More reactions to the Goldstone Report
See previous post about the report here for more info.
Benjamin Yahoo said that the report ‘put Israel in a Kangaroo court’ , highly amusing as funnily enough that’s usually exactly what accused war criminals say about The Hague. There was also the more of what seems the official line about the report legitimising terrorism. I wonder how far Israel can push this whole ‘fear of terrorism’ thing and whether other states are as susceptible to it as they were in the immediate wake of 9/11. The US State Department is ‘concerned’ and is ‘studying’ it.
Amira Hass, in a new piece in Haaretz, lays further grounds on the criticisms of the culture within the IDF and Israel at large:
B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Haaretz and the international media – to Israelis, these have all fallen into the trash bin of the mendacious Palestinians. In the best case, they have become trapped in their own pure-hearted naivete, and in the worst, into collaborating with efforts to besmirch Israel and bolster prejudices against it. Like the Serbs of yore, we Israelis continue thinking it’s the world that is wrong, and only we who are right.
Israel struck a civilian population that remains under its control, it didn’t fulfill its obligation to distinguish between civilians and militants and used military force disproportionate with the tangible threat to its own civilians. Air Force drones and helicopters fired deadly missiles at civilians, many of them children; the Tank Corps and Navy shelled civilian neighborhoods with weapons not designed for precision strikes; soldiers received orders to fire on rescue crews; others fired on civilians carrying white flags; and others killed people in or near their homes. Troops used Gazans as human shields, soldiers detained civilians in abusive conditions, the army used white phosphorus shells in dense civilian areas and, on the eve of withdrawing, destroyed wide residential, industrial and agricultural areas.
There is only thing worse than denial – the admission that the IDF indeed acted as has been described, but that these actions are both normal and appropriate.
Her contention may not be new but it is an appropriate assessment of the reaction to the Goldstone Report within Israel. The overwhelming need to downplay, deny or downright ignore criticism, to paint it as “the Other” is not the reaction of a healthy nation state, or a healthy society that has open and honest debate about itself.
Mondoweiss makes an interesting point:
The hugeness of the Goldstone commission report has a lot to do with Goldstone’s Jewishness. Besides destroying hundreds of Palestinian children, Gaza unsettled the liberal American Jewish community nine months ago, and now Goldstone’s report is reopening the wound. Israeli leaders call the report a “mockery of history” and a “kangaroo court,” but I don’t think American Jews will be so dismissive.
The Mondoweiss also includes several prominent American Jewish intellectuals and their reactions to the report. I think the point about the report ‘reopening the wound’ is crucial. It has been noted many times that the support of the American Jewish community is key for Israel’s continued actions (and indeed existence) and the tide has appeared to be turning at several points recently, particularly after Operation Cast Lead. Oh and Angry Arab is rather angry.