasting money on untargetted
causes. (See, e.g., Noah Pollak, WSJ, July 30, 2009.)
LOOKING BACK, WE SEE THAT THE GAME PLAN WAS SIMPLE. Get someone prominent, eminent, someone with gravitas -- preferably an Jew -- to condemn Israel invading Gaza to stop missile attacks on its civilian population.
Judge Goldstone had already taken a screen test, so to speak. He was a Judge in South Africa during Apartheid days. When apartheid was over, he worked just as hard for the African National Congress (ANC), ignoring violent crimes of the ANC, and publicizing only the crimes of the apartheid regime. His mission statement was simple. In fancy words, he was told: get Israel. He followed orders scrupulously.
In any war, finding terrible things that happen doesn't take much effort. FInding it in OCL was harder, but not impossible. Especially when the committee took witness testimony without requiring substantiation or looking for counter testimony. The Arabs put their women and children in harm's way to shield the terrorists, and despite Israel's efforts to avoid civilian damage, of course some of these were killed. Relatively few compared to what even civilized and disciplined armies have done -- as recently as in Kosovo and Iraq and Afghanistan -- but there were some.
As Hana Levi Julian writes
The report also alleges "a director and intentional attack" on Gaza City's Al Quds Hospital and the ambulance station next door. It also cited an incident in which it said that the IDF fired at a mosque during prayer services, killing 15 worshippers, and had shelled a house where soldiers had forced PA civilians to assemble in the Samouni neighborhood of Zeitoun, south of Gaza City. Also cited were accusations by PA Arabs that they had been used by IDF soldiers as human shields while their houses were searched. The investigators disregarded the fact that the Hamas terrorist organization that governs the Gaza region -- and the buildings in question -- were the source of the endless rocket and mortar attacks on Israel's citizens that had sparked the military operation. (Arutz-7)
Soccer Dad sums up:
"[T]he Goldstone commission chose the incidents to investigate, specifically because it determined that those incidents would demonstrate that Israel committed war crimes. And of course any incidents that would show that Hamas committed war crimes was ignored." (November 4, 2009)
When a witness did suggest there was a reason for Israel going into Gaza, the Judge scrupulously didn't listen. For example, this:
United Nations Human Rights Council Judge Richard Goldstone, whose 500-page report on Wednesday condemned Israel for war crimes, fell asleep while he was supposed to be watching a film showing Sderot children fleeing from rocket fire. Noam Bedein, head of the Sderot Media Center, told Israel National News Wednesday morning, "I screened a film showing the rocket explosions, and Goldstone fell asleep before my eyes." (Arutz-7, 9/16/09)
No new facts were sought. The Report could be quickly cut and paste from previous condemnations -- many of which had already been shown to be fallacious as well as vicious -- from the many NGOs that are paid to target Israel.
In Phase 2, the worthies at the U.N would honcho resolutions condemning Israel through the General Assembly, then the Security Council and, with straight faces, would kick the ball to the International Court of Criminal Justice in the Hague, which would then condemn Israel for war crimes. The game plan may still work -- at the very least, its support in the General Assembly will for months be a major strut for rightous indignation by Arabs -- and Buddies of Arabs -- castigating Israel's callousness and disregard for Human Rights. It is unlikely western countries will support it all the way, but there is the 57-strong voting bloc of Muslim states, including the 20-odd Arab states, which has only two glues to keep them stuck together -- the Koran and a desire to destroy Israel.
The plan has run into more problems than expected. So recently, Goldstone has started to point out that he expanded the original mandate. Really? How does one do that? He appears to have forgotten that UNHRC refused to endorse his "broadened" mandate. It is therefore about as legally binding as a check without a signature. He continues to reassure the ignorant that the Report condemns war crimes by both Israel AND Hamas. And so it does. It condemns Hamas in about 1% of the report. As Herb Zweibon of AFSI pointed out, (September 17, 2009)
"Yes, the report finds Hamas probably did fire on Israeli civilians, and possibly did use human shields to wage war against Israel, but these charges are not considered consequential."
For Shame, Mr. Goldstone. For Shame.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GOLDSTONE REPORT is not that an official committee of the United Nations saw fit to publish a scurrilous report. It was that they were not inhibited in doing so. They were not restrained by moral considerations, by consideration of what other countries do while waging war, by realistic comparisons, by considerations of what Israel was responding to, by fear of retaliation by an angry Israel. They have no red line.
As for Israel. Perhaps it should stop believing that if it is
twenty times as moral as any other nation, it will be rewarded by
praise for its forbearance. The secularists of Israel want to be like
any other nation. The religionists of Israel can teach them -- "when
someone comes to kill you, kill him first." Don't wait eight years to react.
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