Every few weeks you have to sow fear, every few months you need to make threats, and once every year or two you have to have another little war. Blind cooperation between the defense establishment and the media holds the promise of another round of fighting. In that way, it’s possible to escape some of the blame from the Goldstone report and wallow in the conditions we love best: being the victim, feeling threatened and uniting in the face of the great external danger allegedly in the offing.
The Israel Defense Forces will be above it all and cleanse itself of a series of suspicions and failures. This can also translate into huge budgets, glorified importance and influence for both the generals and the military commentators. It also creates good television ratings and sells sensationalist newspapers and advanced weapon systems. What’s better than that for us?
The most recent cry of alarm: NASA in Palestine, Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in Gaza. Hamas launches an Iranian rocket – it must be Iranian – 60 kilometers. The head of Military Intelligence reported on it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke immediately about missile systems, and the media immediately broke into its favorite war dance. “Three million citizens within range,” “Confrontation in December,” “Are you within range?” “Outskirts of Tel Aviv in danger,” “Doomsday weapons” – frightening headlines accompanied by no less scary maps. “This is a new dimension confronting the IDF. It’s not a simple matter. It’s really a different story altogether. We should remember that there will be many casualties on the home front,” roared the national baritone – the military commentator on television.
So again we are dealing with the grotesque – a strip of land under siege wallowing in its distress and ruins, with a pitiful paramilitary organization whose weapons arsenal would be an embarrassment to an IDF basic training camp. And it already proved its inadequacy in the last war. But the militants are portrayed to us as a superpower. That’s how they create the scenario for the next war. That’s how they empower not just the enemy, but first and foremost the IDF, which can beat the enemy [continued…]
The General Assembly is preparing to approve a resolution that would endorse a United Nations report calling on both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate possible war crimes in the Gaza Strip within three months.
The assembly began discussing the nonbinding resolution, introduced by about 20 Arab League members, including Iraq, on Wednesday, but with about 50 nations scheduled to speak, a vote was not likely until Thursday. Given the widespread support for the Palestinian cause and broad criticism of Israel, passage of the measure seemed assured.
Some members of the European Union were threatening to abstain, however, holding out for changes. One issue was wording that would require Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to work with the Security Council on additional action; another was the resolution’s full endorsement of a decision last month by the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt the report completely, diplomats said. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, declares the Goldstone report as “conceived in hate and executed in sin.”
Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman, is on his way to New York to assist in the PR campaign against the report. “This is war, and in war when you are sent a Tzav Shmone (emergency draft order), you enlist,” Gillerman tells Ynet.
The more overblown the rhetoric gets, the more Israel reinforces its international image as a nation governed by buffoons and demagogues.
“From now on, Palestinian leaders will be judged by the stand they took on the Goldstone Report — anyone who tried to bury it, or who remained silent, will have lost their claim to leadership,” a Palestinian historian friend remarked after popular outrage forced the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas to rescind his decision to postpone the Report at the Human Rights Council.
Now the Report has moved to the United Nations General Assembly, where the United States, flanked by Israel and some European allies, has reportedly spent the weekend putting heavy pressure on representatives from African countries and others who might have wanted to uphold international law and end impunity.
Two key issues faced the General Assembly at its November 4 debate: Whether to endorse or simply “take note” of the Goldstone Report, as Israel’s supporters would like. And whether to exclude the High Commissioner for Human Rights from follow-up in favor of the UN Secretary General’s office. Seasoned UN observers fear that giving Ban Ki-moon’s office control over follow-up would effectively bury the report because of the political pressures that can, and are, placed on him. [continued…]
The primary author of the recently released UN Report on Gaza, the internationally respected jurist Richard Goldstone, has been attacked by establishment voices within the Jewish community. When those within a community try to “excommunicate” and dishonor truth-tellers, it is our obligation and responsibility to speak out vehemently on their behalf and on behalf of the truth they bring.
By all accounts, Judge Goldstone, who has a deep connection to Israel, approached his task with no pre-conceptions about what he and his team would find as they investigated the circumstances and aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Goldstone is a former South African constitutional law court judge who also served as a prosecutor of the Yugoslav and Rwandan war crimes tribunals. His credentials for this task are impeccable.
For following where the truth led him and releasing a report detailing human rights abuses and violations of international law by Israel, as well as by Hamas, Judge Goldstone should be applauded for his honesty and integrity. Instead, he and the report have been viciously and relentlessly attacked by many within the Jewish community.
When it comes to Israel, hard-core censorship and intimidation by those claiming to speak in the name of the Jewish people have been the order of the day. Our saying, “Three Jews — four opinions,” reflects the traditional Jewish encouragement to argue and debate. However, the reality, sadly, is that diverse opinions are welcome — except when it comes to Israel. [continued…]