Goldstone Report: The Cover Up
Posted by rabbibrian on October 5, 2009
It took Israel about two weeks to collaborate with the U.S government and the Israel lobby to bury the Goldstone Report. They even got the Palestinian Authority to do the dirty work for them! Building on its brilliant defeat of the Obama Administration’s demand for a complete freeze on settlements, the Netanyahu government masterfully deflected any discussion of the substance of the report with bogus claims that it would never again take risks for peace (what risks? when?), with charges of “anti-Semitism”, with charges against the bias of the United Nations Human Rights Council, with the insistence of innocence (“the most moral army in the world”). The only charge that had any truth was the bias in the resolutions of United Nations Human Rights Council but their bias has no bearing on the content of the report.
They accomplished all this without responding to any of the egregious and shocking human rights violations carefully documented in the report. Repeatedly Israel, the U.S. government, American Jewish leaders called the report “deeply flawed” without ever providing any challenge to the substance of the report.
The big winner in all this is the right wing government of Israel and the big losers are the Palestinians who will continue to be subject to any actions Israel takes against them. Israel is celebrating its victory. The Occupation will continue with home demolitions in Jerusalem, attacks on the West Bank (there was a report a few days ago of a Palestinian youth in Bilin who was run over by a jeep), and the cruel blockade of Gaza which Judge Goldstone’s commission correctly called a war crime and suggested that it may also constitute a crime against humanity.
The word that kept coming up for me over the past two weeks is cover up. We are all involved in the cover up of a massive crime. The barrage of Israeli, American and American Jewish propoganda against the report is all part of a successful cover up. They have not only successfully taken the report off the table but they have done so without any serious debate about the substance of the report.
The Goldstone report was by no means the first to describe the crimes committed in Gaza, many Israeli and international human rights organizations have already documented most of the allegations of the report. In the case of the reports by other organizations: Gisha, B’tzelem, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Shovrim Shtika (Soldiers Breaking the Silence), Human Rights Watch, and others, the Israeli government took one of the following three actions:
1. Didn’t pay much or any attention to it;
2. Attacked the researchers involved in the report (Human Rights Watch);
3. Acted to effectively cut off the funds of the organization (Shovrim Shtika and other Israeli human rights organizations).
Facing this barrage of criticism orchestrated by Israel, the United States government and the Israel lobby, was Judge Goldstone, a man of profound moral integrity and moral courage. I grew up in South Africa and the only good thing about this very distressing affair is the moral courage of Judge Goldstone, who despite the fact that he is a committed Zionist with deep commitment to Israel, had the courage to insist that Israel should be bound by international human rights law. As he said repeatedly all states must be held accountable for violations of human rights.
For me, as a former South African Jew, I am so proud of his role in this investigation and was very pleased to be in Washington DC on Thursday last week when he appeared before the National Press Club. I will write a separate post about that experience.
The role of American government, American Jewish leaders and organizations in this cover up is shameful. As a rabbi, it is so disturbing and painful to see the ways in which rabbis and Jewish leaders cover for Israel, giving it a pass on egregious human rights violations including the killing of civilians. Is Jewish blood more precious than the blood of Palestinians?
In the first murder recorded in the Torah, God calls Cain to account and says, “the blood of your brother cries out to me from the earth” Those responsible for the blood that was spilled in Gaza and Israel must be held accountable. It is a sad day for all of us when an honest and dedicated effort to ensure accountability is squelched. All who care about human rights, about Jewish values and about the soul of Israel must continue to demand that both Israel and Hamas launch credible and transparent independent investigations in the next three months. If they fail to do so, the Goldstone report should be referred to the Security Council and ultimately to the International Criminal Court. We should do all in our power to ensure that the report is not completely buried.