Fisking Goldstone: What’s happened to this man?

Richard Goldstone has an op-ed in the NYT today. It is most striking because it is so transparently misleading. Indeed, it’s just the kind of misinformation that fisking was invented to counter. So I couldn’t help doing so.

Goldstone clearly counts on addressing a sympathetic audience ignorant of the facts — a choir. I address those readers of the news who still want to be part of a “reality-based” community, for whom evidence must be addressed, analyzed, and assessed. You make up your mind if Judge Goldstone is an honest, fair-minded man, or someone who, for whatever mysterious reason, is in thrall to a narrative he must serve, regardless of the evidence.

Justice in Gaza

By RICHARD GOLDSTONE
I ACCEPTED with hesitation my United Nations mandate to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war and international human rights during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza last winter. The issue is deeply charged and politically loaded. I accepted because the mandate of the mission was to look at all parties: Israel; Hamas, which controls Gaza; and other armed Palestinian groups.

This is astonishing. Mary Robinson — the presiding genius of Durban Irejected it because the mandate was only to investigate Israel, tainted from the beginning. Goldstone requested, in vain, that the mandate be widened. For him to pretend that the mandate was to investigate all groups when it never was, whether he threw in some comments on Hamas or not, assumes a pervasive illiteracy among his audience — the readers of the NYT.

I accepted because my fellow commissioners are professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation.

The case against the composition of his committee — not one person sympathetic to Israel, at least one, Christine Chinkin, openly hostile — has led two groups of lawyers, in England and in Canada, to demand Chinkin’s disqualification since she had already pronounced herself — long before she saw any real evidence — on Israel’s guilt. Goldstone, even as he tossed out the petition on a subtle technicality, admitted that Chinkin’s case was borderline and the report reconfirms her prejudice. So whence comes this bland denial?

But above all, I accepted because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war, and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm.


While this sounds great to the liberal ear, these laws were formulated for conventional warfare. When the war is asymmetrical and the attacker hides among civilans for protection — using human shields — the laws need reinterpreting. It’s precisely this explanatory context of insurgents using human shields as cover for attacks on enemy civilians, that Chinkin dismissed from the beginning, and that the Commission, even though it occasionally considers evidence for it, systematically minimizes.

Here it is worth noting that this failure to recognize the problem has on the one hand been exploited by UN member states and officials of the UNHRC and by NGO officials to attack Israel’s legitimacy. This is worse than naïveté – by masking and excusing this criminal behavior, this approach constitutes a major contribution to the perpetuation of global conflict.

In the fighting in Gaza, all sides flouted that fundamental principle.

While the Goldstone commission’s report was actually far more condemnatory of Israel than this even-handed formulation suggests, it calls into question the depth perception of the person making it. No other country in the world — the US, Great Britain, Germany — included, has spent as much time and developed as high a standard of restraint in carrying out attacks that might harm enemy civilians. Indeed, were the rest of the world accused by the standard in which Israel’s behavior “flouts” fundamental principles, they would all pass in front of Israel for severity or crime. This is recipe for outlawing war, or rather, the right of the advanced countries to defend themselves against asymmetrical warriors.

Many civilians unnecessarily died and even more were seriously hurt. In Israel, three civilians were killed and hundreds wounded by rockets from Gaza fired by Hamas and other groups. Two Palestinian girls also lost their lives when these rockets misfired.

In Gaza, hundreds of civilians died.

This is a mild version of the report, which sides with the Palestinian count of about 1400 killed, of which 900 were civilians. Close examination of this list reveals it to have numerous cases of combatants “miscategorized” civilians. (For another, independent, study of the same data, see here.)

civilian #62

Goldstone’s commission basically took over the figures from the NGOs (who all backed to some extent, the findings of the tendentious PCHR publication). Notes NGO Monitor:

    Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Goldstone’s report asserts that the “data provided by non-governmental sources with regard to the percentage of civilians among those killed are generally consistent …” (para. 30). There is no such “consistency” — the numbers claimed by these organizations differ by the hundreds. Goldstone also fails to note the major lack of credibility in PCHR’s data, such as characterizing two leading Hamas military figures, Nizar Rayan and Siad Siam, as civilians. And as researchers have shown, the B’Tselem data, while different from PCHR’s, is also unreliable.

Even by the PCHR figures, Israel has a 1:4 ratio of combatants to civilians, at least twice to ten times as good as US standards. And if the extensive research of some defenders of Israel are right, then its more like a 1:1 or better. Compare this with the twenty thousand civilians Ceylonese troops killed to get at a thousand Tamil Tigers, around the same time as Operation Cast Lead, and you get a sense of the disproportion here. Comparatively, even the figures Palestinians, NGOs and Goldstone promote, make Israel’s air campaign the most careful in the history of urban and aerial warfare.

They died from disproportionate attacks on legitimate military targets and from attacks on hospitals and other civilian structures. They died from precision weapons like missiles from aerial drones as well as from heavy artillery. Repeatedly, the Israel Defense Forces failed to adequately distinguish between combatants and civilians, as the laws of war strictly require.

This paragraph summarizes the entire 575 fact-finding report, and constitutes a “cut and paste” job of the work of deeply politicized Human Rights NGOs. (Goldstone was on the board of HRW, which had already weighed in heavily against Israel before he began the Commission. In order to avoid the semblance of a conflict of interest, he resigned from HRW.) In reality, as the report demonstrates, Goldstone does not know how many “civilians” died; they do not have any idea whether the attacks on “legitimate military targets” were “disproportionate”, whether “hospitals and other civilian structures” were used by Hamas, and whether “precision weapons like missiles from aerial drones” were used. (That last comment bears the particular signature of HRW’s Marc Garlasco, who eagerly applies to Israel a standard he never came near meeting in his own military work.)

Israel is correct that identifying combatants in a heavily populated area is difficult, and that Hamas fighters at times mixed and mingled with civilians. But that reality did not lift Israel’s obligation to take all feasible measures to minimize harm to civilians.

It’s all here. How often, and how systematically did Hamas mingle with civilans, even compel civilians to serve as human shield? The Commission minimizes this issue repeatedly, and never considers the possibility that the few shreds of evidence they briefly take up are actually the tip of a massively intimidated iceberg of Palestinian grievance against Hamas that they dare not voice, and that the Commission, eager to judge Israel harshly, showed no interest in detecting.

Notes Dan Kosky in the Guardian:

    Yet it is perhaps what is missing which is most telling. Reading the report, one would be unaware of Hamas’s human-shield strategy, a significant contributory factor to the civilian deaths in Gaza. Goldstone prefers to ignore the obvious. Although he states: “Palestinian armed groups were present in urban areas during the military operations and launched rockets from urban areas”, he avoids the logical conclusion of the massive use of human shields. Of course, admitting that Hamas endangered Gazan citizens would provide an alternative to Israeli guilt. Yet, rather than state the inconvenient truth, the report reinforces preconceived Israeli culpability.

This is the main reason of leaving Hamas’ violations out of the mandate: the more you pay attention to their atrocious behavior — maximizing their own civilian casualties — the more Israel gets “off the moral hook.”

Our fact-finding team found that in many cases Israel could have done much more to spare civilians without sacrificing its stated and legitimate military aims.

As the report shows, the term “fact finding” is entirely misleading – the report was composed of NGO claims and carefully chosen “eyewitness” testimony, which has been demonstrated to be inconsistent, at best, as clearly shown in the Abd Rabbo case.

It should have refrained from attacking clearly civilian buildings, and from actions that might have resulted in a military advantage but at the cost of too many civilian lives.

Here the astoundingly unjust measure of what “constitutes a sufficiiently advantageous target to warrant civilian casualties,” can best be seen by a comparison with just one incident. This NATO bombing in Serbia, was adjudicated by the International Court, for which Goldstone was a prosecutor. Hence, presumably, this ruling should offer some kind of precedent (or at least guideline) in this new and highly subjective field of law. NATO forces had bombed a TV station without warning (lest they endanger their pilots), killing 10-17 civilians, and interrupting transmission for a couple of hours. The court ruled:

    Assuming the station was a legitimate objective, the civilian casualties were unfortunately high but do not appear to be clearly disproportionate.

Mark Garlasco makes similar remarks in defense of the US, whose record for minimizing civilian casualties, especially under his guidance in the early years of this decade, was far below Israel’s:

    “I don’t think people really appreciate the gymnastics that the U.S. military goes through in order to make sure that they’re not killing civilians,” Garlasco points out.

Garlasco ordered over 50 strikes none of which hit their target. Under him US civilian to combatant casualtes in targeted killings were well below 1:10. His maximal acceptable casualty limit was 50. Israel’s is 15, and commanders often call off strikes for even lower figures. As a result, for this decade Istael’s casualty ratio is almost 2:1 (250 targets, 150 collateral casualties).

In these cases, Israel must investigate, and Hamas is obliged to do the same. They must examine what happened and appropriately punish any soldier or commander found to have violated the law.

In addition to the absurd and immoral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, the claim that Israel has a “dismal record” of investigating its own forces is Goldstone’s self-justification. Comparison with other countries in similar situations disproves this claim.

Unfortunately, both Israel and Hamas have dismal records of investigating their own forces. I am unaware of any case where a Hamas fighter was punished for deliberately shooting a rocket into a civilian area in Israel — on the contrary, Hamas leaders repeatedly praise such acts. While Israel has begun investigations into alleged violations by its forces in the Gaza conflict, they are unlikely to be serious and objective.

Is this projection?

Also note: the language here is drawn almost verbatim from HRW’s press release from Sept. 16

    But both Israel and Hamas have dismal records of investigating and holding accountable members of their own forces for serious laws-of-war violations.

Goldstone conducted an independent investigation? Looks more like plagiarism from HRW, from which Goldstone apparently resigned only formally.

Absent credible local investigations, the international community has a role to play.

The term “international community” is self-serving as invoked by Goldstone – the UN human rights mechanism, including the UNHRC, as well as institutions like the ICC, are politicized, biased, and are responsible, along with the NGOs which they are closely linked, for the destruction of the values of human rights. Note that the Commission’s mandate was established by the a body presided over by Cuba and containing such stalwart human rights defenders as:

    Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia

This is “human rights” the through the Newspeak looking glass.

If justice for civilian victims cannot be obtained through local authorities, then foreign governments must act. There are various mechanisms through which to pursue international justice. The International Criminal Court and the exercise of universal jurisdiction by other countries against violators of the Geneva Conventions are among them. But they all share one overarching aim: to hold accountable those who violate the laws of war. They are built on the premise that abusive fighters and their commanders can face justice, even if their government or ruling authority is not willing to take that step.

Pursuing justice in this case is essential because no state or armed group should be above the law. Western governments in particular face a challenge because they have pushed for accountability in places like Darfur, but now must do the same with Israel, an ally and a democratic state.

Goldstone selects Israel as the scapegoat for “Western governments” to justify the ICC case on Sudan and respond to charges that this case is “racist” or anti-Arab.

Failing to pursue justice for serious violations during the fighting will have a deeply corrosive effect on international justice, and reveal an unacceptable hypocrisy. As a service to the hundreds of civilians who needlessly died and for the equal application of international justice, the perpetrators of serious violations must be held to account.

This is nearly breathtaking. The “Human Rights” NGO’s and the UN have an obsession with Israel that literally sucks away attention to far more serious violations the world over. Notes Anne Bayefsky:

    The Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all the other 191 UN member states combined…. The more time the Council spends demonizing Israel, the less likely it becomes that it will ever get around to condemning genocide in Sudan, female slavery in Saudi Arabia, or torture in Egypt.”

If anything, this report, far from helping the cause of human rights, helps that of terrorists.

Hypocrisy is rampant in Goldstone’s report, including this final remark. If the commission wanted to go after a Western “ally” just for the sake of even-handedness — itself a dubious way to proceed — then surely the USA, with, at least according to claims by respectable organizations of having killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis deserves more scrutiny than tiny, beleaguered Israel, with — at most — its hundreds of casualties.

Richard Goldstone, the former chief prosecutor for war-crime tribunals on Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, is the head of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

Richard Goldstone, what happened to you? I’m reading your book. You have investigated really awful cases of mass slaughter. How could you lose your sense of proportions, your moral compass, and join this mad chorus of accusers? What “gift” has corrupted your sight?

109 Responses to Fisking Goldstone: What’s happened to this man?

  1. [...] It’s now Professor Richard Landes’ turn to fisk Goldstone. And what a glorious fisking it [...]

  2. Kimo Al Quds says:

    Great Article.This should go to the times as a rebuttal to that morons one sided response. This also should be a wake up call for anyone who believes in freedom and liberty that they better be ready to defend themselves and their principals as the int bs bodies go out of their way to legitimize the murder of Israelis by the G DM SN’s

  3. Short Takes…

    Minimal free time today forces me to truncate my posting. Here are a couple of links for your perusal. Maxed Out Mama adds some (mathematical) muscle to the skeleton of criticisms of Obamacare. We really, really can’t afford everything we……

  4. Smoke_and_Mirrors says:

    Excellent article.

    I have been wondering for the past few days about all this hoopla about independent local investigations. Goldstone states in this piece that Israel and Hamas need to investigate themselves.

    I have read many articles since Cast Lead ended that report that Israel is investigating some 100 claims submitted by NGOs and Civilians about abuses. I have even read that Israel has some 24 cases in Criminal Investigation right now. If this is true, is this not the same independent investigation that Goldstone is demanding.

    Also, if this is true, many of these investigation were started long before Goldstone’s commission began their poorly executed task of fact-finding, so what was the point of Goldstone’s commission to begin with?

    And finally, if Israel is already investigating itself, as it always does whether the UN or anyone else tells them to, will the UN accept Israel’s findings? Based on the statements Goldstone has already made in this article, he does not believe that Israels investigation should will be taken seriously, and is saying that the ICC should be used if the parties don’t do it themselves, but again, Israel is already doing its investigation.

    I would really like to know Goldstone’s or anyone elses response to these questions.

  5. Soccer Dad says:

    Amateur Night At The Goldstone Commission…

    Mr Goldstone urged “fair-minded people” to read the 574-page report and “at the end of it, point out where it failed to be objective or even-handed”.BBC NewsLet’s put aside whether the report is objective or even-handed–Is the Goldstone Commissio…

  6. Paul Halsall says:

    lI think you have lost it here Richard.

    The UK faced “asymmetrical” warfare for decades, funded no less by Irish Catholics in the US. We did some bad things, but we did not drop phosphorus bombs on the Bogside.

    Is there anything that Israel could do that would morally upset you? I am sure there is? What about nuking Tehran? What about “transferring” population?

  7. rl says:

    lI think you have lost it here Richard.

    The UK faced “asymmetrical” warfare for decades, funded no less by Irish Catholics in the US. We did some bad things, but we did not drop phosphorus bombs on the Bogside.

    the low-grade “asymmetrical warfare” that Britain faced has no parralel to what Israel faces. No one was lobbing thousands of rockets at your cities, no Irish were preaching genocide from the pulpits with the support of a population of about 1 billion surrounding Britain. If you want restraint, Israel can match England any day.

    And, oh yeah, apparently you are not reading the news carefully. Israel did not drop any phosphorous bombs on civilian populations. I know it sounds good as a way of dismissing the Israelis, but you really need to distinguish between the use of phosphorous as illumination and bombing civilian centers with it.

    Is there anything that Israel could do that would morally upset you? I am sure there is? What about nuking Tehran? What about “transferring” population?

    there’s lots of things they could do that would upset me. but tell me, is there anything that the palestinians could do that would turn you — or rather, their rabid supporters on the European and American “left” off?

    Paul, I’m confused by your comment. Is there anything substantive in this post that you disagree with? or do you just instinctively feel that defending Israel is the equivalent of “losing it”?

    have you read the report? or the links i’ve provided?

  8. Eliyahu says:

    Paul, if you would listen carefully to the news broadcasts, maybe even bbc broadcasts, you would learn that the USA and Britain and their other allies in Afghanistan and Iraq often kill civilians. Just the other day the US air force bombed some fuel trucks that -I recall– were stolen by the Taliban and brought into a civilian town or village. When these fuel trucks were hit about 70 civilians were killed.

    So killing non-combatants is one of the terrible things that happen in war. But let’s not preach to the Jews, which is so often hypocritical — or maybe in your case, simply ill-informed. Do try to recall US & UK bombings during WW 2 which were often enough meant to kill civilians. You do recall Bomber Harris, don’t you?
    Maybe Dresden, Hamburg, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, or perhaps Nagasaki and Hiroshima??

  9. Ray in Seattle says:

    Paul, The comparison you make between the “stalwart” Brits facing the IRA – and Israel’s defense from years of rocket attacks aimed at its civilians is quite an imaginative thing to behold.

    A most significant difference that you forgot to mention was that the IRA never justified their attacks by claiming that England itself was sitting on illegally occupied Irish land and likewise they never swore to keep killing English civilians until England again became part of Ireland – as Hamas has done and has stated in their Charter regarding Israel – as well as in hundreds of public statements to that effect that they’ve never retracted.

    Just what do you think would have happened if the IRA started firing a few dozen high explosive rockets per day across the channel aimed at English coastal towns and cities and then hid among a civilian population that supported their goals? You know what would have happened and it would have made Cast Lead look like a Boy Scout outing. The numbers of dead Irish civilians and destroyed towns and infrastructure would have been staggering. You do remember what happened when Argentina claimed that few offshore islands didn’t actually belong to England, don’t you?

    Perhaps you should have sent a regiment or two of the queens finest over to Gaza to arrest the militants that were firing thousands of rockets into Israel’s cities starting the day Israel withdrew from the strip. That way the “merciless and cruel IDF” could have stayed home. Where were you guys in your white hats?

  10. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m not sure that I’m getting your point. Are you saying seriously that Israel is to the Palestinians as the UK was to the Irish in Ulster? In all of Ireland?

    And could you enlighten me on the particulars of this interesting comparison?

    On the second point you are addressing, I wonder if you are morally upset by by random launching of rockets at a civilian population – which really happened in Israel, or you would wait until it happens in your country? And yes, I know that the Provos did bombings and killed civilians. Wikipedia gives two figures : 621 and 644 for a conflict lasting about 30 years in a population of about 60 millions. This means about 20 persons per year during 30 years, or an average mortality of 1 per 3 million due to terrorism by the Provos.

    In Israel, there were about 700 israeli civil deaths in the 2000 to 2004 years of peak intifada activity. So, it’s 175 persons per year on average during 4 years, on a population of 6 millions, hence an average mortality rate of a little less than 30 per million.

    Let me state that a mortality rate by terrorism of one per 3 million is bad. But a mortality rate of 30 per million is about one hundred times worse.

    Of course, if your point of view is that whatever the mortality rate by terrorism, Israel should stay put, I pray you tell me how Israel should protect its citizens efficiently. Maybe you got some interesting solutions, and you should make the public aware of your contribution.

  11. Geoffrey Britain says:

    “Is there anything that Israel could do that would morally upset you? I am sure there is? What about nuking Tehran? What about “transferring” population?”

    To detect bias in oneself, ask the question in reverse: Is there anything the Palestinian’s can do that you will not rationalize in order to justify?

    What about Iran, through Hezbollah or Palestinian proxies, nuking Tel Aviv through a nuclear terrorist attack? Indisputably, a FAR more likely future occurrence.

    As for ‘transferring population’ how convenient that you fail to mention the 850,000 Jews that were forcibly ejected from their homes and businesses in 48-49 from Arab/Muslim lands. And that you somehow fail to consider that the ‘right of return’ unquestionably means national suicide for Israel.

    Richard Goldstone is an anti-Semite, no other explanation is sufficient to explain an official report so biased and factually inaccurate, inaccurate to a degree impossible to any other explanation than intentional.

    As for your antisemitism, its obvious as well.

  12. Solomonia says:

    Your Daily Goldstones…

    It’ll be awhile before this passes. Here is some more substantive reading material by the people pushing back: In the Wall Street Journal, NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg writes: U.N. Smears Israeli Self-Defense As ‘War Crimes’ – A one-sided report …

  13. Cleanthes says:

    Goldstone:
    But that reality did not lift Israel’s obligation to take all feasible measures to minimize harm to civilians.

    RL: It’s all here. How often, and how systematically did Hamas mingle with civilans, even compel civilians to serve as human shield? “

    RL, this is irrelevant. Civilians are only protected if there is NO military target. The blame here lies squarely with Hamas. If they mingle with civilians, THEY are to blame if civilians are hurt as a result of an attack on a legitimate military target.

    The key question is not “How many civilians were there?”, but “How many combatants were there?”.

    There is no such thing as an inviolably protected building. Anything and everything – Primary schools, hospitals, mosques, the lot – becomes a target as soon as it has any military facility or use.

    It is only by ignoring this basic tenet of the laws of war that Hamas and all the other Pallywood actors can play their game and it is insane that anyone in the West plays along with it.

  14. Richard Landes says:

    to Geoffrey Britain:

    I know Paul personally and don’t think he’s an anti-Semite. he may find a certain frisson in the Moral Schadenfreude of pointing the finger at Israel, he may be liable to believe whatever the Palestinians, the NGOs, and the MSNM send his way… but he’s not an anti-Semite. on the contrary, i’d trust him more than most.

    that’s the puzzle of our time. people who don’t think they’re anti-semites, who aren’t anti-semites, still fall into the traps that have them acting “objectively” (to use Marx’s term) in ways that strike Jews as anti-Semitic (really Judeophobic). I recommend reading my essay on the topic: short versionlong version.

  15. Geoffrey Britain says:

    “I know Paul personally and don’t think he’s an anti-Semite.” R Landes

    Perhaps he’s not and my charge would then be unfair. I don’t know Paul at all. That said, at what point does ignoring the facts and “liable to believe whatever the Palestinians, the NGOs, and the MSNM send his way…’ translate from anti-Israeli into antisemitism?

    At what point does advocating policies such as the ‘right of return’ that ensure Israel’s destruction and ignoring the blatantly obvious implications of Hamas foundational charter (which is still supported) that call for Israel’s utter destruction translate from ignorance of the facts into intentional intellectual dishonesty? And can the emotional motivation that must support intentional intellectual dishonesty be ignored?

    Too many people are advocating ‘policies’ and points of view that were they imposed would result in the deaths of millions of Israeli’s.

    As someone pointed out, the UN has passed more resolutions of disapproval against Israel than against all the world’s nations combined. Is that alone not prima facie evidence of anti-semitism? If not, what is? Must we endure another Holocaust before the world looks once again at what it condones?

  16. Morey Altman says:

    I think this pretty much sums it up for me:

    “Sometimes the desire to form a balanced judgement of the conflict, and not to attribute responsibility for the conflict largely to one side, a generally positive aspiration, may prove a pitfall and distort the picture…Symmetries in objectives, modes of action, and interrelationships of two sides in the conflict must be examined carefully. It is sometimes the very desire to adopt the stance of a neutral judge that leads the observer to close his eyes to inconvenient patterns of behaviour on the part of one side or the other in the conflict or at least to regard them benignly. Adopting a neutral stand is liable to intoxicate the observer with a euphoria of self-righteousness; he will derive great satisfaction from his rectitude and from his capacity to transcend issues and view them from lofty heights. His awareness of affinity with one side of the conflict may inculcate in him a tendency towards ostentatious neutrality, leading him to tip the scales and do violence to the facts.” (Y. Harkabi: Nuclear War and Nuclear Peace, Israel Program for Scientific Translations, 1966, p. 270).

  17. Eliyahu says:

    Geoffrey, you’re right of course.

    It’s good that you mentioned the Hamas charter. I want to go further and point out that Article 7 of the Charter justifies genocide of the Jews on the grounds of medieval Muslim Judeophobia. In other words, the justification of mass murder of Jews for Hamas is not what Israel does or does not do. Rather, it is based on Jews being infidels [kuffar] and on various events recounted in medieval Muslim lore –real or imagined or distorted events– in which Jews at that time are alleged to have opposed Muhammad or betrayed him or sided with the enemies of Muslims, etc. But these are not events in which modern Israel was involved, except in the Muslim imagination.

    I remember hearing Professor Ismail al-Faruqi, John Esposito’s mentor and a former British civil servant in the Palestine mandate [Jewish National Home], if I am not mistaken, respond to a question from a Jew in one of his lectures on campus. The Jew had asked about anti-Jewish acts taking place in Arab countries. Faruqi [or Farouqi?] replied: If we had wanted to kill all the Jews we could have done at the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
    In other words, he was saying that the Muslims were kind and merciful towards the Jews in Muhammad’s time by not killing them all. He is also boasting that they could have done so if they had wanted to. The Muslim Hadith literature, revered by Hamas, records several massacres of Jews, enslavement of Jewish women and children, attacks on Jews villages, towns, oases, etc.
    We may also note how the Muslim sense of time is indefinite, moving back and forth, going by Farouqi’s words.

    Now, the Goldstone Commission operated without any awareness –apparently– of the operative grounds of Hamas hatred of Jews, which is actually part of Hamas’ Muslim jihad ideology.

    Instead, Goldstone gets on TV and tells the world in his best holier-than-thou [prechi-precha] tone of voice, that he is “disappointed” with Israel for not flamboyantly demonstrating a sense of guilt brought on by his “objective”, legal ["legalistic"], report.

    Goldstone has been doing legal dirty work for the notoriously corrupt UN –and other corrupt international bodies– for years now. He was with the tribunal on Yugoslav war crimes in which he said the bombing [by the US] of the Belgrade, Serbia, TV station which killed a dozen civilians, was OK and done in good faith, blah blah blah. He also helped cover up for UN higher ups in the Iraq Oil for Food scandal.

  18. oao says:

    Richard Goldstone is an anti-Semite, no other explanation is sufficient to explain an official report so biased and factually inaccurate, inaccurate to a degree impossible to any other explanation than intentional.

    perhaps. but my guess is he is ignorant of the ME at a level that does not permit him judgments and so he let others in the commission to do their thing. and they are as knowledgeable of the ME and as objective as garlasco.

    and he proved he’s a “good jew” in the bargain.

  19. Ray in Seattle says:

    Geoffrey Britain said, “Richard Goldstone is an anti-Semite, no other explanation is sufficient

    oao said, perhaps. but my guess is he is ignorant of the ME at a level that does not permit him judgments

    My guess is you’re both right. Antisemitism places one’s mind into an ideological state where willful ignorance becomes necessary.

  20. Fisking Goldstone's NYT op-ed…

    Fisking Goldstone's NYT op-ed…

  21. Raymond in DC says:

    No, I don’t see Goldstone as an anti-Semite, as Richard and Geoffrey do.

    where do i say i think Goldstone is an anti-Semite? you haven’t read my essay on the term, and i’m quite sure i’ve never made any remark that could even be interepreted as such.

    I’m sure he sees himself as a “good Jew”, and his daughter insists he “loves Israel”. (Goldstone is, in fact, a trustee of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.) The problem comes from what he thinks it means to be a “good Jew” in the eyes of the world.

    Kenneth Levin writes in “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege” of Jews who internalize the critiques coming from those around them – of Christians in centuries past, of progressives/leftists today – and soon enough adopting the mores and attitudes of those critics. Goldstone is a prominent jurist who hangs with other “elites” who either have nothing but disdain for Israel or hold Israel to a standard applied to no other state – as Jews have often been critiqued if they show themselves flawed. It’s no wonder, after hanging with Human Rights Watch and internalizing their attitude toward Israel, that he would himself prove especially critical of Israel while accepting at face value the “evidence” provided by Palestinians and NGOs congenitally hostile toward Israel.

    As Anthony Julius said about Jews who are embarrassed into being anti-Israel by their “friends” on the left: “Proud to be ashamed to be Jewish.”

  22. oao says:

    noah pollak:

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/boot/96122

    he corrects himself about the UN during the war, but not enough: today’s UN would not have done anything to hitler for exterminating jews — it would have congratulated him.

  23. oao says:

    sorry, max boot not pollak.

  24. Margie says:

    The interview with Yaacov Ahimeier on Israel 1 Television revealed rather startlingly that Richard Goldstone was unaware of the fact that Israel had been requesting the attention of the UN to the missile bombing over the past eight years. http://blog.unwatch.org/?p=416

    What else was he innocent of or deliberately unaware of?

  25. Charles says:

    Dr. Landes,

    You raise some good points. However, I must object with your conclusions. Goldstone has not lost his moral compass. In fact, it is in the right place.

    War is an ugly thing. Israel recognizes this. Hamas does not: it generally reveres war as glorious, divine, and enacted with “G_d’s” support.

    Israel should be investigated- so should Hamas, the US, Russia, China, etc. Goldstone is right to claim, “Absent credible local investigations, the international community has a role to play. If justice for civilian victims cannot be obtained through local authorities, then foreign governments must act.”

    Without justice, the conflict lasts much longer. Israel often alienates those tacitly supporting it through over-reacting and then failing to amend errant ways. Many aerial bombings during the 2006 war made no sense to American analysts and extremely angered US Embassy personnel, to say nothing of Lebanese reactions.

    Unfortunately, for fear of bias (and myriad other reasons), Israel has avoided using international institutions. Only recently, regarding Lebanon (and with US support), has Israel begun seeing the UN as a potential ally.

    UN reports similar to Goldstone’s are not a bad things. Should they be applied more broadly? Most definitely. But should they stop investigating Israel? By no means.

    Israel is guilty of horrible atrocities, and many Israel soldiers will admit to that, and on occasion, justify those atrocities. As I noted before, wars are disgusting, ugly things, and horrific things take place during them. Those horrific things often happen in situations in which the soldiers would prefer not commit such actions, but are driven toward them.

    Bad things happen. They should be investigated. And justice should be applied.

    Is Israel unfairly targeted? That seems to be your argument. However, I believe more countries should be put in the spotlight and forced to justify their actions.

    If Israel is ever needled to pay recompense for war damage, I would assume Israeli human rights lawyers would immediately compile dossiers asking for massive recompense from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, which is exactly what they should be doing.

  26. Richard Landes says:

    Charles, i don’t have time to reply to your thoughtful post, but i was struck by this remark (which i suspect many people who follow the news think is accurate):

    Israel is guilty of horrible atrocities, and many Israel soldiers will admit to that, and on occasion, justify those atrocities.

    can you list some “horrible atrocities”? can you cite an israeli soldier who actually witnessed that atrocity?

    and while you’re looking, if it turns out that the worst atrocity you can document falls down at the bottom of the list of war atrocities committed in the last generation (even the last decade), maybe you might want to think about the reliability of your information.

    and if you come to that place, you might want to consider factoring into your analysis the role of self-criticism or its absence in shaping the information you get, and the role of jewish hyper-self-criticism confusing your abiliity to reality test.

  27. Margie says:

    As a result of the upsidedown world policy of Richard Goldstone I found this in http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=103479&language=en
    ——–
    Surely, the centre cannot hold, all anarchy is loosed upon the world

  28. Charles says:

    Dr. Landes,

    My evidence comes from the IDF, testimony from former IDF soldiers, and even from popular Israeli literature depicting the IDF in combat, for example Ron Leshem’s book “Beaufort,” in which the closing scene occurs in Gaza in 2001 (I haven’t seen the film, so I don’t know if it is consistent with the book), and the film “Waltz With Bashir.” I’m on my way to work, so can’t dig for further evidence (and I would assume that I would probably have to sift through many articles on B’Tselem, which I don’t plan to cite here). This is not to mention testimony of UN officers related to the first incident at Qana in 1996 and other investigations that followed.

    There are many Soviet-style attempts to make Israel and the IDF seem inhumanly brutal: bombing beaches and schools. In this context, I should reframe the term “horrible atrocities.” I’m not referring to Katyn Forest massacres here, but rather gunning down civilians, recognition of this, but no investigation or action taken. This happens in most militaries in the world, especially when engaged in combat as regularly as Israel.

    You are right to think that most observant news readers will think I’m referring to Qana II, Gaza Beach, and bombing Gaza schools.

  29. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Charles,

    do you consider Gaza beach as an israeli atrocity? I am referring to the event which took place on June 9th, 2006. It is known now that unexploded ordnance was the cause of the explosion.

    Do we have to believe Human Rights Watch and Mr Marc Garlasco, its military expert, who was just suspended for loving military objects a tad too much, to the point of collecting 8000 items of nazi memorabilia?

    I’d love to have reliable inquiries about atrocities of all kinds. I do not live easily with the idea that the IDF may have committed atrocities and did not perform appropriate inquiries and apply appropriate punishments. But if inquiries are as partial as Judge Goldstone’s or HRW’s, I’d rather live with the explanations given officially by hte IDF, because the corroboration that I got is more believable than the corroboration by Goldstone of HRW.

    On a more fundamental question : you are writing

    If Israel is ever needled to pay recompense for war damage, I would assume Israeli human rights lawyers would immediately compile dossiers asking for massive recompense from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, which is exactly what they should be doing.

    Nice and dandy. But where is the court of justice which will hear the case against Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran? Where is the court of justice that will allocate damages to the 800 00 Jews expelled from arab countries often with no more than their clothes on their body, and sometimes those bodies had also been imprisoned and tortured, just for being jewish?

    And assuming that the court existed and that it allocated damages anbd indicted the delinquants, where are the policemen who will arrest the indicted persons? And where is the international organ, which will extract the money from the parties condemned to pay?

    Are we living in dreamland, and did a world democratic government appear while I was asleep, and now I am awake? Do I pay taxes to this world government? Do I elect representatives? Is my vote equal to the vote of the average chinese or the average inhabitant of Vanuatu? Do we have world laws?

    Can swe go back to earth, and to reality?

  30. Andrew says:

    Here is another extensive rebuttal of Goldstone’s report http://samsonblinded.org/blog/goldstone-report-the-rebuttal.htm

    His entire approach is flawed as he cannot investigate the facts of Hamas fighting from within urban areas, and so Israel is unavoidable guilty of fighting civilians.

  31. Cynic says:

    RL,

    I know Paul personally and don’t think he’s an anti-Semite.

    and Nicole Goldstone knows Richard Goldstone and says that he is a Zionist (something to that effect)!
    ‘My father is a Zionist, loves Israel’

    Is there a doctor in the house? Somewhere we need an explanation of why these apparently good people have succumbed to lies and distortions.

    Goldstone’s daughter: My father’s participation softened UN Gaza report

    So s**t scared that they don’t want to stand up for the truth (Forgive the analogy) for fear of being labeled “racist” by opposing?

    She added that her father wrestled with the decision to take on the task. “It wasn’t easy [for him],” Nicole Goldstone said. “My father did not expect to see and hear what he saw and heard.”

    So he took at face value everything that he was “told”?
    but discarded that which he decided was of no importance (Hamas using civilians as shields, using a hospital basement as a command centre and armory?).

  32. Cynic says:

    Charles,

    Since you mention “Qana” I presume that, at the time Peres was Prime Minister in the middle 90s, you will be aware that Hezbollah was acting out of the UN compound at “Qana” and that responding to Hezbollah rocket attacks on Northern Israel some shells hit the compound killing civilians seeking refuge there?

    And you still regurgitate testimony of UN officers related to the first incident at Qana in 1996 and other investigations that followed. who had to cover their backsides..

    That UN troops (UNIFIL) aided and abetted Hezbollah by supplying vehicles and uniforms used in kidnapping Israeli soldiers in Israel proper?

    The complicity of UNFIL, UNWRA and other UN “ONGs” should make the veracity of their testimony dubious.

    B’Tselem, which receives funding from European states to provoke security fence protests for example, certainly has not come up with reliable data when a microscope has been applied.

    As for IDF soldier’s testimony; if the so called “testimony”/hearsay used by the media during the Gaza incursion is anything to go by then I would not be too quick to bet anything of truth.
    The US even had its crop of soldier’s fictional events appearing in print.

  33. Cynic says:

    Raymond,

    The problem comes from what he thinks it means to be a “good Jew” in the eyes of the world.

    So you’re sort of implying that he suffers from a “sort of” Stockholm Syndrome?

  34. Cynic says:

    oao,

    perhaps. but my guess is he is ignorant of the ME at a level that does not permit him judgments and so

    As a South African judge and Jew he is no way ignorant of the ME!
    Choose another word but ignorant he is not.
    He also has some connection to a University in Israel apparently.

    By the way just manage to force my way to the bottom of the Jpost link and I cannot buy this:
    i>Nicole, who lived in Israel for six months, said that the country “is the most important thing in my life, my heart is there…. I love Israel more than my family and friends and anything else.

    Here’s a comment to sum it up:
    a href=”http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPTalkback%2FCommonFrame&tbId=1252950665509&tbNum=171&type=Show”>Dearest Nicole Goldstone …

    and just to leave one wondering what is up and what is down here’s a link to what Hamas’ Ghazil Hamadi said (scroll down a bit)
    GOLDSTONE PLEASES TERRORIST HAMAS

    A pleasant Friday evening and hopefully a new start to the next 365 days.

  35. Soccer Dad says:

    Goldstone questions…

    The Augean Stables asks what happened to this man. Barry Rubin asks what would you expect when the most moderate witness is hostile – to Israel’s existence. Max Boot asks what would have happened if the UN had been around during WWII? Daled Amos asks …

  36. nelson says:

    For there to be a possibility of a fair investigation and trial of whatever takes place between Middle Eastern Arabs and Jews, there would need to be neutral investigators and neutral judges.

    Now, the so-called international community represented by the UN is actually a collection of sel-interested, venal and corrupt lobbies.

    1/3 of it is formed by Islamic countries that, when it comes to the non-Islamic world and principally to the Jews, acts as a pretty coherent team, a closed club. The same applies to more than half of the UN countries that are dictatorships united in their hatred of democracies in general and both the US and Israel in particular. Finally, there are the European countries with their anti-Semitic past (present and future), their selective historical remorse and also their anti-Americanism. And let’s not forget that the vast majority of diplomats and international bureaucrats in the world are a leftist elite with their own worldview and goals.

    Someone has to be hopelessly naive to simply imagine that justice, any kind of objective justice born of the objective evaluation of objective and objectively investigated facts, can be born in such a place, from the minds and actions of such a people.

    For God’s sake: “Waltz with Bashir” is a cartoon, a movie, a piece of fiction. It is not reality. Whoever forms his opinion based on such a fantasy will watch a couple of films about Dracula and come out of the cinema actually believing vampires exist. (Besides, obviously, the film was made by Israelis — and Israeli Jews wouldn’t lie about Israel’s actions, would they? I mean: Jews can be child murderers, they can rape their way around the Middle East, they have been massacring the poor Palestinians over and over again, but they wouldn’t ever lie, would they?)

    If a UN comission which has members such as Lybia and Sudan or Cuba calls itself a Human Rights Comission, it wouldn’t ever lie about itself, would it? It would only try to honestly evaluate whatever happened, right? Ghaddaffi or Fidel Castro may kill people, but they wouldn’t allow their servants or functionaries to lie to the world about Israel — never ever.

    Where do such naive persons like this Charles come from? I’ve never met one personally, I swear. Is he a fictional character? I don’t actually believe he exists: a guy like this is a biological impossibility. If he does exist and is really speaking his mind, then I’ll have to recognize that Darwin was wrong all along. Oh, God…

  37. Charles says:

    Michelle,

    I’ve seen Professor Landes’ work on Gaza Beach and Muhammad ad-Dura and agree with his findings, which I indirectly noted in both of my messages above.

    Cynic,

    I know very well the capacities and incapacities of UNIFIL. However, Hezbollah was not operating out of the UNIFIL base in Qana. The IAF never made such claims, nor did the Israeli press at the time. The official Israeli response alleged that the soldiers targeting the site did not know what it was, despite direct video evidence to the contrary showing an Israeli drone flying over the camp shortly before the attack.

    Allegedly, many Norwegian UNIFIL soldiers carry video cameras and make documentaries on their experiences in Lebanon. I believe, but I could be wrong, that the Norwegians serving in Qana were part of a de-mining unit, but on the day in question were helping refugees who had fled to the UN base during the Grapes of Wrath campaign and filming the aid effort.

    Why did it happen? Some members of UNIFIL believe that Israel intentionally bombed the camp, killing 104 refugees and 4 Fijian UNIFIL soldiers in blue helmets, to send a message. The IAF claims that it was a mistake: that the drone seen in the Norwegian footage didn’t actually see the UN camp, and that the shells that hit the UN camp were just slightly off target, even though the Hezbollah position that fired the katyushas the IAF responded to had already been destroyed.

    The incident required a full report from the IAF, which never happened. If it was just a mistake, a claim the official UN report calls into question, then the facts should be made public. Few people are aware that Hezbollah often places positions very close to UNIFIL bases. In fact, there is an often visited spot on the Lebanon-Israel border in which a tomb is sliced in half by the blue line. On the Israeli side is a massive IDF position. On the Lebanese side, there is a two-person Hezbollah shack, and behind it is a medium-sized UNIFIL base. An Israeli round would have a difficult time not ricocheting into the UN base, even if fired by a sniper.

    This is yet another reason why the work that Professor Landes does is so important. The 2006 war was so overblown with propaganda that responding to it would take an entire Army division. From Qana II to the hoax ambulance bombing to fauxtography, there was a massive campaign to lie.

    However, the first attack on Qana does not seem to be one of those incidents.

  38. nelson says:

    Besides, if war crimes are to be investigated in this conflict, well, we should have to take the whole conflict into consideration.

    There has not been a war with Hizbollah in Lebanon in 2006 or with Hamas in Gaza in 2008/09. All member states of the Arab League, with the official and belated exception of Egypt and Jordan, have been in a state of continuous war with Israel since at least early 1948 — and with the local Jews since much earlier.

    Gaza 2008/09 and Lebanon 2006 were but skirmishes in an ongoing war that’s very far from being over. All war crimes that took place in this conflict have to be thoroughly investigated, as well as the role of outside powers such as, for instance, France or Russia-USSR, Iran etc.

    Simply chosing to investigate only this or that skirmish, one battle or another, anything randomly limited in time and space, is already a show of deep bias. The recent skirmish over the Palestinian rocket attacks is as much a part of this war as the expulsion of Jews from Arabs lands or the Mufti of Jerusalem’s collaboration with the Nazis.

    All of this is interelated, and singling some discrete episode out of the whole already constitutes deeply rooted unfairness. There’s no way of examining whatever took place earlier this year in Gaza without also investigating Hamas’ goals and its charter. Otherwise, it all looks like that famous story about two boys quarreling in the kindergarten — when one is asked how it begun, he answers: well, it all started when the other hit back. That’s precisely the way the UN, the Europeans in general, the MSM, the NGOs, HRW and so on investigate whatever in the region involves Israel and the Jews: it all started when Israel, the Jews or the IDF hit back…

    At least the official version of Great Terror and the Soviet purges of the 30s was literally believed at the time only by other communists and fellow-travellers. Nowadays, however, whatever lie is spread about Israel and the Jews, whatever is held against them is true until otherwise proved — and even after.

    There are actually so many layers of lies and deformations obscuring and biasing everything that happened there, that what’s needed by now is an honest and neutral inquiry on the last hundred years. I myself, for one, am begining to mistrust, even disbelieve, any of the accepted versions of what took place (if it really did) in Sabra and Shatilla.

    I’d like to see a work like Richard’s done with that dubious episode. Maybe that would show that the so-called (or alleged?) mass murder of Palestinians may have been the first succesful Pallywood-style production. Why not? For instance, it may(a) never have happened at all or (b) have been planned by the Syrians and people working for them among the Maronites to set Israel up.

    Remember: the Maronite commander of the massacre went on to make a nice career as an important and influential politician in Syria-occupied and/or controlled Lebanon for the next two decades — until he was misteriously killed (and guilt for this informally laid on Sharon).

    How many US Dollars have been spent on investigating every Palestinian death that could even remotely or indirectly be blamed on Israel for every US Dollar spent investigating the death, say, of a Rwandan Tutsi in 1994 or of a Cambodjan citizen by the Khmer Rouge?

    Oh, and btw, right now an Iranian who is accused of being one of the masterminds of the worst act of international terror perpetrated in South America is his country’s minister of defense. When will he be deported to Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv or The Hague to face a fair trial? If he isn’t (and neither is Iran being pressured to do so, not even by the US), why should Israel take the so-called international community and its justice seriously?

    And, btw again, there’s still (though I can’t recall his name) at least one high ranking Nazi criminal of war living safely in Syria. Well, if such a respectable member state of the Arab League protects not one of its own citizens, not even an Arab or Muslim terrorist, but a German or Austrian who took part in the Shoah, why the hell should Israel pay any attention to whatever the “world” says? It’s simply ridiculous. Or rather: eternal double standards.

    One of the reasons Israel was created for was to protect Jews from Jewish-obsessed “justice”. It has doubtlessly been as succesfull at that as at protecting the Jews in general from murderous anti-Semitism. After all, since Israel’s creation, throughout all its wars and all the terror attacks it has been victim of, for the last 60 years or so, less Jews met a violent death simply for being Jews than on any single regular day or week during the early 40s in Nazi-occupied Europe. Were Israel to be abolished tomorrow, it would already have done more for the Jews in general than any other idea, project, invention, creation or political institution in the last almost 2.000 years.

    But never mind: the USSR was born, has already died and is basically forgotten. The same applies to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the UAR (United Arab Republic: anybody remembers it?), the League of Nations and so on. I suspect the UN will meet the same end. Soon. I’d bet, however, on Israel’s survival and longevity.

  39. oao says:

    Israel should be investigated- so should Hamas, the US, Russia, China, etc.

    Absolutely. Except everybody investigates ONLY israel and those investigations turn out to be utter shams rooted in bigotry and ignorance.

    Goldstone is right to claim, “Absent credible local investigations, the international community has a role to play. If justice for civilian victims cannot be obtained through local authorities, then foreign governments must act.”

    I dk if to laugh or cry. Has he considered taking hs own advice insofar as the arabs abd the iranians are concerned? why israel?

    “international community” my ass. it’s a bunch of arabs, iranians and cowardly/ corrupt/ bigoted westerners, russians and chinese.

    pls give me a break. come down to this planet to live. the relationship between your moral illusions and the reality on earth are nil.

    i have no idea why would anybody would want to engage you. waste of time.

    charles you are either naive or ignorant — take your pick.

  40. oao says:

    As a South African judge and Jew he is no way ignorant of the ME! Choose another word but ignorant he is not.
    He also has some connection to a University in Israel apparently.

    none of these persuade me. he knows at a level of knowledge which is insignificant. he really has no serious clue. he is schooled in the ME, but NOT educated on the ME.

    By the way just manage to force my way to the bottom of the Jpost link and I cannot buy this:
    i>Nicole, who lived in Israel for six months, said that the country “is the most important thing in my life, my heart is there…. I love Israel more than my family and friends and anything else.

    you validate my point. she really knows nothing about israel, nor does she know its history and the history of jews. these are the rich westerners who are characterized by superficiality, materialism, ignorance and lack of consideration.

    in their own minds they know everything and love israel. but in reality they don’t have a clue. even when they know things they don’t COMPREHEND.

  41. [...] – Goldstone investigation undercuts human rights – Foreign Ministry: Goldstone ignored our report – Fisking Goldstone: What happened to this man? – Canada slams UN’s Goldstone report for „pre-emptively assuming Israel’s culpability“ – [...]

  42. E.G. says:

    I agree with Nelson about the ongoing state of war that accompanies Israel from its pre-birth.
    This said, the battles launched by armies- state armies- are one thing, and the terrorist operations launched in parallel by terrorist organisations are another. It’s not the same kind of combats and, to the best of my knowledge, there are no “rules of war”, certainly not International conventions, dealing with such warfare. Israel and specifically the IDF had to develop its own doctrine and ethic of fighting non-state belligerent organisations (who’re not following any Intl. convention).

    I’d suggest Charles to get some knowledge of the IDF’s ethic code. In particular see Prof. Asa Kasher’s publications. That’s no fiction, no hearsay, no anonymous “testimony”.
    And I’d suggest also to look into the issue of proportionality and intensity (compared to IRA, ETA, FARC, for example).

    I agree that no civilised person finds it convenient or appropriate to barge into a family’s home and arrest someone, or use it as HQ. And that no civilised person finds it convenient or appropriate to bomb – however precisely – a civil area. I’d like to know how a civilised person, and one wearing a uniform of a state army in particular, is to deal with “combattants” that are indistinguishable from a civil population, who use this “undistinctibility” for their aims: harm civilians and military, preferably to death, whether “enemy” (Israelis, sometimes Jews) or their own (see: human shields). How can one apply conventional rules of war to non-conventional war situations?

  43. E.G. says:

    Oh, I have one more question: what are the rights of an IDF soldier?

  44. nelson says:

    E.G.

    Conventional warfare between nations –what we think of as regular or normal war– is a pretty recent thing, as recent, actually, as formal nations are. However, even in the wars among nations there have been irregular forces fighting. But what made those wars “conventional” ones was the fact that the warring sides, though in conflict, recognized each other as legitimate. In WW1 Austria-Hungary recognized Serbia as a nation, and so did Germany and Russia mutually and so on.

    What’s special about the whole conflict involving Israel is that not even during its more or less “conventional” phases (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973) did its enemies recognize it as a legitimate nation. The Jews were so odious in their view, so low and despicable that they couldn’t even be considered legitimate enemies.

    The Jordanian Arab Legion, for instance, behaved earlier in the same way as Hamas does now. In this conflict, there’s no line separating, on one side, “normal” warfare between nations that have mutually recognized each other and both their civilians’ and their soldiers’ rights, and, on the other, irregular and/or genocidal warfare or terrorism. Had the above mentioned wars gone the other way, and all Israelis would have been dealt with in the same way as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad or Hamas deals or would deal with innocent civilians, kidnapped soldiers etc.

    We tend to forget this because the Arabs are very incompetent, lousy warriors, but their objective has always been unlawful and genocidal. When dealing with Jews, they never respected any law of war or, by the way, any international treaty or rule.

    Even the Nazis behaved in a more lawful and civilized way, at least on the Western front. They may have been in war with England, France or even Greece, but they recognized these as nations and both their civilians and military as citizens. American, British or French POWs had a fair chance of surviving the war, a much better chance, btw, than allied POWs had in Japanese hands. Whatever the Nazis did on the Eastern front, in Poland or the USSR (and with the Jews anywhere), that’s another story, a story that actually resembles quite closely what the Arabs would have done if they could and still have not given up their hopes of doing in the future.

    Making a long story short: it is idiotic and/or biased to investigate whatever Israel does because, from the very beginning, the total war against its very existence and all its inhabitants has been marked by absolute illegality. The Arabs have been illegally fighting an illegal war against Israel, Israelis and Jews (not only those in Israel).

    Due to this and to the complete lack of any kind of reciprocity from the Arab side, I cannot see why does Israel lose any time trying to justify itself to the corrupt jury (and hanging judges) of the so-called international community, to African tribal dictators, to Latin American “caudillos”, to the leftist transnational bureaucracy and to their spokespersons all over the MSM . This Israeli obsession with being on the international law’s correct side, this perpetual need to prove that the IDF are not a band of cold-blooded criminals, this stupoid repetition of the IDF being the “most moral of armies”, all this is already a too big, unnecessary and useless concession to murderous, treacherous and genocidal enemies. What keeps Israel in existence is might, not being right and, besides, if one’s a Jew, he/she’s never right anyway (unless he/she is cooperating with the anti-Semites).

  45. Cynic says:

    Smoke_and_Mirrors,

    Based on the statements Goldstone has already made in this article, he does not believe that Israels investigation should will be taken seriously, and is saying that the ICC should be used if the parties don’t do it themselves, but again, Israel is already doing its investigation.

    If you read Alan Dershowitz’s criticism you will see where he points out Goldstone trashing Israel’s Supreme Court

    UN Investigation of Israel Discredits Itself and Undercuts Human Rights

    The lowest blow and the worst canard contained in this lie-laden report is that the Israeli judicial system is incapable of conducting investigations and bringing about compliance with international law. It claims that the Israeli judicial system “has major structural flaws that make the system inconsistent with international standards,” and that “there is little potential for accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law through domestic institutions in Israel.”

    Goldstone and his ilk resort to denigration in an attempt to give credence to their claims.

    This is a direct attack on the Israeli Supreme Court by a lawyer who knows full well that there is no country in the world that has a judicial system that demands more accountability than the Israeli system does. There is no judicial system in the world — not in the United States, not in Great Britain, not in South Africa, not in France — that takes more seriously its responsibility to bring its military into compliance with international law. The long term President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Professor Aharon Barak, opened the Supreme Court of Israel to all claims of law violation. Cases that would be rejected by the courts of other nations have been pursued by the Israeli Supreme Court. This part of this infamous report has literally turned black to white and white to black. It has condemned the most responsive judicial system in the world, without even bothering to compare it to other systems. In doing so, they have made a mockery of international human rights and turned into a weapon that targets only Israel.

    Now all that remains is for Goldstone to rubbish Alan Dershowitz’s knowledge of law and he’s done.

  46. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    The Jordanian Arab Legion, for instance, behaved earlier in the same way as Hamas does now

    commanded by “Glubb Pasha” (John Bagot Glubb) and other British officers.

  47. Cynic says:

    …. and, besides, if one’s a Jew, he/she’s never right anyway (unless he/she is cooperating with the anti-Semites). for the time being!

  48. nelson says:

    Cynyc,

    eventually, there was room enough in the crematoria for the kappos too.

  49. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    That point is lost on them.

  50. oao says:

    That point is lost on them.

    don’t worry, it’ll be made to them.

    i would regret if i weren’t around to witness it.

  51. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    This Israeli obsession with being on the international law’s correct side, this perpetual need to prove that the IDF are not a band of cold-blooded criminals, this stupoid repetition of the IDF being the “most moral of armies”, all this is already a too big, unnecessary and useless concession to murderous, treacherous and genocidal enemies.

    This is one way to look at things, and it has quite some truth in it.
    Another view is the Internal Israeli one. Where accountability counts a lot, where Justice is a primary moral concern, and ends are not considered as met if the means are not correct. IOW, the Israeli opinion/judgement of themselves is the definitive one. Israeli moral, anchored in the Jewish one, is the ultimate might.

  52. nelson says:

    E.G.

    Were I an IDF soldier, I wouldn’t take any extra risks to achieve the impossible, that is, B’Tselem’s approval.

    Nor would I keep jailed child-murderers alive to be ultimately released in exchange for the corpses of kidnaped soldiers. (And, were it the case, I wouldn’t want my own corpse to be used in such an exchange.)

    Nor would I avoid bombing in retaliation a Palestinian town where, with the backing of all its population, captured Israeli soldiers were jointly lynched by the local police and mob.

    Nor would I think twice about shooting a voluntary human-shield, not even if he/she were an Israeli Jew shielding Arafat (as has alredy happened more than once).

    But that’s just me.

  53. E.G. says:

    Yes Nelson, it’s you.

    Were you an IDF soldier, you wouldn’t have been handed a weapon without the appropriate training, including learning the technical aspects of the “thing”, the way to use it, and the ethic code of how/when to use it and not to use it.

    The latter is not B’Tselem approved or inspired. It’s pre-IDF doctrine.

  54. nelson says:

    Well, yes: me, but not necessarily only me, since there’s no lack of Israeli’s who are for the capital punishment of certain terrorists. That’s, for instance, Caroline Glick’s position.

    Many Israelis were also against exchanging the Kutnar guy for the Hezbollah-kidnaped soldiers’s bodies.

    Finally, retaliation used to be a Israeli policy before, due to other pressures both national and foreign, it was mostly given up. But the juri is still out and there’s no reason to be sure that what once worked won’t be used again.

    One thing is sure: this rather extreme care for the enemy’s life is not working all that well in Israel’s favor. If even a US president can become absolutely unpopular among Israeli Jews, there’s no reason to think that any set of rules should be perpetual.

    My impression is that the Israeli MSM actually shields its readers from how hated they and their country are around the world. But, when all is said and done, survival comes first: one can live with regrets and bad conscience later, in old age.

  55. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Michelle

    I’ve seen Professor Landes’ work on Gaza Beach and Muhammad ad-Dura and agree with his findings, which I indirectly noted in both of my messages above.

    This probably answered my post #32 in response to your

    You are right to think that most observant news readers will think I’m referring to Qana II, Gaza Beach, and bombing Gaza schools.

    in #31.

    I must acknowledge that I did not understand these lines as a recognition of bad lies being spread around. Probably too allusive… and I’m afraid that my insufficient knowledge of english is not in cause.

    So, point granted.

    But besides that, I stick with my main criticism. In a world where the rule of law holds, a citizen does not take the law in his hands and does not exert police or justice by himself, because such a behavior would break the law.

    What happens in a world where the law is not the result of majority consent, with appropriate respect for individual rights? What happens if the law is made up by dictators and corrupt rulers ? Does one have to appear before a partial court? If you appear before a partial court, you agree that this court has some power. At least, if you do not appear before a partial court, you make it clear that it has no power in your eyes.

    In an ideal world, Israel could take to court its enemies when they do not behave according to international law, and would win. The world is not ideal. I doubt that Israel can afford appearing before a partial court.

    OK, if you think that I’m wrong, can you elaborate on your arguments? I like peace better than war, no doubt, and I’d rather have a good legal battle than a battle with artillery – if law is more just than force.

  56. E.G. says:

    Nelson 59,

    These are different issues, tangent to the rules of war.
    On quite a few I agree with what you state.

    One thing is sure: this rather extreme care for the enemy’s life is not working all that well in Israel’s favor. If even a US president can become absolutely unpopular among Israeli Jews, there’s no reason to think that any set of rules should be perpetual.

    Well, popularity is less a core issue than caring about the enemy’s life. Presidents come and go. IDF ethic is basically the same. It had to be revised to deal with the new reality, so the same principles were updated to be applied to non-state military organisations.
    Recall, IDF stands for Israel DEFENSE Forces.

    My impression of the Israeli MSM is that it confuses its public. It’s highly critical of anything and everything except for what/who suits some journalists’/editors momentary agenda.

    But, when all is said and done, survival comes first: one can live with regrets and bad conscience later, in old age.

    That’s very problematic. KZ survivors have different experiences. Some share your opinion, some didn’t.
    How low would you go just to survive? Will life be worth living after you’d abandoned your core values? Will it still be you and your life?

  57. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson, I would not go so far as to equate the Arab Legion with Hamas. For instance, Jews taken as prisoners of war in the Old City of Jerusalem were eventually released. I forget the terms but they were not Hamas’ terms. Moreover, their conditions of incarceration were not those now imposed on poor Gilad Shalit, if he is still alive.

    On the other hand, the fact that General Sir John Bagot Glubb Pasha commanded the Legion which had many other Brit officers besides him, demonstrates UK collaboration in the Arab war effort against Israel in 1947-49. This fact used to be well known but since then history, particularly of the Israeli war of Independence has been considerably rewritten by British, Western Leftist, and Arab “historians” and journalists. In fact, the subject of Arab-British collaboration in that war is very extensive and supported by many facts, events, incidents.

  58. nelson says:

    Eliyahu,

    anyway, wherever the Arab Legion was victorious, their occupied part of Jerusalem was ethnically cleansed of Jews and the Jewish sacred places desecrated — somewhat as in Gaza (with the difference that Hamas didn’t get even such a limited military victory).

    E.G.

    About how to fight then, it is pretty irresponsible to put young Israelis, who had no time yet to cope with all those existential/philosophical questions, in harm’s way. Either make the IDF a wholly voluntary army or give each soldier the chance to choose between several different codes of conduct so that each can answer to God or to the absence of a God in his/her own way.

    Anyway, if I understood you correctly, were I an Israeli citizen, I wouldn’t be given the right to have a gun and defend myself except if I were willing to die for the safety of a voluntary Palestinian human shield. That seems a pretty good reason for me not to move to Israel, a country, it seems, that prizes more the life of enemy irregular combatants than that of its own citizens.

    It’s nice to know, anyway, that were I to be killed in such circumstances, Palestinian or Lebanese terrorists would be released so that I could have a decent burial. If that’s all the Israelis want, all Israel is about, the right to be decently burried, maybe their neighbours would willfully comply. No need to have an army: a couple of thousands of gravediggers should suffice.

    PS: Both my parents (and my only surviving grandparent) were survivors of the Shoah (in Hungary); my paternal uncles moved to Haifa in 1939 and fought in the British army; my parents lived there between 1949-54. My cousins fought in 1967 and 1973.

    I got to know quite a few KZ survivors (most of them are dead by now) and most think like me. But you’re right: I’ve met one or two who were savagely anti-zionistic, called Israel a Nazi state, thought the Arabs were victims and always right and, coincidentally, belonged to the Communist Party, stayed in Central-Eastern Europe, were state apparatchiks. They also “knew” in their bones that they haven’t actually been the victims of nazism, but that both them (the good Jews) and the Arabs (always good) were/are actually the victims of Western imperialism and capitalism, mainly of America (and of the Zionist lobby).

    I have a local friend: 92 years old, a Russian born communist Jew who fought as a volunteer in WW2 along with the US Army (artillery sargeant in Italy, 1944-45). He is against Israel’s existence and still believes that, in the late 40s or early 50s, Israel betrayed the USSR to get into an imperialistic or colonialist alliance with the US (no mention of France).

  59. nelson says:

    Better still: only Israeli philosophers should carry guns. Then, maybe, the war would look like that Monthy Python episode where Greek and German philosophers play soccer. (I’m just not entirely sure how Islamic philosophers would behave.)

  60. oao says:

    But, when all is said and done, survival comes first: one can live with regrets and bad conscience later, in old age.

    better sad than dead.

    incidentally, the euros’ position on the jews is different: better dead THEN sad.

  61. nelson says:

    Let me make it clear about the price of survival.

    Should a Jewish girl in a KZ-Lager prostitute herself to Nazis in order to survive? I can imagine both answers. Some girls would rather refuse, and die with dignity. Others would do it and, even among these, some would discover later that they went too far and, maybe, years later, hang themselves. That’s what we call tragedy or tragic choices.

    But what about the “Sophie’s Choice” scenario? Maybe, in order to save her kids, a woman would do low things she would never consider doing just to save her own skin. Would any of us throw the first stone at her? There’s a poem, I think by the Russian poet/novelist Andrei Biely, about a mother who, during the famine provoked by the Civil War, commits suicide by throwing herself in a boiling pot so that her children will have something to eat.

    Curiously, as far as I know, survivors of the Holocaust who, later, killed themselves for whatever reason were few and far between. Even more curiously, all cases I know about were not of common people (like my parents, relatives and acquaintances), but of intellectuals. Here are some names:

    Paul Celan: Romanian born, German speaking poet who killed himself at 50; Peter Szondi: Hungarian born, German language critic who, btw, wrote about Celan’s poetry; Primo Levi: Italian chemist and writer who waited till his old mother died before killing himself; Bruno Bettelheim; Tadeusz Borowski: Polish (non-Jewish) poet and short-story writer; Jean Améry (Hans Mayer): half Jewish Austrian author.

    Other ethical questions could include whether it would be right to help killing other Jews and/or innocent people in general.

    But frankly, for most people, that is, with the exception of the armachair obsessed and always guilty liberal, the elimination of willing human shields, retaliation against collaborators or anti-semitic populations, the execution of hardened terrorists are a no-brainer. In the Middle East (but, actually, around the world), not doing all these is seen not as proof of a higher morality but as weakness and lack of conviction — things to be exploited.

  62. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    Anyway, if I understood you correctly, were I an Israeli citizen, I wouldn’t be given the right to have a gun and defend myself except if I were willing to die for the safety of a voluntary Palestinian human shield.

    No. It’s unless you were willing to avoid harming innocent civilians.

    Ethical Dilemmas in Fighting Terrorism

  63. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    I was indeed thinking of the 2 polar examples of survivors. And, thank God, it’s too hard for me to even imagine having to make some of the choices…

    My point is that survival and self defence has a price and, as far as Jews are concerned, there are some basic values that, if abandoned, mean spiritual death as a Human being according to Jewish law. For instance, conversion. Taken very generally, it’s not only about changing religion but about a certain philosophy (or guiding principles) of conducting life.

    In the Middle East (but, actually, around the world), not doing all these is seen not as proof of a higher morality but as weakness and lack of conviction — things to be exploited.

    Your observation is correct. But then, should I (and my similars) adapt my judgement criteria to the above interpretation – IOW behave like my enemies – or stick to my pluri-millenary heritage? It’s not only about me and my (family’s) life.
    I don’t want to adopt my enemies’ moral principles. And they’re wrong to think that it’s weakness and lack of conviction. It’s actually the other way around. That’s what I meant when I wrote above “Israeli moral, anchored in the Jewish one, is the ultimate might.”

    One translation of this goes: if I (Israel, IDF) know I’m doing the right thing, the right way, the whole world can wail and cry about massacred Arab children – they weren’t there and my conscience is clear. I defend life. And am very stubborn (stiff-necked) about that too.

  64. nelson says:

    E.G.

    There’s a point of view (widely held in some circles) according to which if you kill, even in self-defense, someone who is about to kill you, then you too become a killer, the same as he is (or was, or was about to be). That’s, for instance, what Ghandians, Quackers and pacifists think: that even killing to save your life is murderous and beyond the pale.

    Technically, this would make Israeli soldiers killing, say, Egyptian, Jordanian or Syrian soldiers in open war murderers in precisely the same way as Palestinian terrorists who blow up a bus full of Jewish school children are murderers. It’s better, according to them, to die an innocent than to survive with the smallest stain of blood on one’s hand.

    Unless you agree with them and their principles, there’s no way we can compare Israel at its worst with its neighbours at their very best. The whole Arab world (not only Hamas) is nationalistic (in the worst old European way, that is, it’s not patriotic at all), anti-semitic, religiously supremacist and has openly declared genocidal goals. Vis-a-vis Israel and the Jews they are and have always been the agressors. They want land, all of it only for themselves (it’s Waqf), they want other people’s hardly earned riches, they want blood, lots of it, they want revenge (for their imaginary humiliations), and they want to see the Jews suffer just because they are Jews.

    What, on the other hand, do Israel and the Jews want? To survive safely and decently and to prosper, if possible in peace and quiet. Israel has been fighting ONLY in self-defense and for survival. There’s not even beginning to compare Israel to its enemies. If Israel happens to kill innocent civilians (it surely did it here and there, one time or another), it has been in spite of, not because it wished to do it.

    You’re right that Israel owes no satisfaction or explanation to anyone save to its own citizens. But, as only in few other countries (the US, maybe the UK), there’s a loud minority of madly and suicidally extremely self-righetous citizens there who see themselves as prophets and who’d rather see their country go up in flames than risk harming, for instance, someone like Arafat’s or sheik Ahmed Yasin’s little finger — and that’s not only out of hatred for their countrymen, but also because in their worldview anyone annointed as a or the victim, the poor, the oppressed is always right — sacred actually. And too much importance is given to these madmen’s opinions.

    I, for one, cannot forgive the IDF’s decision to sacrifice 2 or 3 dozen of its own soldiers at Jenin during Operation Defensive Shiled when they could simply have, first, alerted the local inhabitants and, then, bombed the town. It wouldn’t have made the slightest difference in terms of the “international community’s” opinion about Israel and would have avoided much unjustifiable suffering in Israel. Were I, at the time, an Israeli soldier given the order to go into Jenin because bombing the town with artillery or from the air would mean bad publicity for the country, I would have refused the orders.

    (Oh, and as an atheist, I couldn’t care less about conversion. A Jew for me is anyone who is liable to be persecuted by anti-semites.)

  65. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson,
    anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools. That applies to those old Jewish Communists that you are talking about. They are really fools or madmen. That’s what Commie ideology did to some people. Commie anti-imperialism was fake anyhow. The Bolsheviks came to power with the aid of the German Empire [Zweiten Reich]. The USSR continued to rule most of the non-ethnically Russian territories of the old Tsarist empire. They expanded their empire in the Nazi-Soviet pact and then again after WW2.

    Anti-Zionism today stiil often, but not always, makes an anti-imperialist pretense. Besides the Commie and pacifist fakers, you have the walt-mearsheimer crowd who speak in the name of “American interests,” “American national interests,” etc, which they seldom specify by the way. The reader is just supposed to believe that they are concerned about American interests, into which anybody can read whatever specifics that he would like to imagine. Anyhow, who is supposed to define and identify US national interest and on what grounds? Walt-mearsheimer are/were State Dept consultants. So that should tell you where they stand.

    Isn’t it curious that State Dept consultants can nowadays get along quite well with supposed “anti-imperialists”??

  66. Ray in Seattle says:

    I’ve been out of town and away from my desk a lot lately and so reluctant to chime in much but I feel compelled to express my appreciation for the great discussion I’ve been following. (Nelson, I hope you have time to contribute more regularly here.)

    But traveling is a great time to read so now I’m about half way through “Why Are Jews Liberals?” by N. Podhoretz. This is a fascinating history. I just learned, for example, that American Jews were hugely (90%) supportive of Roosevelt partially because of his socialist tendencies (for example, The New Deal which was called “The Jew Deal” by many of Roosevelt’s political opponents like Lindberg).

    From pg 122 talking about American Jews during this period and adding to Eliyahu’s comment:

    Start block quote

    As we have also seen, for throwing their support to Roosevelt they were also attacked by the Communists. But then in 1935, and literally overnight, the Communist line executed a 180-degree turn. In the five years leading up to 1935 the theory of “Social Fascism” had formed the basis of Communist thinking and action. According to this theory, socialists were a greater “class enemy” than the fascists themselves – which was why, incredible as it seems in retrospect, the Communists in Germany had refused to join with the socialists to block the appointment of Hitler as chancellor. But in 1935, Stalin had finally come to the conclusion that he had been mistaken in thinking that the Nazis would soon give way to the Communists (Nach Hitler Uns – “After Hitler Us” – had been the Communist justification for helping him come to power). Clearly Hitler was there to stay, and fanatical anti-Communist that he was, he just as clearly posed a threat to the Soviet Union.

    Communists everywhere were instructed to stop acting and talking like revolutionaries. Instead, they were to portray themselves as no different from the formerly despised liberals except in their impatience to bring about the same reforms; they were “liberals in a hurry”.

    Thus the Jews, for the majority of whom socialism had been the default position, were now almost compelled to regard themselves as liberals. This was not true of the dedicated Communists, who were only pretending to be liberals, but it was certainly true of their many sympathizers.

    End block quote

  67. nelson says:

    Eliyahu,

    I’ve happened to meet quite a few American and French diplomats in my country and elsewhere.

    All members of the State Dept. I talked to were more or less openly anti-American. Coincidentally, so were all members of the Quai d’Orsay. These latter, however, were absolutely loyal French nationalists (not just patriots).

    All of them (the French diplomats, that is) also made quite an explicit point of always promoting the French cinema and obsessively criticizing Hollywood, calling American movies the most dangerous and insidious weapon of US imperialism and cultural hegemony.

    I have sometimes the impression that the State Dept. is about as useful, as good a defender of US interests abroad as the UN itself. I can imagine that the world would be a somewhat better place if both –the UN and the State Dept.– were disbanded. Considering, however, that this is rather unlikely to happen, Americans could surely learn a thing or two about diplomacy from the Quai d’Orsay.

    The only country besides the US I can think about whose diplomacy is even worse, more harmful to its needs and interests is, quite obviously, Israel. That was not always the case since, from before independence until maybe the 60s or 70s, the Jewish state actually had some brilliant and patriotic diplomats.

    But then, along with its MSM, its judiciary, its academic establishment and intelligentsia, the country’s foreign service seems to have been captured by the suicidal leftist elite.

    What’s even more unforgivable is that ever since that time, though born in families coming from every corner of the planet, most Israeli diplomats proved completely unable to speak any foreign language, English included, without tzeirrrr atrrrrrocious and horrrrribow accccccent.

  68. oao says:

    I have sometimes the impression that the State Dept. is about as useful, as good a defender of US interests abroad as the UN itself.

    1st, who in the world gives a ff about foreign ministries?

    2nd, looked who, on average is appointed foreign minister — anybody with policy weight? more specifically, look who’s heading the state dept now!!!! and how relevant she is.

    i mean, even the russian in israel has disappeared into the job.

    enough said.

  69. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    The “thou shalt not kill” mistranslation and its damaging effects has been evoked in preceding threads. The correct translation is “Thou shalt not murder”, and protecting enemy non-combattant/unarmed civilians falls under this precept. Killing in self-defence is “Kosher”. Glatt.

    There’s a known gap between what the IDF does and what Pali-prop and their Western loudspeakers say. So I think the problem is not with IDF doctrine but with the Israeli “all powerful propaganda” as anti-Zionists put it, that does not do a very powerful job.

  70. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    You wont to teech us ower job? Com live hear fairst, zen let’s sea you give laisson to us, in de faraway diasphorrrra. :-(

  71. Cynic says:

    oao,

    I don’t quite get what you mean by i mean, even the russian in israel has disappeared into the job.

    Is that good or bad?

    I think that one needs to apply some psychological observation to understand somewhat how things appear to function:
    Who in the general society of say a town or state or even a corporate group couldn’t give a damn about what the neighbours think and keeping up with the Jonses, and who gives a damn lot?
    From my simplistic view it seems that even as I witnessed inter-corporate competition in what the managers were wearing and driving for example, so it appeared to apply to the diplomatic corps in the little I was able to glean by way of off the cuff commentary/remarks from staff.
    Foreign ministries can cause a lot of trouble just as those of some European countries are financing protests against the security fence and illegal building in East Jerusalem and environs.
    Foreign office meddling has also caused many a contretemps with the defense depts., with all that implies.

  72. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Nelson, zi akesent is nossin’ at orl - remember dear old uncle Arafat? Din’he have a terrrible akesent? So, ze problem iz not zi akesent, it is elseverrre – you pipol tell me verrre. Zis reminds me of ze advantage zat stutterers have : once zey have made zeir mind to speak up, it is so painful for ze audience zat everybody finishes ze stutterer’s sentences so as to be done wiz it – and in ze meantime, ze stutterer has become vedy vedy persuasive. Make zem sink zat givin a speech is reeally very painful for you, but you are well-meaning, and everyssing should be OK.

    Right? Do you like my recipe?

  73. Lianne says:

    @ RL
    Do you have a source for ’15 as the acceptable civilian limit’?

  74. E.G. says:

    Ray-

    Tech note:

    (no spaces) at the beginning; /> at the end.
    (Just sharing recently acquired knowledge)

  75. E.G. says:

    Sorry, it’s blockquote with

  76. nelson says:

    Arafat (or Che or Mao) is the 3rd Wold, the good savage, the revolutionary, the romantic “other”, and having an accent is part of that role, a mar of authenticity.(What would an American girl want a French boyfriend for if he could speak English without that charming accent?).

    But that role or place is already taken. Israel wants to present itself as “one of us”, as part of the Western civilization and culture. Arafat spoke of blood and soil (and Allah) and that is more credible in broken English, even in pidgin.

    But whoever, like Israel, wants to talk about modern ethical armies and microchips has to do it in perfect English. Otherwise he/she might as well be eaten alive by any fluent English speaking Scandinavian journalist who will sound much more credible to the US public.

  77. E.G. says:

    Aye Neslon,

    And it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx44k02UOTs
    He’s got the same nice little accent he had in Hebrew. But that’s not a/the problem.

  78. E.G. says:

    Blocking the Truth of the Gaza War: How the Goldstone Commission Understated the Hamas Threat to Palestinian Civilians

    http://jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=1&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=442&PID=0&IID=3086&TTL=Blocking_the_Truth_of_the_Gaza_War

  79. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Thanks for the tech advice. I have been unsuccessful using block quotes before on this site. So I simply noted in bold where I wished the block quote to start and end. That way the readers would at least know the text was a quote from Podhoretz’ book and that none of the text between those marks was mine – which I thought was useful. Apparently this site accepts blockquote cite=” “ but I don’t know how that works and I hesitate to post my experiments. I tried it once and an unintelligible mess resulted.

  80. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    put blockquote between > in the beginning and between /> in the end.
    (hope it comes clearly on)

  81. oao says:

    Foreign ministries can cause a lot of trouble just as those of some European countries are financing protests against the security fence and illegal building in East Jerusalem and environs.

    we were talking about doing GOOD for one’s country and
    that’s what I was responding to.

    of course liberman’s disappearance is NOT good. but
    it’s routine for that post, unless there’s a weak PM.
    the best israeli example is abba eban. he was visible and good at explaining israel, but no policy weight.

    foreign policy is usually decided by the pm, president.

  82. oao says:

    powell was another good example.

  83. JG Caesarea says:

    How many people commenting on Goldstone actually read the Goldstone “Fact Finding” Mission’s report? I couldn’t help but notice the following language:

    paragraph 9: “The Mission has enjoyed the support and cooperation of the Palestinian Authority and of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations. . . .”

    paragraph 150: “Finally, the Mission wishes to thank the people of Gaza for their warm welcome, their humanity and their hospitality in spite of such difficult and painful circumstances.”

    paragraph 438: “In its efforts to gain more direct information on the subject, during its investigations in Gaza and in interviews with victims and witnesses of incidents and other informed individuals, the Mission raised questions regarding the conduct of armed Palestinian groups during the hostilities in Gaza. The Mission notes that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of or conduct of hostilities by the armed Palestinian groups. Whatever the reasons for their reluctance, the Mission does not discount that the interviewees’ reluctance may have stemmed from a fear of reprisals.”

    paragraph 439: “The Mission also addressed questions regarding the tactics used by Palestinian armed groups to the Gaza authorities. They responded that they had nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with al-Qassam brigades or other armed groups and had no knowledge of their tactics. To gather first-hand information on the matter, the Mission requested a meeting with representatives of armed groups. However, the armed groups were not agreeable to such a meeting. The Mission, consequently, had little option but to rely upon indirect sources to a greater extent than for other parts of its investigation.”

    paragraph 496: “The Mission asked the Gaza authorities to provide information on the sites from where the Palestinian armed groups had launched attacks against Israel and against the Israeli armed forces in Gaza. The Mission similarly asked whether, to their knowledge, civilian buildings and mosques had been used to store weapons. In their response, the Gaza authorities stated that they had no information on the activities of the Palestinian armed groups or about the storage of weapons in mosques and civilian buildings. The Mission does not find this response to be entirely plausible.”

    In short, after observing the warmth and cooperation received from the Palestinians as opposed to the Israelis (Goldstone reportedly fell asleep while being screened a film showing Sderot children fleeing from rocket fire), Goldstone observes that in fact cooperation was not received from the Gaza authorities concerning what is most critical in his report, i.e. the locations, amid the Gazan civilian population, where and from which the Palestinians stored and fired rockets and Grad missiles. Given the lies of the Gaza authorities, Goldstone happily relied upon “indirect sources”, i.e. conjecture, to pillory Israel, as mandated by the UNHRC.

    Although unwilling to identify the civilian structures where Hamas stored its missiles, from which it fired its missiles, and which it booby-trapped, Goldstone nevertheless blithely condemns Israel for harming civilian targets.

    Acknowledging that Gaza authorities were not “entirely plausible” in their explanations and dubious of Hamas claims concerning the casualties they inflicted upon the Israeli army (paragraph 362, note 233), Goldstone nevertheless prefers their civilian casualty figures to those of the Israeli Defense Forces when it serves his purposes.

  84. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson, when you talk about State Dept anti-Americanism, you’re probably right. I have met some State Dept hacks who did speak like that. That is, they spoke like lefties, enemies of America. Of course, it’s policy to oppose Israel in the State Dept, despite all the talk about everlasting US-Israel friendship. You’ve probably listened to VOA in Spanish or Portuguese. I remember once that I was listening to VOA in Spanish talk about Israel. My wife came into the room and listened for a moment. She knows some Spanish too. She asked, “Are you listening to Radio Havana”?? She was right, since the jabber on the VOA about Israel sure sounded like what Radio Havana would say.

    The VOA is under the State Dept of course.

  85. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    Arafat spoke of blood and soil (and Allah) and that is more credible in broken English, even in pidgin.
    But whoever, like Israel, wants to talk about modern ethical armies and microchips has to do it in perfect English.

    Wouldn’t that be more akin to the usual “Double Standard”? As Yourish terms it IDST – Israel Double Standard Time.
    I think that those who demand “perfect spoken English” from an Israeli are not sincere in their desire to discuss a topic but that the integrity of their arguments is lacking a sound factual base.

    Of course juxtaposing someone, with perfect English, with an Israeli of foreign command of the language is just especially for comparison or contrast, and in front of an English speaking audience for ridicule.
    Whoever chose the Israeli to present the argument was an idiot.

  86. Cynic says:

    oao,
    Like Foggy Bottom interfering in the “Rules of Engagement” process.

    Madame Clinton likewise has no policy weight and just wags resonates to the frequency of others.

    Abba Eban was only there for the choir going by remarks of the “disinterested” at the time.

  87. Cynic says:

    By the way Goldstone balmes Israel for the outcome

    Who’s being unfair?

    The responses from the government of Israel to the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza have been deeply disappointing. The mission’s mandate enabled Israel to bring its concerns and facts relating to Operation Cast Lead publicly before a UN inquiry. It could have been used by Israel to encourage the UN and especially the Human Rights Council to move in a new direction beneficial to the interests of Israel. I repeatedly requested the government of Israel to do that, and to meet with me in Jerusalem to discuss how the Fact-Finding Mission should approach its mandate.
    …………………
    So it is hardly fair for Israel to accuse the mission of “getting its facts wrong.” In short, the benefits of an even-handed mandate from the Human Rights Council were squandered by Israel.

    This raises the questions whether the council would have listened to Israel, How he actually approached Israel that it allegedly did not co-operate or is this just an excuse?

  88. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    For Goldstone Israel is guilty. Whether by cooperation, or lack of it, or partial one, or this or that – seek and ye shall find. It’s the same approach as in the report: find anything that corroborates your thesis, never mind if it’s fact or fiction, never bother about contradicting data. Just hammer the nail.

    The interesting thing though, is that His Honour finds it most appropriate to attack in reply to what he perceives as attacks on his output. Is this exerting his Human Right (where’s it written)? Is this retaliation proportional (seems it’s a bit disproportionate) ? What, is he self-defending? On what grounds? Does he have a(n Intl.) mandate or authorisation to do it?
    Don’t you find his reaction excessive?

  89. Ray in Seattle says:

    The problem with the Goldstone Report is the same problem that lies behind all UN attempts to interject its weight into the Arab/Isreali conflict: It focuses on the conduct of war rather than the cause of war.

    War is a messy activity where innocent people often get hurt. That’s why it should be avoided. That way nobody gets hurt. Wars are started by acts of aggression that must be deterred and defended against. It’s really a simple concept.

    The firing of the first rocket from Gaza into S. Israel the days after the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza was a serious act of aggression, an act of war severely proscribed by Article 51 of the UN Charter.

    That was the moment of decision – a moment that the world (and Israel) chose to ignore – hoping it was just an “acting out” that would go away as the Gazans realized the enormity of their opportunity to better themselves.

    After all they were just shooting rockets at Jews and not killing many and I guess we should all expect that and not blame them too much. They can’t really help it and soon they’ll stop when they see it does not do them much good.

    . . was the view the world chose to use at the time. And so the rockets went from a bare trickle, a test of the world’s (and Israel’s) determination and will – to the sole major industry of Gaza, Hamas and the subsidiary militant groups – as anyone with the barest understanding of Arab mentality could have predicted.

    Goldstone’s report is only the icing on the cake of a grossly ignorant UN, US (and Israeli) policy – an opportunity that was lost and squandered and that led in very predictable steps, inexorably, to Goldstone’s report.

  90. [...] This is a fascinating account. No one reading it would know the following: [...]

  91. [...] senaste kompletta idiotin var Goldstone-rapporten som sa att ett land inte får försvara sig mot [...]

  92. Cynic says:

    #96

    The pingback link only gives:
    Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.

  93. [...] besonders die folgenden Beiträge überzeugt: von Jonathan Tobin von Max Boot von NGO-Monitor von Richard Landes, der eine weitere Untersuchung angekündigt hat von Jonathan [...]

  94. Richard Landes says:

    Here’s a series of comments at my Facebook page:

    Paul Halsall: I think you have lost it Richard, The UK faced “asymmetrical warfare for decades”, funded no less by Irish Catholics in the US. We did some bad things, but we did not drop phosphorus bombs on the Bogside.
    September 17 at 8:29pm · Delete

    Scott Jacobs: The Goldstone Report is not objective and is, in fact tainted by bias and politicization, both from the UN Human Rights Council and members of the mission itself.

    Israel respects human rights and has a sophisticated legal and judicial system. Hamas does not. Yet the report has created an unjust equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization.

    The report relied upon the contributions of anti-Israel non-governmental organizations and unreliable Palestinian “eyewitnesses.”… Read More
    September 17 at 10:03pm · Delete

    Brenda Brasher: I did not find Goldstone’s account (editorial page, NYT) ‘transparently misleading’–whatever that means. Socially organized and condoned violence is inherently problematic. Some in every army do bad things. It is endemic to the institution. Does each society hold their military institutions/personnel accountable? The record is uneven everywhere. I appreciated Goldstone’s critical distinction that Hamas praised those who inflicted non-military violence, while Israel did not, but its justice system could not be relied upon to address violations adequately. The latter makes Israel more like other countries than dislike, whereas Hamas clearly acts outside civilized norms.
    September 17 at 11:48pm · Delete

    Richard Landes: Brenda, sorry. I thought I gave a lot of good examples of why Goldstone’s op-ed was dishonest. if you didn’t follow the links, and don’t know the background then maybe it’s not obvious. (Indeed, that was my point — Goldstone was counting on the readers’ ignorance.)

    As for your comments about Israel’s lack of ability to address violations adequately, I’m fairly surprised. No country in the world has a more rigorous self-regulatory mechanism than the Israeli army, and the stunning difference btw Israel’s combatant to civilian casualty ratio in targeted bombing (almost 2:1 vs. 1:10/50 for the USA), illustrates just how self-disciplined the IDF is.

    Your comments about Israel being “more like other countries” is as wrong as your comment about Hamas outside of civilzed norms is right. But that gets back to Goldstone’s dishonesty. He pretends to even-handedness in the op-ed, while his report, systematically criticizes Israel and lets Hamas off the hook. They’re both travesties.

  95. [...] http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2009/09/17/fisking-goldstone-whats-happened-to-this-man/ Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)U.N. Panel Accuses Israel, Hamas of War Crimes in Gaza ConflictEhud Barak: U.N. Goldstone Report Supports TerrorismU.N. Meets on Israel War Crimes Report [...]

  96. The issue of Goldstone opens up again the issue of how Yugoslavia was destroyed and the Serbs vilified by the EU and US Governments. It also raises how the Jewish people of America either supported this destruction and the NATO war against Serbia or else kept totally quiet.

    I have covered this on the Trotskyist blog

    http://4international.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/1534/

    “Of especial importance are some reference Landes makes to the Hague Kangaroo Court that murdered Milosevic. This is perhaps the key issue about Goldstone. Anyway we will print the Landes fisking first, then later add more material from a revolutionary Trotskyist viewpoint. I think Richard could draw some lessons from Trotsky´s method of fighting in the Civil War.

    In the spirit of discussion we shall look closely at what Richard Landes has to say about this Goldman antisemitic report on the Gaza War.

    It is of importance that Goldstone is a Jew but remember he is a certain type of Jew, one who has been a cog in the Imperialist war machine for a very long time, a man who was at the centre of the destruction of Yugoslavia and the murder of President Slobodan Milosevic inside the cell of that very Hague Kangaroo Court run by the very same Goldstone.

    There was a very big struggle waged on Israpundit by myself and others over many years in which we said that first they came for Yugoslavia and the Serbs, then they will come for the Jews and Israel.

    We were opposed on this by Israpundit especially by editor Belman who could never make up his mind, but especially by Narvey, Levinson and above all by that traitor to the Jewish people calling himself “Yamit82″ (His true name is Nahum something) who Belman covers for.

    Yes it sure looks that in Goldstone the Serb issue has come back to haunt the Jews.

    Will the above named on Israpundit make any amends? No they will not. They are opportunists and essentially not principled and truthful people.

    It is time now for truth and principle inside the Israeli Jewish movement.”

  97. In Comment 28 a certain “Charles” writes among other things the following

    “You raise some good points. However, I must object with your conclusions. Goldstone has not lost his moral compass. In fact, it is in the right place.

    War is an ugly thing. Israel recognizes this. Hamas does not: it generally reveres war as glorious, divine, and enacted with “G_d’s” support.

    Israel should be investigated- so should Hamas, the US, Russia, China, etc. Goldstone is right to claim, “Absent credible local investigations, the international community has a role to play. If justice for civilian victims cannot be obtained through local authorities, then foreign governments must act.”

    [So the guy creates an equivalence between Jews and Hamas, as Kapos did between Nazis and Jews, but at leas they were under duress]

    He continues in his lying way:

    Without justice, the conflict lasts much longer. Israel often alienates those tacitly supporting it through over-reacting and then failing to amend errant ways. Many aerial bombings during the 2006 war made no sense to American analysts and extremely angered US Embassy personnel, to say nothing of Lebanese reactions.

    Unfortunately, for fear of bias (and myriad other reasons), Israel has avoided using international institutions. Only recently, regarding Lebanon (and with US support), has Israel begun seeing the UN as a potential ally.”

    What runs through this extract from “Charles” is the exact same thing which I mentioned in the post immediately above this.

    What are these “international institutions” which this guy refers to and has such faith in? Why it must be none other than the Hague Kangaroo Court which was responsible for the murder in his cell of President Slobadan Milosevic of Yugoslavia (then) and of Serbia.

    So this fellow Charles affirms exactly what I referred to.

    The Jewish leaders in general in America and also in Europe were right behind the destruction of Yugoslavia and the hounding of the Serbs even to the extent of the murder of their President.

    In other words they had become the dutiful and abject servants of the US and EU Imperialist system and with that the direct support for Islam in the shape of the notorious antisemite Izetbegovic who had a direct role in the Holocaust of the Jews, Serbs and Romany in the Balkans.

    There are those Serb haters like Oliver Kamm of The Times who denied this about Izetbegovic but consider this. During the Balkan Holocaust Izetbegovic was jointly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Balkan arena of death with none other than Hajj Amin el Husseini.

    And it was this associate of Hajj Amin el Husseini, certainly the equal of Himmler and Eichmann and I think also of Hitler in the Holocaust, whom the US and EU with NATO ran to aid against the Serbs.

    Goldstone was at the centre of this. Goldstone is a Jew, even a Jew connected with a Hebrew University, who was central to this.

    So are people like “Charles”.

    What to do with people like Charles I wonder. Does anybody here accept that Israel is now involved in a war against enemies of the most serious nature, one in which its existence will be determined?

    In this context remember that in 1942 Walther Rauff, the Nazi who invented the gas wagons, was standing by with his team of killers ready to enter Palestine, link with the Arab antisemites, and carry out the Holocaust of all the Jews there.

    I think it is unwise to allow Charles to roam around in freedom putting out his vile anti Israel rhetoric.

    Why not clap Charles and his like in a gaol, give him some vital reading material and see if he can think straight and as a Jew. And if he does not find the resources to do that then keep him there. This is very regrettable but we must draw on the historical lessons here and all past events of antisemitism has involved very great killing of the Jews.

    I think the issues are as serious as that. Better Charles and his ilk in prison than another Holocaust. Or is my logic faulty!

  98. Eliyahu

    Your post 70 gets to the heart of the issue in my opinion and in it you show an enormous ignorance of history and show even enormous bias, always a very bad thing for truth

    You wrote

    “anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools. That applies to those old Jewish Communists that you are talking about. They are really fools or madmen. That’s what Commie ideology did to some people. Commie anti-imperialism was fake anyhow. The Bolsheviks came to power with the aid of the German Empire [Zweiten Reich]. The USSR continued to rule most of the non-ethnically Russian territories of the old Tsarist empire. They expanded their empire in the Nazi-Soviet pact and then again after WW2.

    Anti-Zionism today stiil often, but not always, makes an anti-imperialist pretense.

    etc etc

    It is very hard to make any sense of this but it seems to have as content the very worst form of lies about history.

    You fall into the trap of seeing Karl Marx as an antisemite, that is not stated but I think it is there, or anyway people like you usually bring it up.

    In fact he was not and his most quoted work was written as a defence of Jews and their rights to be full members of Prussian society and to have full rights to practice their religion Judaism. Written in defence of the Jews rights and against the antisemite Bruno Bauer I think.

    But the main body of your comment is contained in your attack on the Russian Revolution. It is a cowardly, stupid and false statement that you make that the German bourgeoisie backed the Bolsheviks and made the revolution possible. And that was it. You perhaps know NOTHING about the actual history of Russia from 1905 to 1917.

    Then you refer to these “communists” who are anti Zionists.

    If they were members of a Communist Party does that not mean that they were Stalinist supporters.

    If you want to have the truth on this site why do you confuse people by not making a distinction between the policies of Lenin and Trotsky on the one hand and Stalin on the other.

    How can anybody provide a leadership to the Jews or any nation in struggle without clear attention to historical truth?

    If you want to really tackle Goldstone then you have to be totally truthful. You are not.

  99. Richard

    I am struck by the crass arrogance of this person Brenda brasher and truth to tell I am in some disagreement with your answer to her. I disagree because in the end it is not a matter of dealing intellectual blows against Goldstone but finding a way in practice to win this actual material war. This Goldstone story is related to El Durra France 2 is related to the future war and strike against Iran. People like Goldstone are quaking in their boots at what is to come from the Jews and Israel and that to me is just great.

    She writes on your Facebook

    Brenda Brasher: I did not find Goldstone’s account (editorial page, NYT) ‘transparently misleading’–whatever that means. Socially organized and condoned violence is inherently problematic. Some in every army do bad things. It is endemic to the institution. Does each society hold their military institutions/personnel accountable?

    Perhaps Brasher cannot even read. Goldstone is a liar as you proved over the issue of the terms that he was given by the UN, and which even the Israel hating (with every bone in her body) Robinson refused. Goldstone lies on this. Brasher is either an idiot or a liar herself.

    Brasher says “some in every army do bad things”

    Brasher is one of these truly hateful beings who look down on the rest of the human race with their terrible habits of going to war.

    What Brasher is attacking here is not bad eggs, but the very idea of war itself.

    But unfortunately we live in capitalist and imperialist society, in a world in which Islam is trying to destroy the Jewish presence in its midst and since it (contemporary Islam) is modelled on Nazism (and according to John Bostom the other way around too) the Jewish presence period.

    And so on.

    This is the real world in which we live. Any sane person regrets the idea of war but also sanity means that we have to accept that there is no other road for us to take.

    The classic example being the issue of the Iran bomb. If Israel does not act Israel is surely finished as an independent state.

    We know that sanctions will not work, they will only give more time to Islam.

    THERE IS A STRONG CHANCE THAT OBAMA WILL ORDER THE US AIR FORCE TO TRY TO SHOOT DOWN ISRAELI PLANES

    Brasher is a British name, there was once Chris Brasher a great British athlete. I wonder is Brasher here a Methodist, or perhaps a Quaker.

    Richard I strongly advise all to have another look at the Red Army and the writings on the issue of war by Trotsky (myself included)

    The issue of morality in war. The only morality is to defeat the enemy.

    This is what Oliver Cromwell did in beheading Charles. It is what Truman did in dropping the H Bomb.

    It is also the position taken by the great English leader in the American Revolution Tom Paine

    There is only one morality in war, that is to win it and to minimise the casualties of your own people and fighting forces.

    I have no quotes by Trotsky, it is some time since I read there, but I remember it is filled with this issue of morality.

    I very much grieve for those Israeli youth who needlessly lost their lives in Jenin. A date should have been set, a way out provided and this publicised widely, then that rabid nest hole of Islamic suicide killers should have been levelled.

    Brasher your form of snivelling morality keep it for your Quakerist pulpit!

  100. [...] to Sri Lanka in this paragraph, there’s no acknowledgment that the charges against Israel were inflated if not inaccurate, even though the charges came from the same groups that still protect [...]

  101. [...] to Sri Lanka in this paragraph, there's no acknowledgment that the charges against Israel were inflated if not inaccurate, even though the charges came from the same groups that still protect [...]

  102. [...] to Sri Lanka in this paragraph, there's no acknowledgment that the charges against Israel were inflated if not inaccurate, even though the charges came from the same groups that still protect [...]

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