Category Archives: Goldstone Report

Lethal Journalism, Middle East Style

The practice of lethal journalism participates in the larger category of passing off war propaganda as news. It has a long history, and a long future. Lethal journalists take the stories that belligerents create to demonize the enemy – especially the accusation of deliberately killing innocent civilians even children – and presenting them as news.

In the annals of the long history of running war propaganda as news, rarely if ever, have journalists consistently over an extended period of time, passed off enemy war propaganda as news. And yet that behavior, a kind of “own-goal journalism” marks the dominant school of journalism during the period of the opening years of the 21st century. And although it eventually spread far beyond the Middle East, that lethal reporting began and took shape in covering the conflict between Israel and her neighbors.

This peculiar combination of base war propaganda persistently repeated as news by a target of that propaganda – I’d like to call DuraJournalismBut throughout this essay, when I use the more generic “lethal journalism” I make reference to this eccentric Levantine phenomenon.

Identifying and redressing this problem seems like a high value goal, especially in the cause of strengthening a free (hence accurate) news media at a critical moment in the history of those modern nations, “so conceived and so dedicated.”

The key to this journalism is the delivery as news of an implicit (preferably explicit) accusation of deliberate killing – murdering children,targeting  civilians, or, in the words of the Goldstone Report, deliberately “punishing” civilians with “disproportionate” response, possibly constituting “crimes against humanity.” Lethal narratives constitute the basest form of war propaganda, especially when the stories are largely invented. It seeks to arouse hatred and a desire for revenge by convincing the target audience (recruits, observers), that the designated enemy deserves the violence you wish to visit on him.

The term “lethal journalism” designates the practice of those journalists who take a systematically credulous stance towards Arab lethal narratives about Israel, which they then pass on to us, their readers and listeners, as “news,” or at least, as perfectly believable claims about what has happened. Maintaining such a discourse necessitates playing fast and loose with evidence, ignoring and dismissing anomalous details, playing up dubious ones. It leaves a distinct Augean trail where it passes.

Since all wars have their lethal narratives, and all war-makers want to enlist journalists in spreading theirs, examples of lethal journalism can be found throughout the history of the press in war. Indeed, it’s an obvious need for democracies founded on peaceful relations, to have a press that can accurately identify false evidence, especially in the service of lethal narratives, and report on that war propaganda, rather than become an instrument of that propaganda. The fact that Western media have done so badly for over fifteen years, suggests the extent of the media’s “credibility crisis.” The most trusted news source – Fox! – 29%. Democracies cannot survive such dysfunctional relations between the news media and their public.

Goldstone recants… sort of.

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Melanie Phillips: Richard Goldstone recants. What price the Israel witch-hunt now?

By his own admission, the man stands revealed as at best an abject idiot and at worst a moral and judicial bankrupt. His report blackened Israel’s name for defending itself against existential attack; encouraged its attackers to ratchet up their onslaught safe in the knowledge that the international community now had official confirmation that Israel was morally beyond the pale; put Israeli civilians, along with Israel’s very survival, at increased risk by helping delegitimise Israel as a global pariah; and fuelled the pressure on Israel not to defend its civilians by military means against the attacks which have relentlessly increased in audacity and scope.

Regardless of its manifest moral and intellectual inadequacies, however, his recantation carries inescapable consequences. All those who have used Goldstone’s report as a basis for their own delegitimisation of Israel now also stand revealed as having endorsed one of the worst officially sanctioned international falsehoods in history. All their attacks on Israel which relied upon Goldstone’s report are now shown to be equally baseless and discredited. Any future such attacks which use this report as an authority will be demonstrably false and malicious. The UN should now declare the Goldstone report null and void. Any less will make it knowingly and demonstrably party to a travesty of justice.

But of course, like all previous blood libels against the Jews, the poison this one has injected into the global bloodstream has no antidote. The damage is done – and no amount of self-serving recantations by Richard Goldstone will undo the terrible harm he has done.

CAMERA: But Why Didn’t Goldstone Know Then What He Knew Then?

While that’s a dramatic and notable admission, the question remains: Why didn’t he know then what was known then?

Ron Radosh: Judge Richard Goldstone’s Stunning Re-evaluation of His Own Report

So whatever Judge Goldstone’s current obfuscations, and his intent to pass off his report’s failures as the fault of Israel’s non-cooperation rather than his own weaknesses and lack of impartiality, his current re-evaluation is more than welcome. Despite its limitations, Goldstone’s article today helps minimize the damage attempted by those like Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner and Philip Weiss — the left-wing enemies of Israel who compiled the volume that Berkowitz reviews.

David Bernstein: Richard Goldstone: Chief Kangaroo

Goldstone apparently is starting to regret his role in the whole fiasco, and it’s certainly amusing to read various anti-Israel blogs that formerly lauded Goldstone as a hero for speaking truth to power now worrying about the “damage” he is doing to their cause. The key lines in his op-ed: while “the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional,” “civilians were not intentionally targeted [by Israel] as a matter of policy.”

But Goldstone agreed to lead a kangaroo court appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which includes such human rights stalwarts as China, Cuba, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Penance is always welcome, but Goldstone will go down in history as the head kangaroo.

Jeff Goldberg: Judge Richard Goldstone: ‘Never Mind’

It is not clear, reading Goldstone’s mea culpa in The Washington Post, that he fully understands the consequences of his work … Well, I’m glad he’s cleared that up. Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.

Roger Simon: Will Goldstone’s semi-apology be a wake up call?

Late and weak as Richard Goldstone’s apology for his execrable report on the Gaza war in today’s Washington Post may be, the fallout should be interesting. Ron Radosh here on PJ has much to say, but I hope this is only the beginning. The amount of public lying about the Arab-Irsaeili conflict that has been countenanced in our society is reprehensible beyond words. It has infected our public universities to an extraordinary degree, not to mention our media and even the Jewish community, a significant portion of which suffers from their own version of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Ya, basta! Time for everyone to wake up!

DAVID HOROVITZ: Goldstone the belated penitent

By alleging, unfoundedly, that we were an immoral enemy, the sanctimonious judge put all of our lives at greater risk.

Michael J. Totten: Quote of he Day

Richard Goldstone repudiates his own report … Those of us who have been covering the Israeli military without an axe to grind knew this from the very beginning, but it’s better he figured this out belatedly than not at all.

Ed Lasky: Richard Goldstone’s Mea Culpa

Sadly, it may be too little and too late … Or perhaps, the blowback to him personally led him to backtrack from his conclusions. After the release of the Goldstone Report his history as a “hanging judge” in apartheid  South Africa came to light. Some drew the conclusion that Goldstone, far from taking to heart that the role of the judiciary is to be judicious, seems to approach with alacrity the goal of pleasing his superiors — be they South African leaders or anti-Israel UN apparatchicks. Will the conspiracy-minded Middle East just chalk up his op-ed to the machinations of the all-powerful Jews? Probably.

RL: And Charles Enderlin? What’s up with you?

Goldstone Again: What to make of the Israeli Response

It’s time to take up Goldstone again. The Israelis have released the results of their investigation in four parts, and at some point in the not too distant future, they’ll release their final findings.

The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects (July 2009)
Gaza Operation Investigations: Update (Jan 2010)
ITIC: Hamas and the Terror Threat from the Gaza Strip (March 2010)
Gaza Operation Investigations: Second Update (July 2010)

I am preparing with others a systematic study comparing Goldstone’s findings with those of the Israeli army. I’ll post up each significant incident in turn.

Right now, I want to suggest reading two pieces, one pro, one contra Goldstone. Comments welcome.

Elder of Ziyon, Goldstone: Asymmetric Legal Warfare

Yaniv Reich, New Israeli report on Operation Cast Lead confirms Goldstone report’s main findings

From Useful Idiot to Useful Infidel: Meditations on the Folly of 21st Century “Intellectuals”

[The following is a transcript of a talk I gave at a conference on Intellectuals and Terror, a month ago. I held back publishing it because I wanted to give some good examples. The Flotilla offers precisely that “in spades.” I will add links later on.]

The article with footnotes has now been published by

Terrorism and Political Violence Volume 25Issue 4, 2013

Special Issue: The Intellectuals and Terror: A Fatal Attraction

Lenin allegedly referred to Western intellectuals who so supported the communist experiment that they disguised its horrors from the West as “useful idiots,” because their idiotic romantic attachment to communist dreams made them highly useful allies in deceiving the West and preventing it from opposing the Soviet Union when it was still vulnerable.

Today observers use the term to describe liberal intellectuals who enjoy freedom and prosperity, yet undermine both by giving moral and material support to revolutionary movements hostile to such bourgeois values. But that’s actually a mild accusation against useful idiocy. By covering up the engineered famines in Ukraine and in China, by dismissing evidence of the Gulag Archipelago or the Cambodian killing fields, all of which killed tens, even hundreds of millions of people, useful idiots have been responsible for aiding and abetting the terrifying death machines.

Given that history itself revealed that they had been dupes of the most staggering sort, even such brilliant ones as George Bernard Shaw and Jean-Paul Sartre lost their credibility. One would think, therefore, that with the lessons of the last century still fresh in our minds, these memories would immunize us to the appeal of useful idiocy in the late 20th, early 21st century.

A fortiori, one would expect the wisdom so painfully gained in the course of the 20th to insulate the West from serving as useful idiots to a revolutionary movement with none of the idealistic appeal of communism, but rather with a record of regressive, gynophobic, authoritarian, and nihilistic traits that virtually guarantee that any success such a movement might have would be a catastrophe for those so unfortunate to have these revolutionaries “liberate” them.

So why would a late 20th century progressive sympathize with, support, run interference, even lie and deceive, for a movement that manifested all the worst traits of totalitarian megadeath from the 20th century – the cult of death, the embrace of nihilism, paranoia, and genocidal hate-mongering? At least the fellow travelers of the early and mid-20th century had a noble ideal for which they carried out their campaigns of misinformation. But now, we have intellectuals from a wide range of fields running interference for Islam, even in its most regressive forms.

And of course, at this asymmetrical stage in the war that Global Jihad wages against the West, nothing is more critical to the capacity of Jihad to mobilize – to recruit, indoctrinate, train, and deploy – its forces than a cognitive victory in which its targets in the West are kept in the dark about its real intentions. And given the yeoman job that apologists like John Esposito, Noah Feldman and Juan Cole perform in this sense, I think it worthwhile to use the expression “useful infidel” for this new breed of fellow travelers. Nothing is more useful to Jihadi ambitions to subject the entire world to Sharia than non-Muslim intellectuals who insist that Islam is a religion of peace that is perfectly consonant with democracy, and that the terrorists represent a tiny, marginal, deviation from true Islam.

I want to argue that this astonishing paradox – Islamic Jihad is the last thing one would expect reasonable, progressive intellectuals to support – strips away the pretence of naïve good intentions that the older “useful idiot” used to plead. Once we confront the “irrationality” of useful infidelity, and realize the urgency of trying to understand a phenomenon that pushes us in the direction of cultural, even civilizational suicide, we must confront the underlying (self-destructive) emotions.

Demopaths and their Dupes

It seems to me that the phenomenon of useful idiocy revolves around a particularly dysfunctional relationship, that between demopath and dupe. Demopaths arise in response to democratic cultures, which they target in a cognitive war suited only to assaults on such societies, that is, ones that embrace principles of a human right to freedom. They themselves embrace authoritarian principles of dominion by force, what Lee Smith has chronicled so chillingly in his latest book, The Strong Horse. Their line of attack: “you (democratic target) do not live up to your commitments; and in particular, you violate our (demopathic belligerent) rights in preventing us from participating in your democracy.”

Peacock Rhinos: On the nature of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros in the early 21st century

In a recent comment on a Goldstone post, Eliyahu made the following comparison:

Eugene Ionesco’s play, The Rhinoceros, has a lot of insights relevant to the “peace camp” and to people starring in the field of “international human rights advocacy” and “peace” advocacy. I think the term rhinoceros or qarnaf [קרנף] in Hebrew fits richard richard goldstone rather well. He’s a rhino in Ionesco’s sense. He is morally insensitive. He is an opportunist. He is devoid of scruples in his field of endeavor. He serves as his master’s voice. He has masters as he indicated by saying that he really didn’t want to take on the assignment. But he is part of a movement and/or a gang and cannot refuse, no more than a mafioso can refuse an assignment. He is expected to comply. His field of endeavor, his assigned task, is to pose as a highly moral man while acting immorally. He puts on the pose of a man of conscience, of a serious man. But he is shallow. He has a weak conscience.

Ionesco’s play referred to what happened in Vichy France as normal, relatively decent people became corrupted by favors, by receiving positions giving them power over other people, by the opportunity to bully others, etc. These people became like the thick-skinned, supposedly insensitive rhino in Ionesco’s metaphor. Unfortunately, the rhino metaphor can describe what is happening throughout the world, including the civilized world.

I ran this by my friend and associate (who considers himself extreme left), and his response was interesting. Many of Ionesco’s rhinos knew they were unprincipled. They openly sided with power and, as Eliyahu points out, were devoid of scruples. Goldstone, he argued, is full of fine thoughts, a beautiful soul who thinks much of himself. He struts on the stage as a moral voice. He’s a peacock.

But, I objected, beneath this veneer lies the heart (and hide) of a rhino. He is thick skinned in the sense that nothing can penetrate to even give him pause. (it is interesting that self-criticism is just not part of his repertoire. He’s admitted no mistakes, even as he expect – no, demands – that Israel bear its breast in public.)

He has his ideas, some public – the importance of the ICC and the human rights movement – and some private – Israel should be held to a higher standard – and it really doesn’t matter to him whether they contradict each other, whether the way he proceeds will work, or destroy his work. As long as that chorus keeps singing his praises, he’s not going to give an inch. The peacock feathers are the cloak of high moral-mindedness that Goldstone and so many others – including journalists – adopt, even as they pursue a rhino’s goals.

The reports coming from the “human rights community” in which at both HRW and AI, dissent is systematically throttled, suggests that this is a breeding ground of peacock rhinos.

UPDATE: William Briggs summarizes Thomas Sowell’s latest book, Intellectuals and Society, which describes the Peacock-rhino (or, as E.G. would have it, the Rhino-cock), with a quote from T.S. Eliot:

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it; or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

Read the rest: it will sound painfully familiar.

(Another) Open Letter to Judge Goldstone

The following appears (in an earlier draft) in the Jerusalem Post. This version contains links, and an added paragraph on incitement (HT/Elihu Richter).

Dear Judge Goldstone,

I am one of those who have read your report, and have followed your subsequent comments about it. I just read your most recent statements in the Jerusalem Post and Ha-Aretz (for those who can’t read Hebrew, consult the CAMERA’s discussion). Once again you repeat, unchanged, two prominent claims:
1) If only Israeli had cooperated, things might have been different; and
2) No substantive criticism has arisen to challenge your findings.

Now your first claim is a counter-factual, hence speculative. But even then, it’s misleading. While Israel didn’t cooperate officially, through various channels (Israeli NGOs, Daniel Reizner, the former head of the International Law department at the IDF), Israel submitted extensive evidence to your committee. You not only ignored these submissions, but to this day refuse to put them up at the UNHRC website devoted to your Mission.

Your second claim, however, is more concrete; and here the evidence against your is formidable. There is an extensive and substantive critique of your Report. In fact most close readers – even neutral ones – find the Report surprisingly unprofessional and stunningly credulous in its handling of evidence. These critiques are available online (collected at a handy website), and your denial that they have any substance contradicts your second claim categorically. Why would it have made any difference if Israel had participated in the Mission’s work, since you have and continue to ignore any evidence that contradicts your findings against them? Are you really saying, it’s too bad Israel didn’t participate because then the findings would be still more damning?

Dershowitz on the Latest Revelations about Goldstone

Alan Dershowitz has a piece up at the Hudson Institute about the recent revelation that Goldstone had a nasty record as judge in South Africa during apartheid. The original revleations to which Dershowitz refers to are here (full report in Hebrew) and here (summary in English), and Goldstone’s defense his here.

Legitimating Bigotry: The Legacy of Richard Goldstone
May 7, 2010 1:58 PM
by Alan M. Dershowitz

Richard Goldstone, author of the notorious Goldstone report, did not become a South African judge in the post-Apartheid Mandela Era, as The New York Times and other media have erroneously reported. He accepted a judgeship during the worst days of Apartheid and helped legitimate one of the most racist regimes in the world by granting the imprimatur of the rule of law to some of the most undemocratic and discriminatory decrees.

Goldstone was–quite literally–a hanging judge. He imposed and affirmed death sentences for more than two dozen blacks under circumstances where whites would almost certainly have escaped the noose. And he affirmed sentences of physical torture–euphemistically called “flogging”– for other blacks. He also enforced miscegenation and other racist laws with nary a word of criticism or dissent. He was an important part of the machinery of death, torture and racial subjugation that characterized Apartheid South Africa. His robe and gavel lent an air of legitimacy to an entirely illegitimate and barbaric regime.

The Coke-Lite of International Law: Goldstone Speaks at Yale

Judge Richard Goldstone spoke yesterday at Yale in the framework of the George Herbert Walker Bush Jr. Lecture in International Relations. Obviously a most prestigious platform for someone of stature, but inappropriate for a figure who is not only highly controversial, but has done much to marginalize himself, as Noah Pollak and Adam Yoffie pointed out the previous day in the Yale Daily.

The talk did not directly address the “Gaza Fact-finding Mission Report” as Goldstone referred to it, but it did tackle the subject of “Accountability for War Crimes,” and Goldstone brought in Israel on occasion as an example of the issues he raised.

Perhaps the single most striking feature of the talk was its staggering superficiality. Goldstone might have a reputation (at least among those familiar with his report) for being biased, but not for being a lightweight. And yet in the less than forty minutes of his formal lecture, at no point did one get the impression that one was listening to a trained legal mind, much less a brilliant one. Most of the lecture could have been written by an undergraduate who combined entries at Wikipedia on International Law, Nuremberg Trials, Geneva Convention, and Rome Treaty, with a warmed over version of “war is not the answer,” and “why can’t we all just get along and follow the law?”

In the world of academia, where presumably we have high standards, such a mediocre performance – especially when widely praised – attests to a distinct deterioration in academic discourse. That people, like Phillip Weiss (below), can find Goldstone’s presentation “brilliant” and “wise” suggests that we are (once again) in an age of misapplied superlatives, grade inflation, and partisan judgments.

Goldstone’s initial discussion sounded quite reasonable: in order for “universal jurisdiction” to work in a court like the ICC, they have to deal specifically with “grave breaches.” The court has to have credibility, it must be trusted for its fairness, in order for it to work. And in order to gain that kind of credibility, it needs to focus on deeds that are “so shocking to the minds of people that they constitute crimes against humanity.” Proportionality is a matter of judgment, and in such cases, great leeway is given to commanders in the “fog of war” in making such judgments.

So far so good, although I confess I couldn’t figure out from these remarks why he ever took on the Gaza Mission. Could that letter to the Times from Amnesty International signed by three of the four future members of the Gaza Mission, including Goldstone, be a clue? After all, the signatories had expressed how the recent events (not the previous eight years of suicide bombings and rockets aimed at civilians), “have shocked us to the core.” Nothing similar appeared from these signatories at the death of some 20,000 civilians in Sri Lanka only months later, nothing about the millions in Congo. But the Israeli attacks on Gaza, in which, even by the most hostile Palestinian counts, fewer than a thousand civilians were killed, that “shocks to the core.”

I kept thinking to myself, “how could he, with these principles and concerns in mind, have accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity”?

That impression was further confirmed when he began his most “interesting” discussion, of the principle of “equality.” Initially, the discussion seemed to reinforce my puzzlement. Equality relates intimately to human dignity: [below is a paraphrase taken from notes, the lecture will be available online in about a week]

…if some are given greater rights, the greater the inequality the greater the indignity… Most if all human rights violations are the product of such indignities… Without dehumanization people don’t commit crimes against humanity; the people who engage in genocide have already dehumanized their targets.

Isn’t this precisely what Elihu Richter and Maurice Ostroff had warned Goldstone about in their memos about the way Hamas operates. How could the man who says this have gone to Gaza and come out without a word about the industry of hatred and dehumanization that rules the public sphere there? Worse yet, how could this man say these things when his own report had allowed and highlighted a Palestinian “witness” accusing Israel of this execrable practice.

“Much worse than most of its detractors (and supporters) believe”: Dershowitz on Goldstone

Alan Dershowitz has written a 45-page article dissecting the Goldstone report’s “evidentiary bias,” which he is submitting it as evidence to the Secretary General of the UN. It’s now up at Understanding the Goldstone Report:

Alan Dershowitz, THE CASE AGAINST THE GOLDSTONE REPORT: A STUDY IN EVIDENTIARY BIAS

THE CASE AGAINST THE GOLDSTONE REPORT: A STUDY IN EVIDENTIARY BIAS
BY ALAN DERSHOWITZ

I. INTRODUCTION

The Goldstone Report, when read in full and in context, is much worse than most of its detractors (and supporters) believe. It is far more accusatory of Israel, far less balanced in its criticism of Hamas, far less honest in its evaluation of the evidence, far less responsible in drawing its conclusion, far more biased against Israeli than Palestinian witnesses, and far more willing to draw adverse inferences of intentionality from Israeli conduct and statements than from comparable Palestinian conduct and statements. It is worse than any report previously prepared by any other United Nations agency or human rights group. As Major General Avichai Mandelblit, the advocate general of the Israeli Defense Forces, aptly put it:

    “I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League. We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional: It’s a vicious lie.”

The Goldstone report is, to any fair reader, a shoddy piece of work, unworthy of serious consideration by people of good will, committed to the truth.

Most of the criticism and praise of the report has been based on its highly publicized and controversial conclusions, rather than on its methodology, analysis and substantive findings. The one statement Richard Goldstone has made, with which I agree, is that many of the report’s most strident critics have probably not read the entire report. But it is also true, though I have not heard the report’s biased author say this, that many of the report’s most vocal defenders and advocates have also not read it.

It is not surprising that so few of the report’s critics and supporters have actually made their way through its dense and repetitive texts. The version I originally read was 553 pages long plus appendices. There are 1223 footnotes, though many of its most critical statements are not well sourced. It is poorly written, obviously drafted by several different hands and without the benefit of a good overall editor. It is laden with internal inconsistencies, shoddy citations of authority, and overall poor craftsmanship. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, this report lacks even the grace of a dromedary. Most of the commentary on the report, both pro and con, seems to be based on its somewhat sanitized summary and conclusion. Some of the worst mistakes are buried very deep in the report, many of the most serious ones toward the end.

Efforts are currently underway by supporters of the report to have governments, prosecutors, non-governmental organizations, religious groups and distinguished individuals sign on to the report, so as to give it the credibility it now lacks. No one should do so without reading the report in full—and without reading responsible criticisms (and defenses) of the report. I have read every word of the report and compared different sections. I have offered to debate Goldstone about its contents. He has refused, as he has generally refused to respond substantively to credible critics of the report. My offer to debate still stands. If he refuses, as I expect he will, let him at least respond to the serious legal, factual and moral criticisms contained in this study and others. As the head of the mission and the report’s most visible public defender, Goldstone has a public obligation to respond to responsible criticism, which to date, he has not done.

In the coming week, the Secretary-General of the United Nations will present a compilation of responses to the Goldstone Report. I am submitting this analysis for inclusion.

From the report:

palestinian casualties in ocl

Read the rest.

The Goldstone Report Part I and II: A Failure of Intelligence, A Miscarriage of Human Rights

I have just published an article in MERIA (Middle East Review of International Affairs) on Goldstone’s Gaza Report in two parts:

The Goldstone Report Part I: A Failure of Intelligence

and

The Goldstone Report Part II: A Miscarriage of Human Rights

From the conclusion:

Intimidation and Advocacy: The Narcissistic Payoff

There is something more sinister here even than various forms of animosity toward Jews, conscious and unconscious, or radical ideologies that have somehow lost their way. If it were only that problem, then reasoned discourse, hard evidence, and some serious self-criticism on the part of the parties involved might help, at least in some cases. One wouldn’t find so much unanimity. There is, however, something more fundamental that underlies the positions taken in the Arab-Israeli conflict, something that explains why, despite so many powerful anomalies (like Hamas using human shields and shutting out aid at the Egyptian border), “progressives” continue to cling to their self-destructive paradigms and adopt positions that so violate the very principles they claim to espouse. That more powerful factor is: “We are afraid and we cannot admit it.”

Journalists in particular, subject to pervasive threats and occasional violence in the Palestinian territories (and elsewhere in the Middle East), cannot possibly admit this to their readers and viewers for fear of losing credibility. Moreover, not inclined toward living in the constant recognition that they have succumbed to the double indignity of bending their knee to jihadi demands, and to hiding that fact from their audiences, they prefer to believe that they say what they do out of advocacy. They can thus feel noble by embracing the cause of the oppressed (who happen to be the same people who threaten them). How much braver it feels to accuse the Israelis of whining about unfair coverage than to admit one cannot report honestly on Hamas’ behavior. With the alchemy of advocacy for the “oppressed” and “wretched of the earth,” they transform this double cowardice into bravery, “speaking truth to Israeli power.”

That intimidation, however, extends beyond the journalistic front lines to the home front as well. Since the Salmon Rushdie affair in 1989, Muslims have realized that they can extend Shari’a through intimidation, that when they call for targeted killings of blasphemers of Islam, the West will back down. The twenty-first century has been a privileged terrain for such spectacles of intimidation and appeasement, among the most spectacular (and enduring) concerned the “Muhammad Cartoons.” Note that the same radical forces in Islam that responded so violently–and so openly about their agenda–to Western indiscretions, also, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, produced a stunningly long list of suicide attacks on civilians of all faiths around the world, beginning with Israel, but then becoming frequent in both the West and Muslim-majority societies.

Much of this intimidation has been internalized in the form of a politically correct narrative whose hegemony depends on the silences it imposes. It denounces any criticism that offends Muslims as gratuitous insult and provocation. The key issue, of course, is where should one draw the line between gratuitous insult and important criticism? If politeness is not saying certain things lest there be violence, civility is being able to say certain things and there won’t be violence. Is contemporary Western discourse too obsessed with being polite with Muslims? Are they too thin-skinned (especially given how violently they can dish out the criticism)? It certainly seems strange then that supporters of human rights and defenders of free speech expend far more effort silencing those who “seem” to insult Islam, than offensive Muslims who call for the death of blasphemers, who carry signs in the streets of European capitals that read: “Slay all those who insult Islam.”

Those who follow this politically-correct line so dominate the public discourse that any dissent takes one on a perilous path to marginalization–those who make even mildly critical remarks about Muslims, Arabs, or Palestinians are rapidly dismissed as proto-fascists. If they persist, they may be accused of incitement, Islamophobia, and even holocaust denial (of the genocide against the Palestinians). What is portrayed as politically correct–whether Hina Jilani’s it would be “cruel not to believe” or Erik Alterman’s it is an “inarguably racist rant” to say that “Arabs are feigning outrage”–trumps trying to determine what actually happened based on the evidence. They think they are being virtuously generous and open-minded; but in the world of cognitive warfare, the outcome is systematic renunciation all the West’s main defenses.

As a result, Americans don’t know how to protect themselves from real enemies like Major Malik Hassan, FBI Arabic translators whose loyalties lie elsewhere, or government advisors who “help” law enforcement and security deal with the Muslim community. Ironically, stigmatizing as a “right-winger” and an “Islamophobe” anyone who points out the “us-them” ideology–wala wa bara (loyalty to fellow Muslims and enmity to infidels), a mentality so prevalent among Muslims and so effectively incited by radicals–will make it harder to counteract that problem. The losers here are moderates on all sides, especially among the Muslims whom jihadists like Hamas and Jama’at-e-Islami are permitted to stigmatize as collaborators with the enemy.

Alas, Goldstone may have won his peaceful sleep at the cost of the Gazans’–and everyone else’s–nightmares, for not only does his report target Israel, it will eventually serve to target every civil polity with a powerful army attacked by this asymmetrical war waged by jihadi forces. Ironically, once these other armies become aware of the heightened standards, they go straight to Israel for advice on how to lower the civilian tolls in their military maneuvers.

The consequences of such self-delusion are massive. The Goldstone Report embodies an astonishing failure of Western culture to collect reliable intelligence, to “see” clearly enough to make sober judgments and take effective decisions. A systematic inversion sets in: al-Dura 2000, symbol of Palestinian blood libels, becomes “Israel’s images of hate”; Jenin 2002, the most exceptional example of military self-sacrifice for the sake of sparing enemy civilians in the history of human warfare, becomes “the Jenin Massacre”; Lebanon and Gaza 2006-2009, the revolting spectacle of religious fanatics victimizing their own people in a war of extermination, become symbols of freedom fighters resisting Israeli apartheid imperialism. The result, as Irwin Cotler points out, is the grotesque double moral inversion of making Israel the only country accused of genocide, even as it is the only contemporary country subject to incitement as the object of genocide.

It may make many in the West feel good to “believe” the Arab Muslim narrative of suffering at the hands of the Israeli oppressor. After all, it allows them to be generously empathic, and to wag the finger at Israel. Yet it also empowers the very forces of intolerance, violence, and reactionary goals they imagine they are opposing. It is neither honorable nor courageous; it is a capitulation that endangers the most hard-earned freedoms. Even as they congratulate themselves on bravely balancing advocacy and “objective” journalism, reporters daily betray the very charge given to them by the citizens they serve–to report accurately.

If someone had told the founders of Hamas, as they penned their genocidal “charter” of Islamic supremacy in 1988, that in 20 years time, infidels in Europe would be carrying their flags and chanting “We are Hamas,” they would have laughed in disbelief. It is not that the jihadists–violent and “non-violent”– are so smart or talented at deception; it is that their Western counterparts are so stupid. Great civilizations do not necessarily die or fall to superior powers; they can self-destruct.

Goldstone’s inexcusably unprofessional report represents a major step on the way to either the suicide of a human rights culture unique in history and a millennium in the making, or a global war that will beggar World War II for casualties. The tragedy is that this fight might be won largely non-violently by showing some courage, honesty, and judgment. Given the cost in lives that would ensue in a war with the vicious forces now empowered daily, is that too much to ask for?

The New Siege: The Goldstone Report and the Campaign to Delegitimize Israel

I’ll be speaking tomorrow night in Los Angeles on a panel with two of my favorite writers, blogger Omri Ceren and columnist Martin Sherman, on the Goldstone Report, sponsored by Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Anyone in the LA area, please feel free to come.

The New Siege: The Goldstone Report and the Campaign to Delegitimize Israel

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 – 7:00 p.m.
Luxe Hotel Sunset
11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

A moderated panel on how human rights groups are collaborating with multilateral organizations and media outlets to undermine Israel’s ability to exist. The panelists include Dr. Richard Landes, Professor of History at Boston University, who will be joined by Dr. Martin Sherman, Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, who will speak on the failures of Israeli public diplomacy, Omri Ceren, PhD Candidate in Communication and Media at USC, who will speak on media complicity in delegitimization and Deputy Consul General Gil Artzyeli of Israel in Los Angeles will outline the Israeli response to the Goldstone Report in general and to the broader campaign against Israel.

On the eve of the 62nd anniversary of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, establishing the partition of Mandate-era Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon commented that “if there was a vote to admit Israel to the United Nations today… we would not get in.”

The Jewish State in 2009 is under attack from the broadest and most sustained delegitimization campaign since before the founding of the modern Jewish State, bringing together journalists, academics, jihadists, diplomats, totalitarian thugs, and human rights activists in a coordinated effort to erode Israel’s freedom to defend itself. The widely criticized Goldstone Report, accused Israel of war crimes during its defensive Cast Lead operation while ignoring Hamas’ deliberate use of its own population as human shields, and downplaying the role of almost a decade of documented rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from Gaza, is at the center of this global anti-Israel campaign.

The panel will explore the flaws in the Report, the potential consequences of its implementation, and the responses of its critics.

Join us for this timely and critical panel discussion followed by Q&A

Goldstone vs. Talal abu Rahmah on Hamas’ human shields: Whom to believe

As any serious reader of this blog knows, I don’t have a lot of respect for Talal abu Rahmah, the seeing of whose rushes (see below) for September 30, 2000 inspired the term Pallywood. So what to think when he and another favorite unreliable rogue in my gallery disagree?

The Goldstone Report, at paragraph 481, takes up the subject of whether Hamas deliberately hid among civilians.

¶481. On the basis of the information it gathered, the Mission is unable to form an opinion on the exact nature or the intensity [emphasis added] of their [Hamas’] combat activities in urban residential areas that would have placed the civilian population and civilian objects at risk of attack. While reports reviewed by the Mission credibly indicate that members of Palestinian armed groups were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from civilians, the Mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack [emphasis added].

Moshe Halbertal in “The Goldstone Illusion,” not an author known for his sarcasm, remarks on Goldstone’s cautious conclusion:

The reader of such a sentence might well wonder what its author means. Did Hamas militants not wear their uniforms because they were inconveniently at the laundry? What other reasons for wearing civilian clothes could they have had, if not for deliberately sheltering themselves among the civilians?

So imagine my surprise when I ran across the following gem from Talal abu Rahmah in a phone interview with a CNN reporter on January 2, 2009:

Hamas, they are under cover, all of them they are civilians now, you don’t see any militants around you, even the cars I don’t know if the car in front of me or in the back of me, if it’s a target or not.

Whom to believe?

Here I think Talal has told us the truth. Why? Partly because he’s showing off. “This is really difficult and scary. I have to do my job, what can I do. Now Hamas…” After presenting himself as a brave journalist who has to do what he must, he jumps on Hamas’ contrasting behavior.

But also, I think he tells us this in part because he thinks the journalist interviewing him is too stupid to notice what a revelation he’s handed her.

And he’s right. Her next question is not: “So Hamas is hiding among civilians and endangering the population? That’s a war crime. How do people feel about that?” Instead it’s the kind of nauseating experiential post-modern journalism that the Gaza war was full of, where the interviewer gives Talal a platform to vaunt his courage, his “in-his-blood” journalism, and the dangers he runs.

Tell us more about how it feels, Talal, send us more pictures, and stay safe. Why without you, we might have to think.

Appendix: Talal’s rushes as presented to the French court (17 of the 21 minutes).

Interview with Mike Cohen on Israel Radio

Dr. Mike Cohen of Bar-Ilan University and the Galilee Institute sits in for Eve Harow and talks with guests about the Gilad Shalit dillema. Guests include Professor Richard Landes of Boston University and Pallywood fame, Danny Hershtal of Yisrael Beiteinu, and Uri Bank of the Ichud Leumi. Author D. Laurence-Young “Of Guns & Mules ” recently released by Gefen Publishing also makes an appearance.

“The Report oozes intellectual dishonesty”: David Matas on Goldstone

David Matas, an international human rights lawyer, has written a devastating legal analysis of the Goldstone Report, which he has allowed me to post at Understanding the Goldstone Report even though it has not yet been published elsewhere (it’s longer than most editors, with the exception of Barry Rubin at MERIA) would accept. Nonetheless, it bristling with incisive comments that only a lawyer with an extensive background in the subject might note. He focuses on 10 issues that should have appeared in the Report and did not. His conclusion:
“The Report oozes with intellectual dishonesty.”

The Goldstone Report: Stone or Gold?
by David Matas

Table of Contents

A. Introduction

B. Exclusions

1) The Human Rights Council mandating resolution

    a) The problem
    b) Preambular paragraphs
    c) Operative paragraphs
    d) The World Court precedent
    e) The Presidential mandate

2) The bias of Christine Chinkin

    a) The problem
    b) The answer
    c) The Report

3) The Hamas Covenant

4) Terminology

    a) Blockade
    b) Collective punishment

5) The blockade and Egypt

6) Standard of proof

7) The distinction between disproportionate and indiscriminate response

    a) The omission
    b) The differences
    c) The blending

8) Sources

9) Military expertise

10) The wings of Hamas

C. Conclusions

Read the whole report

News Media, Arab Honor-Shame, and Operation Cast Lead: The Failures of Cognitive Egocentrism

A segment from a long essay on the Goldstone Report to appear in MERIA in January, with embedded video.

In some senses, it might be fair to argue that the news media believe that by emphasizing the humanitarian catastrophe, they contribute to peace. By putting pressure on the Israelis, they reason, they can help to stop the bombing. Christiane Amanpour quite un-self-consciously revealed the calculus in a question to Tony Blair:

Amanpour to Blair: “The civilian casualties in Gaza are obviously going to put a big pressure on Israel. How long can Israel withstand this pressure?”

Note that Amanpour asks the question with great confidence – this, she clearly feels, is a good, even shrewd question – unaware of what she reveals about her own thinking. Indeed, from her point of view, this isn’t even advocacy; it’s such a widespread attitude that it has the status of Realpolitik.

Now when such diplomatic dynamics are so obvious to the media, what’s to prevent them from thinking that the more they emphasize the humanitarian catastrophe, the sooner the violence will end?

Aside from the multiple, highly questionable, assumptions that underlie such apparently “self-evident” reasoning, the question also reveals a fundamental position of advocacy or bias – the “solution” will come from pressure on Israel, not on Hamas.

For a fascinating example of the cognitive dissonance that results from confronting Hamas, a journalist asking an Arab spokesman why Hamas doesn’t just stop the fighting, consider this exchange between “rational” BBC interviewer, Karen Ginoni, and the Arab League Ambassador to the UN, Yahya Mahmassani.

Leveling the Playing Field: An order of ten both ways

I have often tried to argue that the situation is the Arab-Israeli conflict is not only exaggerated by the media, but inverted, and that statistics play a critical role in this process.

Now we have two key pieces of evidence of how this works.

Exhibit A: Exaggerate Israeli-inflicted damage by an order of ten.

Palestinians constantly make wild statistical claims, as in when Mahmoud al Zahar of Hamas accuses Israel of killing 8000 in the first, “peaceful” intifada, when the Israelis and the Palestinians killed about 1000 each.

Or when al Zahar accuses Israel of imprisoning one quarter of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian “human rights” NGO, Adalah gives a number to the fraction: 700-750,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons since 1967. This figure, absurd by any careful statistical analysis — was cited by an Adalah representative who testitifed before the Goldstone Commission. Again the figure is off by an order approaching ten.

But the Goldstone Report took the figures and rounded them down by a mere 50,000 (making the real number of prisoners since 1967 a statistical error):

¶1444. It is estimated that during the past 43 years of occupation, approximately 700,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been detained under Israeli military orders. Israel argues that these detentions are necessary on grounds of security

What Happened at the mosque and inside Goldstone’s mind?

Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, whose work on the evidence from OCL is extensive, has published some thoughts on the Al Maqadmah mosque case and the Goldstone Report’s handling of it. I add comments to bring out some of the more astonishing aspects of his argument.

What happened at mosque?
Jonathan Dahoah Halevi questions reliability of reports on Gaza mosque attack

Jonathan Dahoah Halevi
Published: 11.12.09, 17:21 / Israel Opinion

On November 5, 2009 there was a confrontation at Brandeis University in Massachusetts between the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dr. Dore Gold, and Judge Richard Goldstone. It dealt, among other things, with the affair of the Maqadmah mosque in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, about which two contradictory versions exist, that of Israel and that of the Goldstone Committee’s Report.

The Goldstone Report about Operation Cast Lead accuses Israel of an air strike on the mosque on January 3, 2009, which caused the deaths of “at least 15 Palestinians” who were in it at the time. During the confrontation with Dr. Gold, Goldstone claimed that 21 Palestinians had been killed, and he presented the attack as a salient example of Israel’s policy of deliberately targeting innocent civilians. However, Israel issued official documents stating that its Air Force did not attack the mosque and that the dead had been killed in fighting the IDF.

Goldstone’s doubly revealing nightmare from which we have not awoken

In his “debate” on Thursday November 5, at Brandeis, during question and answer, Goldstone got chummy with the audience and told them an anecdote about how he felt going into Gaza:

As far as conditions in Gaza are concerned, I must say that my visit to Gaza turned out very differently from what I had anticipated. Frankly, and I make no, no, no, and I’m not ashamed to say it, I was very nervous about being a Jew going into Gaza on probe by Hamas, especially when the first reaction to my appointment by Hamas was to reject a meeting with me because I was Jew.

And my wife sitting here will remember that three nights before I went, I woke up in the middle of the night after a terrible nightmare, with sweat on my brow, because I had a vivid dream that I’d been kidnapped by, by Hamas, and people in Israel were rejoicing. [laughter] That was the nightmare, based on real fears.

Now Goldstone clearly didn’t tell this anecdote in order to reveal the utter intellectual bankruptcy of both his Report’s methods and and conclusions. But that’s what he did.

Fisking Goldstone’s Response to Berman: Whereas Clause #10

Part V of the fisking of Goldstone’s Response to Berman.

[Note: Justice Goldstone counts the descriptive paragraph as Paragraph 1. Therefore, “Paragraph 3” refers to Whereas 2 (and accordingly throughout his text).]

Whereas clause #10: ‘Whereas in the October 16th edition of the Jewish Daily Forward, Richard Goldstone, the head of the `United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’, is quoted as saying, with respect to the mission’s evidence-collection methods, `If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.’”

[Goldstone:] “7. Paragraph 11: What I had explained to The Forward was that the Report itself would not constitute evidence admissible in court of law and that investigators would have to investigate which allegations they considered relevant. That, too, was why we recommended domestic investigations into the allegations. The remark as quoted is both inaccurate and taken completely out of context.”

[Berman Response]: Here is the relevant quote, as well as the passages that directly precede and follow it, taken directly from the article in the Jewish Daily Forward:

    “Goldstone defended the report’s reliance on eyewitness accounts, noting his mission had cross-checked those accounts against each other and sought corroboration from photos, satellite photos, contemporaneous reports, forensic evidence and the mission’s own inspections of the sites in question.
    For all that gathered information, though, he said, “We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.”

Goldstone emphasized that his conclusion that war crimes had been committed was always intended as conditional. He still hopes that independent investigations carried out by Israel and the Palestinians will use the allegations as, he said, “a useful road map.”

We consider the quote in the whereas to be fully in context.

I’d have taken a different tack. First of all, Goldstone’s claim to having cross-checked his witnesses accounts is either dishonest or, if sincere, testimony to how sloppy the work of his Mission. To take the most salient — and vicious — accusation in the entire report, the claims of the Abed Rabbo family, there are dozens of versions many of which are mutually contradictory, and contradict testimony given previously to NGOs.

Fisking Goldstone’s Response to Berman: Whereas Clause #8-9

Part IV of the fisking of Goldstone’s Response to Berman.

[Note: Justice Goldstone counts the descriptive paragraph as Paragraph 1. Therefore, “Paragraph 3” refers to Whereas 2 (and accordingly throughout his text).]

Whereas clause #8: “Whereas the report repeatedly made sweeping and unsubstantiated determinations that the Israeli military had deliberately attacked civilians during Operation Cast Lead;

[Goldstone:] “7. Paragraph 8: This whereas clause is factually incorrect. The findings included in the report are neither “sweeping” nor “unsubstantiated” and in effect reflect 188 individual interviews, review of more than 300 reports, 30 videos and 1200 photographs. Additionally, the body of the report contains a plethora of references to the information upon which the Commission relied for our findings.

Since the terms “sweeping and unsubstantiated” are judgment calls, it’s hard for me to see how one can respond that they’re “factually incorrect.” Is this how lawyers write?

[Berman Response]: When summarizing the results of investigations into alleged Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, the Report states that “the Mission found in every case [except one] that the Israeli armed forces had carried out direct intentional strikes against civilians” and that “in none of the cases reviewed were there any grounds which could have reasonably induced the Israeli armed forces to assume that the civilians attacked were in fact taking a direct part in the hostilities…

The assertion regarding “intentional strikes” is particularly mystifying. The Report does not take into account that Israeli soldiers were operating under fire, in an extremely volatile and dangerous environment, in which the enemy was hiding amongst a civilian population.

Nor does the Report generally take into account that testimony from Gazans was given under the watchful eye of Hamas officials. Moreover, the commission heard, at best, only one side of the story, since Israel, despairing of the biased mandate, chose not to participate. Whatever the wisdom of that Israeli decision – and, as indicated below, I do find it understandable – the Report at least should have acknowledged that Israeli non-participation limited the commission’s ability to reach firm conclusions.

Note that the reason the FFM could reach such sweeping conclusions as:

    in none of the cases reviewed were there any grounds which could have reasonably induced the Israeli armed forces to assume that the civilians attacked were in fact taking a direct part in the hostilities

is because they hand-picked the incidents to highlight precisely this point.

Goldstone explained to Bill Moyers:

    We chose those 36 because they seemed to be, to represent the most serious, the highest death toll, the highest injury toll. And they appear to represent situations where there was little or no military justification for what happened.

Once they had their incidents — most likely from a list created for them by the NGOs — they heard testimony which they found entirely credible.

Whereas clause #9: “Whereas the authors of the report, in the body of the report itself, admit that `we did not deal with the issues… regarding the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas and second-guessing decisions made by soldiers and their commanding officers `in the fog of war.’;”

[Goldstone:] “6. Paragraph 9: The words quoted relate to the decision we made that it would have been unfair to investigate and make finding on situations where decisions had been made by Israeli soldiers ‘in the fog of battle’. This was a decision made in favor and not against the interests of Israel.

As far as I can make out, the Berman response did not address this point directly, but it is well worth addressing because it has to be one of the nastiest pieces of newspeak in the Goldstone lexicon. He used this same argument in the continuation of his comment to Moyers cited previously:

    We didn’t want to investigate situations where we would be called upon to second-guess decisions made by Israeli Defense Force leaders or soldiers, in what’s called the “fog of battle”. It’s really unfair to do that, especially without hearing the other side. So we tried to concentrate on issues which seem to be less likely to be justifiable by applying those standards.

Now this sounds just fine until you realize what it meant in practice. First, it meant no systematic investigation of Hamas use of civilians as human shields.

And second it meant, no need to consult people like Colonel Richard Kemp because, since his comments are based on what it means to fight against an insurgency that embeds itself in a civilian population (while attacking your civilians), they are about “the fog of war,” and therefore irrelevant. So while Kemp concludes as a result of his perspective:

    During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Goldstone finds it unnecessary to even hear his testimony because:

    There was no reliance on Col. Kemp mainly because the Report did not deal with the issues he raised regarding the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas and second-guessing decisions made by soldiers and their commanding officers in the fog of war. The Mission avoided having to do so in the incidents it decided to investigate.“

Now I try and avoid ad hominem arguments, but this is intellectual dishonesty of the nastiest sort. “Hey, don’t blame me, I’m your friend.”

(From Daled Amos): The fact is that the Goldstone Report did not hesitate to “make finding on situations where decisions had been made by Israeli soldiers “in the fog of battle.” In its critique of the content of the Goldstone Report, CAMERA points out that the Goldstone Report does not hesitate to double-guess what was going through the mind of the IDF:

    Motive was freely and falsely attributed to Israel in order to charge them with war crimes. Paragraph 74 (74) of the Report asserts: The conditions of life in Gaza, resulting from deliberate actions of the Israeli forces and the declared policies of the Government of Israel – as they were presented by its authorized and legitimate representatives – with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation, cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law.

    And in paragraph 1331 (1325): The facts ascertained by the Mission, the conditions resulting from the deliberate actions of the Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Israeli Government – as they were presented by its authorized representatives – with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation, cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip. The Mission, therefore, finds a violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    Israel’s analysis of the Goldstone Report -– the existence of which Goldstone also denies -– also notes among the faults of the Report:

  • Second-guessing choice of weapons and tactics without knowledge of available resources. The Report concludes that with respect to one particular incident, Israeli forces should have used different weapons to further limit the risk to civilians in the area, and is untroubled by the fact that it has no information regarding the available troops, weapons or intelligence. The Report observes that forces had 50 minutes in which to respond to a significant threat (the time used by the force to accurately identify the source of fire), and opines that given this time, “it is difficult to believe that mortars were the most accurate weapons available” (¶ 696).
    Displaying a troubling disconnect from the reality of urban fighting on many simultaneous fronts, it suggests that the forces in the field should used “helicopters and fighter jets”, assuming that these are readily available to commanders in the field.[14]
  • Second-guessing what commanders should have anticipated. The Report concludes with respect to another incident that Israeli forces should not have been surprised that they were faced with anti-tank missile fire in the vicinity of a UNRWA installation, and therefore should have taken different steps to respond to this hostile fire, other than applying the commonly used technique of smoke screening (¶ 588). Again, the Report seeks to substitute its judgment for that of the commanders in the field, without any of the information necessary to conduct a proper analysis under the applicable law.One would almost think that Judge Goldstone did not read his own report–something he readily ascribes to his critics.

Notes Daled Amos: One would almost think that Judge Goldstone did not read his own report–something he readily ascribes to his critics.