Tag Archives: Goldstone

Goldstone: ‘Doh!’ PA: ‘Goldstone? Goldstone who?’

Goldstone-at-UNHRC-WEB The big Israel-related news item I’m reading today is South African judge Richard Goldstone’s retraction of the falsehoods he leveled at Israel back in September of 2009. I consider it fortunate that this news is circulating rapidly and widely. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a media statement which says it most succinctly:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Saturday), 2 April 2011, has called upon the UN to immediately cancel the Goldstone Report

"Everything we said has proven to be true: Israel did not intentionally harm civilians, its institutions and investigative bodies are worthy, while Hamas intentionally fired upon innocent civilians and did not examine anything. The fact that Goldstone backtracked must lead to the shelving of this report once and for all."

Further commentary (and better than I can offer) on the subject can be read in The Atlantic, JINSA, IsraeliGirl, Honest Reporting, and many other places.

So what do Judge Goldstone’s partners-in-crime have to say? All of a sudden, to the PA he’s not the bosom buddy he was up until a minute ago, the UN does not appear likely to acknowledge the change at all, and a respected “main stream” publication like The New York Times doesn’t even seem to be aware of it. Or more like it, they pretend not to be aware of it. Not a real honest bunch, this.

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Speaking of my correspondent IsrealiGirl,  a few days ago she sent me another fascinating expert interview. This one was with award winning scholar and author Dr. Esther Webman, who makes the point that Arab anti-Semitism is not a basic part of the Arab mindset (or at least did not start out that way), but is something that was carefully crafted for political advantage just a few generations ago. Now that’s interesting, isn’t it?

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And speaking of speaking of IsrealiGirl, here is the latest compilation she’s made of Hate Links to Report:

Palestinian Hate and incitement leads to terror – report hate links now

Israel is under a terror attack. Grad rockets are falling in Beer Sheva and Ashdod in the south. Terror have also returned to Jerusalem today when a bomb went off near the central bus station. A woman was killed and dozens are injured. Just 10 days ago a family was massacred in Itamar – parents and 3 children were butchered while they slept.

Terror starts with incitement. Hate is used to legitimize the terror act. The Palestinians’ culture of praising terrorists produces terrorism. Social media sites are the perfect platform to spread hate and incitement.

If you are as upset by these events as I am I urge you to take action now – report these links for spreading hate and leading to terror against civilians.

  • Facebook – Make sure you are logged into your Facebook account. Click on any link and then on report page or group and choose the reason (Contains hate speech or attacks an individual)
    • Third Palestinian Intifada – this relative new group has almost 250,000 members. It calls for a renewed "resistance" fight against Israel, much like what’s been going on in the last few days. 
    • Israel Terrorist – calls Israel, US and Britain terrorist states and glorifies Hamas and Hezbollah
    • Stop Nazi Israel – comparing Israel to the Nazis is just a cover for the bluntest antisemitism
    • Stop Israel – sends all Jews to burn in hell..
  • Twitter – Login into your twitter account and click on any of these links. click on the options button located on the upper right hand side Twitter button. Choose the 3rd option which would report that user to Twitter.
    • Amer Al-Bayya – spreads the tales of Hitler and the Zionists..
    • Ismael – claims Zionisn is ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

Thank you for taking the time to report these links. All of us here in Giyus.org pray that this circle of violence will be stopped. We each must do what we can to that end.

To act on more issues and easily support Israel please sign up to our email updates – make a difference to Israel.

I wrote earlier of the need to get off the defensive. It’s worthy of note that since the above list was posted, the Third Intifada Facebook account has been taken down due to pressure from people like you and me. This may be a start.




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Did we ‘lynch the wrong guy’ at Human Rights Watch?

Watching the scandal spin out of control, Apkon took note of the irony that the pro-Israel community had lynched one of the people at HRW who was most sympathetic to its concerns. “You’re sitting there watching this, and you realize: They’re going after the wrong guy!”

garlasco-iron-cross Do y’all remember Marc Garlasco? He is (or was) the military analyst over at Human Rights Watch whose partiality with respect to reporting on Israel  was called into serious question via the revelation that he just happened to be an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia.

Robt_Bernstein_image_2639 A  report last week (yeah – I’ve been away) in The New Republic detailed some of the internal turmoil at HRW which eventually led to founder Robert Bernstein publicly distancing himself from the organization’s blatant hostility toward Israel. The report by Benjamin Birnbaum chronicles some of the behind the scenes activities which demonstrated a disturbing bias in its reporting, a bias that deeply conflicted with the principles of honesty that Bernstein had brought to the table when he began the organization over thirty years prior.

Birnbaum introduces a broader cast of rather disturbing characters such as Sarah Whitson, who keeps a movie poster in her office “that attempts [sic] to humanize Palestinian suicide bombers,” and who says in one breath that Hamas is wrong for making rocket targets (let alone human shields) out of civilians, and in the next breath that “no one can deny that the pain and destruction that Israel causes cannot be compared to what Hamas is doing.”

Or take Norm Finkelstein, an “avowed Hezbollah supporter who has likened Israel to Nazi Germany,” and who prosecuted a successful campaign to extract an official apology for a press release critical of Palestinian officers.

Goldstone-at-UNHRC-WEB The infamous Richard Goldstone is also cited by Birnbaum as agreeing with Whitson and HRW executive director Ken Roth that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to “wipe Israel off the map” were not something worthy of any special attention. They had other fish to fry, you see.

Birnbaum touches as well on some of the other ways a pervasive anti-Israel attitude generally made itself felt at HRW. HRW’s grossly disproportionate reportage of alleged Israeli abuses while giving relatively minimal attention to the far more excessive abuses practiced by regimes such as Libya, Syria, or Iran is characterized by one of their own members as going after the “low-hanging fruit.” In other words, it’s easy to pick on Israel – not so easy to penetrate Iran.

Birnbaum notes HRW’s report on Israel’s 2002 anti-terrorist operation in Jenin deftly ignored Israel’s decision not to use aerial bombardment in order to greatly reduce the potential for civilian casualties, at the cost of greater casualties among its own military personnel. That sort of information defeats the organization’s purpose of demonizing Israel, in case you can’t tell.

Other occasions are cited by Birnbaum where HRW withheld critical information or simply misreported key factual details. Accuracy in reporting does not appear to hold a high priority at HRW.

Birnbaum went on to some length illustrating the gross bias on the part of the organization, but I was caught by surprise as he turned his attention to the Garlasco affair. Not that I was surprised when he delved into it, but that his characterization of it drew a picture indicating Garlasco was really not nearly so much a sworn enemy of Israel as were others within the establishment. Birnbaum’s interviews with advisory committee member Steve Apkon brought out some interesting – and possibly mitigating – details about Garlasco’s background and viewpoints. Even his pre-occupation with Nazi artifacts can be seen in a different light if you consider what Apkon says about Garlasco’s relatively narrow focus as a military analyst. Did he report unfavorably on Israeli activites, as part and parcel of his employment? Yes, of course he did. But Apkon also brings up some things that we didn’t know about Garlasco. That, for instance, owing to his military experience, he at times expressed sympathy for Israeli soldiers with regard to the no-win predicaments in which they continually find themselves. Or that he also (if perhaps too quietly to make an impact) pointed out discrepancies in the way his bosses handled the issue of white phosphorous in combat. He knew it was used not only by Israel, but by the U.S. and Britain, and that it did not necessarily imply a misuse of military technology. Or that in general Garlasco expressed some degree of frustration with HRW’s seeming inability (or unwillingness) to acknowledge even the very complexity of war. Birnbaum cites Apkon as going so far as to say Garlasco had already been considering leaving HRW when the scandal broke. The notoriety gained by the exposure of his odd proclivities apparently did little more than to seal the deal.

Do I think Garlasco got a raw deal out of the whole matter? I suppose that depends on whether he ultimately suffered from the exposure, and whether the exposure was uncalled for. My purpose at the time that I  participated in that exposure (not that I harbor illusions of having made a significant impact) was, and still is, to shed light wherever I can into dark corners wherever I spot them. Or to be at least another relay point in the transmission of information when someone else has turned the lights on. And in that, I am convinced more than ever that Human Rights Watch has a lot of dark corners needing illumination.

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Why is the world afflicted with Israel Derangement Syndrome?

Or maybe instead we should call it Obsessive Compulsive Israel Disorder, OCID, a form of Compulsive Disorder (OCD),  as  FreeMiddleEast.Com suggests.  Whatever name we wish to give it, it is apparent that:

For a country that is thousands of miles away, has a population of just 7 million and speaks a completely different language, the world is obsessively and compulsively focused on Israel…

gaza_strip_may_2005Witness the extensive (and intensive) coverage early this year of Operation Cast Lead – a military endeavor much smaller, with far fewer casualties (on either side) than ongoing conflicts such as those in Africa (Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia) or India (Kashmir and Sri Lanka), or the Philippines, or… just go ahead and take a look at this list in Wikipedia.  Did you know that the sustained armed conflict in Colombia, South America has taken tens of thousands, or possibly hundreds of thousands of lives? Or that the drug wars (and they are wars) in Mexico have claimed over ten thousand lives in the past three years?

Yes, these matters are covered in the news – every once in a while. But we were treated to a day by day view of Operation Cast Lead, which by the way was tailored by the “mainstream” media to make it look like Big, Bad, Old Israel was so unfairly picking on poor, downtrodden Gaza.  Never mind that Gaza isn’t actually a country, just a terrorist enclave seized in a bloody takeover eighteen months prior.

Never mind also that the Israeli response followed months and months of seeing its civilian population bombarded by thousands of rocket attacks.  But that really is another topic. The perfectly valid question raised here is, why? Why is the entire world so hung up on what happens every day in such a tiny country? Seven million people live there; what other nation that size gets any attention at all, let alone as much as Israel gets?  Chicago has more people than Israel, and more people are killed there every year than we want to know, so why isn’t that in our every day news?  Why do we watch with baited breath every move Israel makes, and hang on every word spoken by Israeli officials, or by the terrorist chieftains?

Also, you’d think the free world would wholeheartedly support the most prosperous nation in the Middle East, and the only Western style democracy in the area.  So then, why does Israel have so few, if any, friends in the international community? And why has the United Nations itself condemned Israel dozens of times, while letting many blatantly oppressive regimes skate? 

The FreeMiddleEast post wound up without an answer, but I have one – a very simple one: God. Not just any old god, but the God of the Bible. The God of Israel. I had determined when I began this blog to, for the most part, keep away from discussing ‘religious’ matters, but the question of why the civilized world is so pervasively preoccupied with little ol’ Israel is not a religious question – it affects all of us. It truly appears that the way it affects us is a life-and-death matter. Right now, there is a real possibility that, if allowed to develop nuclear weapons, Iran will destroy most of the Middle East, and perhaps the rest of civilization. That’s their stated goal, anyway. And, why? Israel. That’s not just my take on it – that’s what Iran says.

So, if I may indulge myself in a little old-fashioned Book thumping, without getting completely theological over it, let’s just say that God, the God of Israel, created a nation that was to be the crucible of all nations, the place where all men’s intentions would be tried.  Love God, love Israel. Hate God, hate Israel. I saw it put rather well in a book by Sandra Teplinsky:

Why does Israel draw out the best and the worst in us? The Jewish nation is designed to test and expose the hearts of humanity. Like a threshing floor, she sifts our souls… [Israel] could be called Spiritual Testing Ground Zero…

I don’t plan from here on to go into all the chapters and verses on the subject, or even discuss with you whether you should believe in the Bible or not.  But the big question deserves a big answer.  And I thought I owed it to you just to let you know. Will I see you at Ground Zero?

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Fool’s Gold

I’VE BEEN CONSIDERING lately what to say about the Goldstone Report, the recent package of false accusations against the people and the state of Israel, presented to a world all too ready to latch on to whatever excuses they can find to condemn the one nation which by its very existence and place in history stands as testing ground for the thoughts and hearts of men and women over the entire planet.

I’ve been wondering if I can add anything to what has already been said exposing the false pretext of the report (look here), its anti-Semitic source (and here), or the complete farce of its supposed objectivity (take a look at this!).

But after today’s appallingly hypocritical endorsement by the misnamed “Human Rights Council” of the United Nations, I thought I could do no better than to have you read the text of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the UN on September 24th of this year:

President, Ladies and Gentlemen…

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland. I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.

The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.

Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.

Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?

A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?

This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?

One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife’s grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency? A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!

Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You’re wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.

In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.

The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.

Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.

What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come. We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.

But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.

That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?

Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world’s most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism? Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.

For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.

We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one. In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis. We didn’t get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.

You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent. Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country’s civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II.

During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances. Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.

Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy’s civilian population from harm’s way. Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel. A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.

By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth! What a perversion of justice!

Delegates of the United Nations, will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.

If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity. And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here’s why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.

What legitimacy? What self-defense?

The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country – of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!

Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, all of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein. And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.

In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state.

Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.

Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more." These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city – in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland.

As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity. But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don’t want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.

We want peace.

I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order. The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed unteachability of mankind," the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called the "want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the "unteachability of mankind" is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history — that we can prevent danger in time.

In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.  Would to God that we had someone of your caliber to lead on this side of the Atlantic!

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