Thursday, May 06, 2010

Richard Goldstone: The epitome of hypocrisy

by Lurker

In the wake of Yediot Aharonot's expose of Richard Goldstone's history as a racist apartheid judge who sent 28 black South Africans to their deaths, Goldstone's defenders have been rushing into panicked spin-control mode.

The JPost today carried an interview with former South African chief justice Arthur Chaskalson, an old buddy of Goldstone's, who attacks Yediot for having exposed to the public this information about Goldstone's dark past. Chaskalson does his best to provide excuses for Goldstone's crimes against humanity:
Chaskalson rejected the Yediot report as "scandalous" for its failure to capture the context of the times.
Yet Goldstone himself never saw any need to "capture the context of the times" when he wrote his one-sided report condemning Israel. It was irrelevant to him that countless innocent Israeli civilians -- including thousands of children -- were coming under daily Arab missile bombardment for a period of years, turning their lives into a nonstop living hell. It was irrelevant to him that Israel had a responsibility to act in order to defend its own citizens. In fact, during Goldstone's kangaroo-court "investigation", when Noam Bedein presented critical testimony to him about the "context of the times" -- namely, the effects of the daily bombardment of Sderot -- Goldstone demonstrated his contempt for Jewish suffering -- and his level of interest in understanding this context -- by going to sleep right in front of Bedein's face. So much for "captur[ing] the context of the times".
Among the responses Goldstone submitted to the two [Yediot] reporters, Goldstone wrote, "I was always committed to safeguarding equality and nondiscrimination, as well as the law. Sometimes these principles clashed in very complex ways."
Here's some news for Judge Goldstone: Israel was no less committed to safeguarding the lives of civilian Arabs, to the extent reasonably possible for an army fighting a war against terrorists that deliberately entrenched themselves in the middle of urban civilian populations -- and who took barbaric delight in drawing fire upon those civilians. Israel had to balance their principle of minimizing enemy civilian casualties against the critical goal of neutralizing the ongoing terrorist threat to its own people. And guess what? Sometimes those principles also "clashed in very complex ways". But, for some strange reason, that complex clash of principles played no role whatsoever in Goldstone's report, or in the biased charges of "war crimes" that he leveled against Israel.

There's also a very fundamental difference between Israel's military actions to protect its people during Operation Cast Lead -- which Goldstone labelled as "war crimes" -- and Goldstone's own crimes as an apartheid judge: Israel had no choice but to come to the defense of its own helpless citizens who were being bombarded every day by terrorist rockets. But there was nobody who ever forced Goldstone to become a cog in South Africa's bloody racist apartheid system. No, he made the choice to do that out of his own free will (and his own ruthless ambitions).

Goldstone and his defenders would like us all to take into account the supposedly difficult, extenuating circumstances that surrounded his decision to work as an enforcer of South Africa's immoral, racist laws. But Goldstone himself showed no interest in understanding the difficult, extenuating circumstances with which Israel was faced with in confronting a murderous terrorist enemy during Cast Lead.

And that is the epitome of hypocrisy.

As Alan Dershowitz has pointed out, Goldstone is nothing less than a traitor to the Jewish people. In his vain efforts to advance his own political career within the halls of the viciously antisemitic UN, Goldstone has slandered Israel by making outrageous, one-sided allegations of "crimes against humanity", that have been exploited by our enemies to bring suffering and isolation upon the Jewish state. In the wake of the revelations of the hypocritical Goldstone's own crimes against humanity, I sincerely hope that he comes to experience the same sort of suffering and isolation that he has brought upon his own people.

He deserves it.



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41 comments:

Yonatan said...

Wow, no comments?

OK, I'll go first.

Assuming what I've read here is correct, he's definitely got a finger pointing back at him. Nobody's perfect, but this is some really bad evidence that would appear to be indisputable in its nature.

Here's a thought, why don't those that want to betray Israel take a hint from, oh I don't know, the last number of politicians that tried. How did that work out for them? Do you think that was a coincidence? Guess again.

Oh, and by the way, I don't want to see a child's Bar Mitzvah ruined by this, but its not the Jewish community that is ruining it. Wrong is wrong, the grandfather is the one that is ruining it by showing up. He's got a LOT OF CHUTZPAH pressing this after what he's done. The community is completely within its rights, and its responsibilities to press this. If he doesn't like it, stay home. He made his decision as it regards the Jewish people. If he doesn't like its flavor now, he can go join neturei (neutered) karta, they would probably welcome him with open arms!

Jonathan becker said...

i wish no suffering on goldstone or any other jew. but other than that, a fine post, "fair and balanced".

mekubal said...

Actually I don't think Goldstone is being hypocritical at all. In the JPost(online edition) he defended his actions as it being his job to uphold the laws and will of the government employing him.

Now he works for the UN, a predominately muslim and anti-Israel organization. It would appear to me that he still feels that the excuse that didn't work at Nuremburg will work for him, that he is essentially just following orders in upholding the "laws" and will of his employer.

I pray he does a speedy teshuva as his actions are putting Jewish lives at risk.

Anonymous said...

http://pajamasmedia.com/ronradosh/2010/02/03/an-incredible-letter-to-richard-goldstone-from-an-israeli-who-knew-him/


....
There will be more such comments, as the Goldstone Report becomes the single most current weapon in the worldwide effort to delegitimize Israel. But what led Goldstone, himself a Jew supposedly favorable to Zionism, to chair the commission and to put his name on the blatantly one-sided and propagandist report?

To answer that, I want to reproduce a remarkable letter that has been going around the internet, written by a former friend of Goldstone who resides in Israel. To my knowledge the letter, written in mid-November, has not received wide circulation. If what the author, Roy Chweidan of Netanya, Israel, says is the actual truth about Goldstone’s past, it helps explain what led him to end up issuing a report that will do more than anything else to harm Israel in the world. Goldstone, as you will see, comes off as a rank opportunist, a man who went from benefiting from apartheid to switching sides at the exact moment when it would help his career.

The letter, written by someone who went to the same school and had the same education as Goldstone, and who clearly knew him personally, was obviously made public by the writer because he did not get any response. I cannot vouch for the factual data he offers. You can read it yourself and judge whether the charges made by the writer have merit. .....

NormanF said...

Its amusing to see the Left defend the cog in the apartheid machine. The truth will always come out, won't it now?

Oh, the little thing called right and wrong gets lost on people, on one Richard Goldstone in particular.

Good riddance!

Shira said...

"While the rocket attacks were horrible, inexcusable war crimes which resulted in several fatalities, I don't think anyone can make a compelling argument that Israel's very existence was imperiled."

Oh, and if there was a terrorist that moved into the Empire State Building, and was "only" shooting people who walked into Macy's - that should be tolerated because America wasn't under siege?

Vox Populi said...

>Oh, and if there was a terrorist that moved into the Empire State Building, and was "only" shooting people who walked into Macy's - that should be tolerated because America wasn't under siege?

I didn't say Israel should have tolerated it. I merely pointed out that Israel was not forced to respond in the exact way in which it did. It had open to it a variety of options, and made a calculation.

By analogy, a sniper in the Empire State Building would not necessitate the US leveling the building, although they may of course decide to do just that, and that decision may or not be justifiable. But they would have choices. The republic is not imperiled. There is no one putting a gun to their head and saying either you do X, or say bye bye to baseball and apple pie.

FoxyVoxy said...

Israel should have responded proportionally and it didn't.

They should have randomly fired 8000 rockets into Gazan population centers.

Or better, they should have equipped the local Negev/Ashdod/Ashkelon citizens with thousands of rockets and told them they were free to launch them at Gaza whenever they wanted.

Vive le Populisti Vivoxi said...

VoxPopuli: While the rocket attacks were horrible, inexcusable war crimes which resulted in several fatalities...

Absolutely. 9/11 didn't threaten America's existence.

The bombings of London didn't threaten England's existence.

Pearl Harbor didn't threaten America's existence.

Terror doesn't threaten anyone.

Heck, unless your whole country is blown to bits, someone will always survive.

"Turn the other cheek" pacifists like you are the reason there's so much evil in the world.

Jonathan said...

Hi Jameel. That was excellent.

Everything possible must be done to publicize the essay on Goldstone found at this link:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/21359334/Goldstone-V2

If you think its good enough after reading it, consider posting a link to it in your post.

Yonatan said...

Wow Vox, You really need to move to Sderot before you have any moral authority to say something like that. Who are you to question any nation standing up for their citizens after YEARS of repeated rocket attacks? You've got a lot of chutzpah also.

Armchair quarterback.

Lurker said...

Jonathan: Hi Jameel. That was excellent.

I'm sure that Jameel appreciates the compliment, but did you happen to notice the line at the top of the post that says, "by Lurker"...?

Vox Populi said...

>Absolutely. 9/11 didn't threaten America's existence

Correct.

>The bombings of London didn't threaten England's existence.

Also correct.

>Pearl Harbor didn't threaten America's existence.

Debatable, but in line with my main point, which I don't think you understood.

Although all these events threatened the security and wellbeing of many of their citizens, it was not the equivalent of me putting a gun to your head and telling you to either do X or I would drastically increase the lead content of your brain.

America was not "forced" to respond to 9/11 with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, "enhanced interrogation" of "detainees", etc. That was their choice. Had they not decided to do all that they have done, America would still be here today. If they had still invaded Afghanistan, but not Iraq, would they still be here? They chose a variety of courses of action, based on a moral calculus. They don't get absolution simply because there was real impetus to respond in some way.

Ditto England. And ditto Israel. Just because they have a right to respond, does not necessarily mean that any response they choose will be morally correct. Please read what I wrote.

>"Turn the other cheek" pacifists like you are the reason there's so much evil in the world.

Well, that, and actual evil people.

Vox Populi said...

>Who are you to question any nation standing up for their citizens after YEARS of repeated rocket attacks? You've got a lot of chutzpah also.

South Africa also stood up for itself during Apartheid. It certainly felt threatened and set about trying to secure itself in a variety of different ways, many of which were judged to be totally illegitimate and immoral. Who are you to question any nation standing up for its citizens? Perhaps you should move to Cape Town in the 1970s?

Rather, I think you would agree, just because a country has a right to respond to some provocation, does not mean that any course of action they ultimately choose to embark upon is morally excusable.

Lurker presented a false dichotomy. Israel, he argued, was "forced" to respond to the rocket attacks, and therefore should be given a free pass. Goldstone was not forced to join the Apartheid era judiciary, and therefore does not enjoy the same privilege.

My argument is that neither deserve the privilege of a free pass. Israel was not "forced" into its action - it chose that action based on a moral calculus. Just as Goldstone was not forced into the judiciary, he chose that action based on his own moral calculus.

Vox Populi said...

Also, just as an aside:

Israel was one of Apartheid South Africa's closest allies, especially when the rest of the world had isolated it, even going so far as to assist it with its nuclear weapons research. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Israel had a greater hand in supporting Apartheid than did Richard Goldstone.

Jewish Odysseus said...

Has any individual Israeli military man killed as many as 28 humans?

If apartheid had lasted a few years longer, Goldstone cd have killed more people than Baruch Goldstein.

Way to go, you slimy mass-murdering hypocrite.

This b@stard needs to burn in hell.

Shira said...

"...does not necessarily mean that any response they choose will be morally correct."

OK I'll bite - can you suggest a different response to Gaza that would have satisfied those under constant rocket-fire, and their sympathizing relatives and fellow countrymen?

It better be good, you have the advantages of hindsight and even imaginary military capabilities.

Yonatan said...

Sorry, your measured response bullshit is just total crap.

Jews have to be "perfect" in your eyes just to keep from being thrown under the bus, without a care of the rockets that started the whole damn thing.

Smooth talk is not going to get you a free pass on this. Its not like Israel nuked Gaza or sent in hordes to rape and pillage the population. We don't live our lives according to your worldview, there is another that we are responsible to.

Yonatan said...

And as an aside for you...I asked you to live in Sderot - not anywhere near the same thing as Capetown, no many how many references you want to throw around to that effect. They're not the same thing.

Stick to the question - stop redirecting.

Vox Populi said...

>OK I'll bite - can you suggest a different response to Gaza that would have satisfied those under constant rocket-fire, and their sympathizing relatives and fellow countrymen?

I have to come up with something you find emotionally satisfying? If what you're after is vengeance, fine. But you're not forced to get revenge, any more than Goldstone was forced into the judiciary. They're both choices.

If by "satisfy" you mean protect, I don't know. The option Israel ultimately chose hasn't completely protected the people of Sderot (and no doubt you wish the Government had responded with more force, and sooner), though it has helped. Could similar results have been achieved with less bombing and more troops on the ground at an earlier phase? Could similar results have been achieved with more bombing? Could better results have been achieved with doing something else? I don't know, and now we never will.

But you miss my point. Although of course, no matter how many times I type this, all you will see is me criticizing Operation Cast Lead, here I go: I'm not per se criticizing Israel's response. If you think it was a fair and justified response, that's super. I'm not here to disagree with that. I'm just disagreeing with the argument put forward by Lurker, that Israel was forced into performing every single act in Operation Cast Lead and thus cannot be held responsible for its actions, while Goldstone freely chose to put himself in a morally dubious position and thus fairly bears the full brunt of moral opprobrium. Rather, I believe they were both confronted with a hard moral dilemma, and made a rational moral calculus as to what the proper course of action was. But to presume that either one of them was "forced" into performing their actions, such as to trigger some sort of duress defense is ludicrous. It's really a very minor point. I don't see why it's raising so much emotion.

Vox Populi said...

>Jews have to be "perfect" in your eyes just to keep from being thrown under the bus, without a care of the rockets that started the whole damn thing.

I think you'll find that actually reading what I wrote will inform you that I never expressed the opinion you are ascribing to me.

>Smooth talk is not going to get you a free pass on this. Its not like Israel nuked Gaza or sent in hordes to rape and pillage the population.

Who are you comparing yourself to? Nazis with atomic weapons? There are other moral standards too, besides "Thou shalt not nuke villages."

Just because Israel had a right to retaliate does not mean Israel could do anything short of a rape/nuke combo, and still claim the act was moral. The actions themselves must still face scrutiny.

?We don't live our lives according to your worldview,

What's my worldview?

>there is another that we are responsible to.

Who? I mean, obviously not me, but who?

Vox Populi said...

>And as an aside for you...I asked you to live in Sderot - not anywhere near the same thing as Capetown, no many how many references you want to throw around to that effect. They're not the same thing.

Well, okay, maybe, but I can't say I know enough about that time period in South Africa to argue. But that's besides the point, which I think you missed.

I didn't bring up South Africa. Here we sit, criticizing Richard Goldstone for joining the Apartheid-era judiciary. But, really, who are we to criticize? We did not live in South Africa at that time (well, I didn't, perhaps you did). We don't know what kind of moral struggle Goldstone encountered. On the one hand, he thinks that Apartheid is a wretched, immoral system, and that to join their Judiciary would make him in a sense somewhat complicit in their evil. On the other, isn't it better for that spot in the judiciary to go to someone liberal and sympathetic to the plight of black South Africans, then to go to racist Afrikaner that thinks any black that wants to read has already shown he's an incorrigible radical?

Now, you and I can disagree with Judge Goldstone, and say his decision was wrong. For the record, people who were there, such as Nelson Mandela seem to think the man is not irredeemable, because they appointed him to the S.A. high court. But, you and I can certainly criticize, despite not being intimately familiar with Apartheid, because as human beings that seek moral truth and righteousness, we can and should describe acts as either right or wrong. Such descriptions, of course, should always be tempered by our failure to truly understand the dilemma of the person we are judging, but there is nothing that makes judging his actions off limits. Certainly, you would agree, that not every act Goldstone committed in response to his dilemma would have been righteous. Indeed, I suspect you believe he should not have joined the judiciary, and fair enough! But you are not prevented from criticizing him simply because you were not there.

Same too with the actions of Israel. Now, again, I don't think I've done that yet, but I don't have to be a native of Sderot before I can criticize the actions of the Government of Israel.

>Stick to the question - stop redirecting.

So you see, the question is absurd. While context is important, it's not necessarily determinative of an act's justifiability. And while being there adds to the context, I can certainly understand to a great extent the context of Cast Lead, without having to experience a rocket attack personally.

Vox Verumis said...

SOPHISTRY

Shira said...

"I'm not per se criticizing Israel's response....I'm just disagreeing with the argument put forward by Lurker, that Israel was forced into performing every single act in Operation Cast Lead and thus cannot be held responsible for its actions, while Goldstone freely chose to put himself in a morally dubious position and thus fairly bears the full brunt of moral opprobrium.....
I don't have to be a native of Sderot before I can criticize the actions of the Government of Israel..."

That's exactly it. So long as the reality isn't a reality to you personally, the whole thing is theoretical.

In WWII, why was a strong response against German aggression critical? Even by the Allies, countries who were not personally under attack at that time? And anyway, as your style of reasoning would point out, Germany wasn't killing *most* of the citizens of any one of those countries.

There are times when your enemy will never play nice, will never negotiate at full faith.

Then you need to show you mean business, with military might. That *might* be a deterrent to worse.

Goldstone treated both sides as if they are both equally reasonable to talk to, and started off with the same score regarding military aggression. That's the argument, not the minutiae of whether we should scrutinize if bombing #14 at 2:30 pm "should have" been scheduled for 2 pm for some reasons our intelligence could not have predicted.

Yonatan said...

"While the rocket attacks were horrible, inexcusable war crimes which resulted in several fatalities, I don't think anyone can make a compelling argument that Israel's very existence was imperiled"

If by imperiled you mean that they would cease to be a people and a country that very instant, of course you are right. But this is the problem with all of your arguments, you pick out something and give a statement about it to back up your worldview. The statement sounds reasonable enough on its face, however, the truth is that the statement is actually false. Any nation or people which allows rocket attacks to take place against its people is in fact in danger of ceasing to be a union. The attacks, whether they actually kill anyone or not, terrorize the population & weaken its resolve. From your postings, this sounds like your agenda. If its not then why the comparison to South Africa and all the baggage that goes along with that?

As for whom we are responsible to - are you really that dense? You do realize this is a Jewish blog, don't you? We are held to account for our action by the one Creator of all and have been since we accepted the Torah at Har Sinai.

Vox Populi said...

>That's exactly it. So long as the reality isn't a reality to you personally, the whole thing is theoretical.

But that's obviously absurd. Just as a reduction ad absurdum, if somebody cuts me off in traffic and I kill their family, will you support my argument that no one can judge me because unless they were in my exact position, to them it's all theoretical? Congratulations, you've just destroyed civilization.

(Please, please, please, do not read what I just wrote and respond with something like "so you think all the Palestinians did is cut us off in traffic!" It was a reductio ad absurdum. If somebody does, I swear to G-d...)

>And anyway, as your style of reasoning would point out, Germany wasn't killing *most* of the citizens of any one of those countries.

Are you guys even reading what I write, or what? There's only so many times I can make the same point before I'm just cutting and pasting. I never made the argument you're ascribing to me. I have never asserted that a "strong response", whatever the heck that means, wasn't necessary. I never said anything about "most" people having to be dead before a country can respond. Please, read it again, perhaps with some soothing tea.

>Goldstone treated both sides as if they are both equally reasonable to talk to, and started off with the same score regarding military aggression.

I don't remember making any argument here as to the quality of Richard Goldstone's report.

>That's the argument, not the minutiae of whether we should scrutinize if bombing #14 at 2:30 pm "should have" been scheduled for 2 pm for some reasons our intelligence could not have predicted.

Hmmm. Perhaps if I try this in all caps, you will see it better.

I AM NOT CRITICIZING THE ISRAELI RESPONSE. What I find objectionable, however, is your refusal to admit that there could possibly be something that Israel did wrong.

Vox Populi said...

>Any nation or people which allows rocket attacks to take place against its people is in fact in danger of ceasing to be a union.

Reading comprehension, people. I never said Israel should allow rocket attacks.

>The attacks, whether they actually kill anyone or not, terrorize the population & weaken its resolve.

Wait, so even if they don't kill anyone, you would have no reservations about killing, say, 1500 Palestinians? What number is your reservation point, Euthypro?

>From your postings, this sounds like your agenda.

Ooh, I hope not, because that would mean you would get to kill me. Seriously, when anyone criticizes anything you do, are you always this psychotic in response? Or only when it comes to Israel? Because I also don't like hummus.

Co-worker: Ouch! This coffee is too hot.
You: Clearly, you are trying to weaken my resolve. Perhaps you should be killed before you sap it entirely....

>If its not then why the comparison to South Africa and all the baggage that goes along with that?

Yes, where did South Africa come from? Hmmm...I mean Lurker, the poster, was talking about a South African judge, Richard Goldstone, who had apparently been a judge during the South African Apartheid, and was therefore a bad guy. And then, for no reason, I randomly brought up South African Apartheid and Richard Goldstone. Weird.

>We are held to account for our action by the one Creator of all and have been since we accepted the Torah at Har Sinai.

And, tell me, would this Creator be the sort of G-d who was the G-d of all living things? And would that include Palestinians?

Shira said...

I get your point. You are saying that perhaps the overall statements are correct, but they are being said with too much finality as if no one is weighing the details of both Goldstone's report and the Israeli response.

You can say that. I don't remember who talked about perfection - I don't expect perfection from anyone, but I look much more harshly at Goldstone whose overall approach was wrong - despite as maybe someone should say had some good intentions and a few good arguments against some details of the Israeli operation - than I do at Israel who in my opinion was correct to respond militarily.

To get bogged down in the details of whether every little aspect of a war - or a tribunal - was correct or has merits, misses the big picture entirely.

So you can make your point, but it is just that - a teeny, tiny dot, that doesn't have much value as it is.

Sorry. But thanks for clarifying.

Shlomo said...

What I find objectionable, however, is your refusal to admit that there could possibly be something that Israel did wrong.

You sound like a Holocaust denier who keeps saying they are the only honest people around, because everyone else refuses to even consider their position.

We have no problem with saying that only 5.9 million people died in the Holocaust, not 6 million. We also have no problem with saying that some Israeli soldiers acted immorally in Gaza.

But when you say that nobody died in the Holocaust, nobody will bother having a debate with you. And when you assert that Israeli soldiers consistently and intentionally harmed civilians, but don't seriously discuss the obvious fact that Hamas was proud to have harmed as many civilians as possible - similarly, nobody (here at least) will want to have a debate with you.

There are some positions that are so consistently promoted by immoral people for unscrupulous reasons while hiding obvious logical flaws that, even if we are not familiar with the most recent variation of the claim, it is not worth our time and effort to go searching for a refutation yet again.

Yonatan said...

"Wait, so even if they don't kill anyone, you would have no reservations about killing, say, 1500 Palestinians? What number is your reservation point, Euthypro?"

That sums up your worldview pretty well, as I perceive it, based upon your postings to this story. I have absolutely no reservations about using overwhelming deadly force to stop an enemy from trying to kill my brothers & sisters. The fact that they're not successful in their attempt means I get to thank G-d for the miracle, not take it easy on the perps. Lather, rinse, repeat. Of course, you'll reduce this down to me wanting to wipe out all life forms living in the same general direction as someone who frowned at me.

Yonatan said...

"And, tell me, would this Creator be the sort of G-d who was the G-d of all living things? And would that include Palestinians?"

Smart ass alert! Would that also be the same G-d that is watching the rest of the world try their level best to get rid of the Jewish problem. You know that we're not just talking about Pali's here. Who are they backed by? What groups have been pushing this agenda for decades? Pull your head out of it for just a moment and get a breath of fresh air.

Sarah said...

I don't think anyone is going to say that Israel is perfect or that any individual is perfect. I think that every reasonable person should be able to admit that decisions in a war situation are based on information available at the time and that when you start throwing bombs, especially in a highly populated area such as Gaza, accidents can and will happen. From what I have read and heard from people on the ground, the army did what it could to minimize Palestinian "civilian" injuries. That being said, of course once the decision to enter Gaza was made, everyone knows that civilians were going to be hurt and killed. That was an unfortunate side-effect and NOT the goal of the invasion. Palestinians terrorists do purposely try to hurt civilians every day by lobbing bombs at Israel. Luckily, their bombs are pretty crude in general so they rarely actually kill. That being said, they do a good amount of property damage and more importantly they definitely do create TERROR in the hearts and minds of those who live in the area. Also, the terrorists purposely go against the rules of war by hiding in the civilian population, not wearing uniforms (so there is no way to tell who is civilian and who is not), hiding bombs and launching bombs from religious buildings (mosques, obviously) and even from hospitals. They managed their goal of making it very difficult for Israel to launch back at them without hitting "civilian" targets and people. That is a central part of their modus operandi.

Could Israel have allowed the terror to continue unabated? After months and years of threats and requests that Hamas in Gaza stop the attacks, they went in with a stated goal to shut down the terror organization that Hamas was blatantly encouraging to operate. The threat against Israel was WAY WAY WAY more directly correlated and obvious than the threats that the US have responded to, for example hmm...Afghanistan, Iraq!?!?!? It is not like there were bombs being lobbed straight at US citizen's houses from directly from either sovereign nation...and the US continues today with targeted killings and general war actions that cause way more collateral damage than Israel does!!!!

In short, I think that Israel has a policy to behave in as moral a way as they can manage within the limitations they are against. They do not choose to allow all provocations to remain unanswered, but they do their best to minimize the damage. Within the context of what they are up against they are a model of restraint, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was clearly scary to read. Vox posits a rational argument, which does not suggest culpability on the part of Israel, and the readers of this blog go midevil on his derriere, to paraphrase an old movie.
Did any of you read Vox's posts? He is merely suggesting that Lurker's argument is falacious. He did not judge Israel's assault. He just suggested that it wasn't inevitable.
Yet you all attacked him in the least rational way imaginable.
Yet he stuck to his original point. And argued cogently.
And you all continued your irrational attacks.
I would say this: Israel actually did not have a lot of choices. They had shelled Gaza with no effect.They were reluctant to go in, but did when the shelling became an existential issue.
But, but you say it isn't an existential issue.
I would suggest that not responding would merely have caused the attacks to escalate, or at the very least continue. And it seems that all that Hamas understood was brute force.
The proof is that the attacks have subsided.
So I am not proud of Operation Cast Lead, but I would suggest it was inevitable.
In response to the Empire State Building analogy earlier, let me ask: What do you think the U.S. would do if a province of Mexico began shelling Texas regularly?
I think the issue with the Goldstone report is the lack of proportionality in his analysis.

Vox Populi said...

>We have no problem with saying that only 5.9 million people died in the Holocaust, not 6 million. We also have no problem with saying that some Israeli soldiers acted immorally in Gaza. But when you say that nobody died in the Holocaust, nobody will bother having a debate with you. And when you assert that Israeli soldiers consistently and intentionally harmed civilians, but don't seriously discuss the obvious fact that Hamas was proud to have harmed as many civilians as possible - similarly, nobody (here at least) will want to have a debate with you.

I think you've made a false comparison. Me saying that nobody died in the Holocaust is necessarily at odds with me recognizing that, in fact, millions upon millions of people died in the Holocaust. If I didn't recognize that fact, however, I would certainly have to give up any claim to intellectual honesty, as I would not be dealing with the mounds and mounds of historical evidence pointing to the contrary.

But what does Hamas' pride in having harmed as many citizens as possible have to do with whether the Government of Israel acted improperly? They can both be true. I can say that Hamas delights in causing collateral damage and that Israel's response was disproportional (though I haven't). (Is the "you" in your comment referring to me or Goldstone?)

You're just conflating me arguing an opinion that you don't like with me denying the Holocaust, which seems a bit disingenuous. Though to you both arguments may be equally pernicious (which I think you should find disturbing - you have an awful lot invested in the complete righteousness of a political institution I'm almost certain you don't trust that much), they don't become equally dishonest in fact simply because you equate them.

Vox Populi said...

>I have absolutely no reservations about using overwhelming deadly force to stop an enemy from trying to kill my brothers & sisters. The fact that they're not successful in their attempt means I get to thank G-d for the miracle, not take it easy on the perps. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But surely you have a reservation point. I'm assuming, for example, that you wouldn't kill 1,000,000 innocent people to stop an enemy from killing your second cousin once removed (of whom I'm sure you're very fond). And, surely, you wouldn't be willing to sanction any action at all to stop any injustice - e.g., you believe that raping and pillaging is off the table.

Vox Populi said...

>Within the context of what they are up against they are a model of restraint, IMHO.

Perhaps, and I think what you've written is a decent summation of many of the arguments you could make on Israel's behalf. But you agree that just because you have good arguments for one position, does not mean you cannot even consider the truth of another position without being anti-Semite, right?

Vox Populi said...

>In response to the Empire State Building analogy earlier, let me ask: What do you think the U.S. would do if a province of Mexico began shelling Texas regularly?

One of the reasons I dislike using analogies concerning the US and Mexico is that the implicit assumption seems to be that if the US would respond to certain stimuli in a certain way, therefore the conduct is de facto moral. But there's no reason for that to be true in the same sense that just because Israel does something doesn't make it moral. There's no reason for us to put the United States, even arguendo, on a pedestal. As others on this thread have pointed out, the US is currently involved in two large-ish wars whose implications, moral and strategic, were ill-considered, to say the least. The US is not a model of restraint. (This is not to denigrate the United States, which is a force for good, but so are most democracies.) Certainly, Americans don't all automatically assume that everything we did in Iraq and Afghanistan (or for that matter in Panama, Nicaragua, etc.) was the right thing to do. And we have debates and elections on these issues, which are partly responsible for the election of President Obama.

If you had a situation where terrorists in Tijuana were shelling civilians in San Diego, and the situation was similar in every relevant way to the situation leading up to Cast Lead, I don't think we can say with an absolute certainty what exactly the United States would do. There are too many variables, and it would depend in no small part on the ideological affiliations of the people making the decisions. But whatever course of action they chose, even if it was the exact same as the one Israel eventually pursued, that wouldn't necessarily make it OK.

Yonatan said...

"But surely you have a reservation point...e.g., you believe that raping and pillaging is off the table."

My reservation point has nothing to do with a numerical quantity in the context of what our enemy is currently doing to their own civilians - in order to make sure certain things happen (or don't, as the case may be - they win either way). I don't believe a righteous army should rape and pillage, but I have no problem with them using as much deadly force as is required to stop the enemy from doing his deeds. I don't want to argue a stupid nonsensical point with you about where the line should have been drawn at as to how much force exactly was required to get this result. You've lost perspective on the situation and are arguing points that just don't matter. The fact that you think it does and are pressing the issue so much says all I need to know about your priorities.

Vox Populi said...

>My reservation point has nothing to do with a numerical quantity in the context of what our enemy is currently doing to their own civilians - in order to make sure certain things happen...but I have no problem with them using as much deadly force as is required to stop the enemy from doing his deeds.

But it should. It sounds immoral to say that because the enemy is willingly putting the civilians for whom they are legally responsible at risk, therefore it doesn't matter how many of them you kill. Yes, the enemy's conduct is reprehensible, but that doesn't mean you can knowingly kill 1,000,000 people in order to save the life of any number of your own civilians, no matter how small. Rightness and wrongness move in degrees.

Have you ever seen an action movie where the terrorist or villain attempts to elude his pursuer by hiding in a crowd of innocents or taking a hostage as a human shield? Have you ever noticed that the heroic pursuer will never fire through the human shield at the villain? The reason this resonates with viewers as a narrative device is because people recognize that it's not the right thing to do to shoot through the human shield, generally. Of course, you may chalk that up to Hollywood values, which are ipso facto immoral, but the fact remains that if it didn't resonate with people, it wouldn't be so common.

Legal principles also point in a similar direction. In tort, although the negligence of the victim is commonly held to make innocent his injurer, that principle doesn't hold if the injurer saw the danger and proceeded anyway (the last clear chance doctrine). Now, obviously, war is not a fender-bender, but our tort system springs in large part from our commonly held values.

Likewise, a police officer responding to a bank robbery can't just fire indiscriminately at a crowd, even in a felony murder jurisdiction (where the actual bank robber will be held criminally culpable for any deaths resulting from the foreseeable results of his crime spree).

At some point, you must be willing to acknowledge a reservation point, based on at least numbers.

>I don't want to argue a stupid nonsensical point with you about where the line should have been drawn at as to how much force exactly was required to get this result.

I'm not trying to draw that line. I'm trying to argue that there is a line, and that Israelis should not be afraid to find out where it is, either before or after the operation. Simply because you have a right to respond does not mean you have a right to do whatever you want.

Yonatan said...

Your analogy of the crowd or innocent taken by a terrorist is fine for the movies. This is not a movie. This is an enemy that has shown time and again that they will use every means available against our sense of morality. Transport fighters in a marked ambulance? Check. Fire rockets from a schoolyard populated with children? Check. Store munitions in family houses? Check. You name it and they have and will do it. So NO - I have no numerical line. We will stop when they stop. If they don't like innocents being killed, they can stop the reprehensible acts that they are committing against their own population.

At some point you have to face reality here. Your platitudes just aren't applicable in this situation. Please don't stop your consideration here - this goes much further and you know it. This is being directed at us proxy actions by other bigger players. One of the biggest players is Iran. They have openly stated that it would be beneficial to nuke Israel, even considering that a retaliatory strike on Iran by Israel's (supposed) nuclear arsenal would destroy most of Iran in return. Why? Because there are many other Muslim countries in the world which would carry on. Your logic and morality, though fully appreciated when dealing with semi moral opponents, just does not apply here. If you are merciful to the wicked, you will end up being wicked to the merciful.

Anonymous said...

There is an excellent opinion piece in the online edition of the Jerusalem Post, "Desperately Smearing Goldstone." I highly recommend it to anyone who wants perspective on this issue.

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