Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On the Goldstone Report

This massive 574-page report, originally commissioned by the (deeply-flawed) United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to explore exclusively Israeli wrongdoing (by design, taking Israel's actions out-of-context) and later pushed to its limits by its chief investigator, Richard Goldstone, to include some of the actions of Hamas and the Palestinians who Israel was actually fighting, seems to upset Jews mightily. Perhaps it shouldn't.

Do people ever considered that the U.N.'s first priority may be to protect its own personnel, including locally-hired Arabs? (Originally set up mostly to help Jews after WWII, the United Nations Relief Works Agency is now exclusively devoted to Arab relief and most of its staff are Palestinians.)

If you were running the UN, what would you do under the circumstances? How are you supposed to protect your employees in Arab refugee camps without U.N. police and troops which the Security Council won't supply? Especially in a Gaza where Arabs claim that Hamas throws those who oppose it from roof-tops?

Might you not choose to issue reports exculpating those who threaten your employees, even as you try to document their crimes in the hope that they could one day in the future be brought to justice? Bray loudly in agreement with tormentors as you whisper for help to others?

Would Hamas have threatened the UNRWA about teaching the Holocaust if Hamas didn't feel that terrorizing the U.N. wasn't effective? Indeed, the UNRWA assured Hamas they would do no such thing.

Consider that the Goldstone Report contains the confession that Hamas leaders employed human shields, but adds that confession is not proof. This shield the U.N. from retribution – not that the U.N. bothered to look very hard at such proofs.

There’s lots of other silliness in there, but some good stuff in between the lines. For the Goldstone Report is a "non-judicial" document, hence labeling the confessions of Hamas leaders as "boasts" won't matter a bit if these matters are taken to criminal court; the Report serves as evidence, not judgment.

One must also consider what’s missing that an unafraid investigator would have reported. The one thing one can’t do is take the report at face value – especially its allegations against Israel.

Rather than condemn the document entirely, I would focus on its contextual and factual aspects - real facts that can be confirmed, not dreamed-up fantasies and distortions - and express sympathy for the U.N. and all Arab populations that have to live under the thumb of crippling dictators; if the Arabs truly want credibility to their rants, it won't be through U.N. reports, but by accepting the need for freer societies and freedom of debate within their own communities.

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