My letter to European Leaders on Goldstone

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Fredrik Reinfel – Swedish EU Chair
French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Your Excellency:

I understand you have yet to decide on how to vote on the upcoming resolution on the Goldstone Report. I am a medieval historian, unwillingly drawn into this maelstrom of madness that has seized the world community about Israel (painful parallels with incidents from the Middle Ages and modern times). Since I have put up a website with a detailed critique of the Report — — I won’t bore you with details. Suffice to say, we’ve found Kafka’s judge.

This charade at the UN, where countries who couldn’t bear a tiny fraction of the scrutiny brought to bear on Israel, mobilize votes to pillory her, will be part of the chronicles of the moral failure of the West in the works of future generations of historians. I know there are “realpolitik” reasons to abstain or even vote for the resolution. But even those are merely short-term advantages and long-term disasters for any country that wants to defend itself against medieval holy warriors. Think of how history will view you.

I urge your government to support peace by voting No to this shameful and (self-) destructive resolution.

Professor Richard Landes, Boston University

Go here to send your own missive.

16 Responses to My letter to European Leaders on Goldstone

  1. […] Augean Stables:  “What’s going on in Goldstone’s head?”/ “My letter to European Leaders on Goldstone“ […]

  2. Diane says:

    I have a naive question: Why is everyone suddenly so concerned about the UN adopting the Goldstone Report? Aren’t these sorts of Israel-trashing reports the norm at the UN? What is different this time?

    At Commentary today, Jennifer Rubin quotes Rep. Mark Kirk advocating for the U.S’s withdrawal from the UNHRC and the end of our funding/legitimizing of this travesty.

    Again, does the Goldstone Report really matter? Let’s say the US doesn’t veto it at the Security Council. Let’s also say that it goes to the ICC and Israeli soldiers are indicted. Again, does any of this make any difference in Israel’s status at the UN. Does it bring on boycotts or sanctions? What “teeth” does the report really have, other than more UN-sponsored smearing material (same old, same old, yawn)?

  3. E.G. says:


    How about Nurenberg trials for Barak, Olmert, Livni &Co. on account of genocide and Crimes against Humanity?
    Another yawn?

  4. Diane says:

    E.G., I wasn’t being facetious. I genuinely don’t know why the Goldstone Report is more of a threat to Israel’s legitimacy than, say, the report on war crimes after the second Lebanon War, or the one after the Jenin “massacre”, or the one after the Al Durah blood libel … or the six other condemnations issued by the UNHRC since its creation a few years ago.

    Why could these UN attacks not have led to a Nuremberg trial for Israeli leaders? My understanding is that the ICC has no power over countries that are not signatories (US and Israel are not, I believe). Even for signatories, it doesn’t seem to have much heft. Look at how Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his Arab League chums thumb their collective noses at the ICC. (I know, Israel hasn’t got the luxury of a dozen scoff-law allies watching its back.) Still, the question remains: why is Goldstone potentially more damaging that all the other UN resolutions, condemnations, reports, etc. that came before? What has changed?

  5. Diane says:

    Is it because Gaza was so unambiguously a war of self-defense? Lebanon seemed unambiguous too — Israel had withdrawn completely, Hizbullah (a non-state actor and a branded terrorist org.) was clearly engaging in acts of war by snatching Israeli soldiers and firing missiles into Northern Israel, and still, Israel was unilaterally blamed as the aggressor.

    Wasn’t Sharon threatened with war crimes charges years ago? And Shamir. Nothing came of it, as I recall. So what has changed?

  6. E.G. says:


    The previous resolutions condemned the consequences and put the responsibility/blame on Israel. This report also condemns the means.
    Read: Save for running for shelter (or sitting ducks) Israel has no legitimate way to act when it’s attacked.

  7. oao says:

    i cannot believe that there are people who truly don’t understand why the the whole report shabang is a very serious development.

    god save us all, and I am an atheist.

  8. Diane says:

    “The previous resolutions condemned the consequences and put the responsibility/blame on Israel. This report also condemns the means.”

    Yes, I understand that. But that is an obstacle to all terror-fighting — and the EU and US have as much (if not more) to lose in that arena than does little, self-defending Israel.

    To me, the sheer stupidity of the Goldstone conclusions — an assault of the very concept of defensive warfare — renders it meaningless, unenforceable, inapplicable to the real world. (And frankly, if doves like Livni or Olmert were charged with war crimes, that would be doubly absurd. The whole thing feels to me like 1) an embarrassment that the UN will need to bury, or 2) the prelude to an unraveling of the UNHRC and a rethinking of the UN’s role as arbiter of international guilt.

    BYW, oao, I really don’t care what you think of me or of anything else, so spare me your eye-rolling. I’m addressing E.G. and RL, not you.

  9. oao says:

    i was not addressing myself to you either. that would be useless.

  10. E.G. says:


    It does feel like an absurd script (not sure even a Ionesco could come up with a similar scenario). But this is today’s reality. Yes, the US and the EU (and some other countries) shoot themselves in the feet when shooting Israel (how’s that for collateral damage?). And refuse to understand they’re doing it even when given ample explanations.
    Your common sense is not so common.

  11. E.G. says:


    For your feeling to be shared and the measures you advise to be taken, some catastrophe needs to happen: like the post WWI creation of the League of Nations, its post WWII sequel UN, the Geneva conventions, etc. I’m not sure that the disappearance of Israel will be perceived as catastrophic enough, though.

  12. Diane says:

    “Save for running for shelter (or sitting ducks) Israel has no legitimate way to act when it’s attacked.”

    It’s a reductio ad absurdam. Israel cannot be expected to cut its own throat. If the international community gives Israel no option but suicide, the international community has thrown away whatever influence it had with Israel.

    Ergo, by relegating Israel to the rank of rogue state, the UN actually empowers Israel — the way it empowers bad-actors like Iran, Syria, Burma and North Korea. In the upside down politics of Obamatopia, rogues are to be coddled and endlessly courted. Israel might actually get some respect for a change.

  13. E.G. says:


    The message to Israel is “morally you’re not defensible, and have no excuse to aggress anyone, in particular those you, and only you, consider are threatening your existence”.

    If Israel only develops some hi-tech envelope/shield blocking bombs and missiles (i.e., a sheltering, passive defence system), I can easily foresee reports on the health problems that such a system creates around it (but curiously not inside it – or maybe just for its non-Jewish population) abound.

  14. Cynic says:

    I genuinely don’t know why the Goldstone Report is more of a threat to Israel’s legitimacy than, say,

    because it brings us all closer to the stage when Israel, and ipso facto the Jews, are declared illegitimate and to be removed; this time with World approval.

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