Goldstone recants - what's the best strategy for Israel now?
04/03/2011 - 09:50
James Besser

 I'm trying to figure out exactly what it means that Richard Goldstone, the international jurist who presided over a UN report on the Gaza war that Israel and its friends considered outrageously biased, has repudiated its central findings.

There's little doubt that's good news to the Jewish groups here that made Goldstone a new poster boy for UN hostility to the Jewish state. Clearly it hurts the credibility of pro-peace process groups -  including J Street -  that came to Goldstone's defense after the report was released.

Writing in the Washington Post, Goldstone said this:

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets. The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion..

That's pretty dramatic stuff, and it's hard to read his words as anything but confirmation of what the Israeli government and its friends here have said from the outset.

That said, what I wonder: will the repudiation change any minds in a world that's pretty much made up its mind about Israel's handling of the whole Gaza situation? And does it make sense for Israel to launch a major campaign to get the UN Human Rights Council to rescind it, as Israeli press reports indicate the Netanyahu government will do?

Or will that just revive the issue the issue of Gaza and Israel's tough blockade in a world that has mostly moved on to focus on other international crises now – the nuclear and humanitarian crisis in Japan, the new violence in Afghanistan, the air strikes in Libya and the unrest sweeping the Arab world?

Is the best strategy for Israel to say “I told you so” and then keep quiet? Or to go on the offensive against a U.N. agency that remains deeply biased against the Jewish state?

I confess: I don't have an answer, but I think the question is worth asking.

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Why does the author consider it a bad thing that J-Street's credibility has been called into question? The Goldstone report accepted the lies of Israel's enemies as fact, contrary to a plethora of evidence that his committee ignored, and called on the world to punish Israel based on those lies. J-Street's reaction, "we're not taking sides." As a "pro-Israel" lobby. J-Street has NO credibility.

Many Jews understand that there is a world-wide effort, engaged in for decades, to falsify history and de-legitimize the Jewish state. Many of us believe that disseminating the truth and Israel advocacy are important weapons we should use in the defense of Zionism. The UN's report of the Human Rights Council, which Goldstone headed, was just one such instance of bias aimed at the Jewish state, among a constant barrage. In its anti-Zionism, the Goldstone report was not extraordinary - remember Zionism ='s Racism? But it added credence to the arguments of the Israel haters. These relentless efforts to discredit Israel have to be challenged because they have to be stopped. When we ignore the libels, they will continue. The Goldstone Report - and the UN itself - have been discredited. It's chief writer has recanted. Israel is right to demand an apology and an investigation into how the UN blundered so badly. Pay back is NOT hell. It's justice.

If you go to the Al Jazeera English website: http://english.aljazeera.net/
you will not see any mention of Goldstone recanting. (A little earlier there was a low level link to article about Israel demands the UN retract the Goldstone report).

The point is any news that puts Israel in a better light is ignored. This is not the first time I have noticed this in Al Jazeera or the Arab media in general.

It is ludicrous to expect that changing Israel's behavior will change the minds of any of its enemies. There is a strong desire (really a prejudice) to see the country is as a harsh a light as possible. Israel's actions do not cause hatred. The hatred causes people to find ways of justifying it.

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