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by David Warren


The significance of Israel to the west is out of all proportion to her size and in direct relation to her place, on the front line. The country is unambiguously western, and not only her institutions but the way they operate leave no doubt of this. When, for instance, there are allegations that Israeli troops have committed crimes, in the course of military operations, there is an investigation. The contents and conclusions of that investigation are invariably made known. There will most certainly be open public discussion, and Israel's press is remarkably free.

The country is full of what we can easily recognize as "liberal" people, indeed more than to my taste, and I am frequently amazed that people who live within a mile of an enemy who obviously wants them dead, can blather on so glibly. I find it a source of discouragement: for at one level I had always assumed that "the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind" -- that people whose minds have been scrambled by moral relativism must necessarily wake up, when their own extinction is in view. But no, they only turn in their sleep.

The significance of Israel is that she stands proxy for America and the West in the minds of our most lethal enemies.

In Islamist propaganda she is the "Little Satan," as the U.S. is the "Big Satan." And while there is plenty of blood-curdling anti-Semitism in Islamist pronouncements, there is also clarity about the long-term goal.

First destroy "the Jewish entity" of Israel, because she is exposed. Then destroy "the Christian entity."

The U.S. is held constantly in view as the ultimate target, to accomplish this; and the destruction of Israel is constantly presented as a means to it.

I've never noticed any subtlety in this propaganda. Whether it is rejected by the whole Arab and Muslim world -- whether that world secretly longs for peace and normal relations with Israel, as with America and the West -- is moot. The frontline states, around Israel, and all of the Arab regional powers, speak of the country only as a pariah.

Against this hard and seemingly inalterable background, western policies are made. The Camp David accords, more than a generation ago, promised real change in this background condition, falsely. Thirty years later, the Egyptian government has reverted to type and, quite frankly, they fear their own people too much to show the slightest public generosity towards Israel or Israelis (even if there is much co-operation behind the scenes).

It is against this background that we watched the latest anti-Israel stunt unfold in the United Nations, whose corrupt Human Rights Council -- loaded with some of the worst violators of real human rights on the planet -- commissioned the Goldstone report to advance the international battle against Israel.

This investigation of "war crimes," during the Israeli military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, was explicitly anti-Israel, for it began from the premise that a legitimate sovereign state, governing an open society, could be put on a level with a terrorist organization ruling a closed society.

The conclusion was cheaply, "both sides committed war crimes," but the open celebration of the report by Hamas, and outrage even from liberal elements in Israeli society, tells us what we need to know about it.

Richard Goldstone, the South African lawyer and judge, long a darling of the politically correct, was an inspired choice for the task: a man who is technically a Jew. He is a man who did well out of the old apartheid regime; who switched sides to do even better under the African National Congress.

He had, and retains, an appalling record for casually announcing very serious and consequential allegations, and then not bothering to follow up with evidence. His outrageous behaviour as prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia -- repeatedly announcing "grounds for prosecution" with sublime indifference to correct procedure, earned him condemnation from judges in the Hague.

His suggestion that Israel knowingly invaded Gaza not in order to attack the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas, but to inflict maximum harm on its defenceless people, by way of some scheme of "collective punishment" -- was of a type with his earlier performances.

The information in his report was overwhelmingly hearsay supplied from Hamas-controlled sources. But what was mostly insinuated in his report has now been formally declared by the sponsoring Human Rights Council, which tabled a resolution Friday to make Israel answerable to the International Criminal Court, for Goldstone's amorphous charges.

The U.S., which under the Obama administration has reversed Bush policy by actually joining and funding this HRC, of course voted against the resolution, but made no serious effort to defeat it. By refusing to withdraw from the council now, the U.S. government is again signalling its willingness to seek favour from its own worst enemies, by throwing Israel to the wolves.

David Warren writes The Ottawa Citizen This article appeared October 23, 2009. This article is archived at


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