After UN commission charges Gaza war crimes, PBS affords Michael Oren a platform

The Israeli p.r. disaster that was the Gaza slaughter is being compounded 9 months on by the country’s scorn for the U.N. commission report holding that both sides committed war crimes. Haaretz says that Israel is mounting an international effort to nullify the Goldstone commission’s report–out of fear that the country could end up in the dock at the Hague. JTA says Israel will dispense with the report with one line of spin:

"The same U.N. that allows the president of a country to announce on a podium its aspiration to destroy the State of Israel has no right to teach us about morality," Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Haaretz says that Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, has dismissed the report out of hand. Before it began.


"We did not want to cooperate with the commission from the beginning, because its mandate has always been one-sided," said Shalev. "The Human Rights Council is known as a body constantly critical of Israel.

 
"We knew the report would be biased and one-sided, but did not imagine that it would be so harsh," she added.

So much for the deaths of hundreds of civilians who could not even flee. The U.N. doesn’t count. On PBS’s News Hour, Gwen Ifill repeatedly challenged Justice Richard Goldstone’s fairness, rather than focusing on the allegation of war crimes. This tack began with Ifill’s statement, "Different accounts place the number of Palestinian casualties at or around 1,400, including an undetermined number of civilians."

Well that’s not helpful. B’tselem lately said, 320 minors and 111 women. More:

GWEN IFILL: The term "even-handed" is the problem that Israel has with the conclusions in the report. Your criticism of Israel seems so much harsher than that of the Palestinians. Why is that?…

[Later] GWEN IFILL: Did your investigation lead you to conclude that there are individuals who should be held culpable either on the Israeli or the Palestinian side of this?

Goldstone seemed surprised by that. He doesn’t investigate individuals. He was investigating the overall conduct of the war.

Well, that wasn’t part of our mandate. We looked into the question as to whether violations, war crimes, violations of human rights law were committed. It would be up to a criminal investigator, a prosecutor, hopefully in Israel, hopefully in the Gaza, to look into the question of individual guilt. That wasn’t part of our agenda.

Remarks a friend: So corroded are the legitamoid brains of the MSM by American
protocol of denial, "a few bad apples" on Guantanamo/Abu Ghraib/Haditha, that
she was surprised to note his incredulity and hardly seemed able to register
his answer: governments are responsible for acts they order in time of war.

And who did the NewsHour bring on for fairness-and-balance, against Goldstone?
Michael Oren, ambassador to the U.S.. Israel vs. the United Nations. That was how they had it scored. The voice of a Palestinian was never heard.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Beyondoweiss, Gaza

{ 65 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Donald says:

    It’s even worse than you’re describing, because Ifill let Oren get away with a continual stream of lies and half truths and towards the end she was acting as though he had refuted the report. In his version Israel ended the occupation and was rewarded with rockets. Israel is the total victim, always doing its best to avoid civilian deaths, blah, blah, blah. The UN is viciously biased, etc… No separation made between what might go on in the General Assembly and the professionalism of UN workers on the ground. There was no one there to challenge Oren’s propaganda. Goldstone was interviewed first and had been very low key and non-inflammatory and wasn’t there to defend his report and no other human rights group, Israeli, international, or Arab, was there to express an opinion. Of course no Arabs. Why would PBS think any Arab had any right to an opinion on this?

    This was a truly contemptible performance. PBS should be raked over the coals for this piece of journalistic garbage.

    • VR says:

      PBS was assaulted a number years back for not being “balanced.” Than it was threatened by the government that its funds would be cut off and “recommendations” were made. PBS got to stay on the air as long as it packed its board with Zionists. It has become much a joke as HANNITY and combs on the fox news network.

  2. Kathleen says:

    The problem is that Iranian President Ahmadenejad never said Iran wants to ‘wipe Israel off the map” Professor Juan Cole debunked that unsubstantiated and endlessly repeated claim several years ago. Although folks like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Stephanapoulous, Bob Schieffer, David Gregory and many more have allowed that debunked statement to be repeated so often it is tough to keep count. Hell I have heard NPR’s Fresh Air host Terri Gross repeat “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” numerous times herself.

    The media is doing about as good as job on the Iran situation as they did in the run up to the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. They are not challenging anyone who repeats these unsubstantiated claims about Iran.

    Professor Juan Cole at Informed Comment

    “But the actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.” It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.

    Since Mr. Hitchens wants to splash my private mail all over the internet against my will, as though he were himself an agent of the Bush Administration’s electronic spying on the private conversations of Americans, I’m glad to share the message that encapsulates the results of our deliberations at Gulf2000.”

    link to juancole.com

    —————————————————————–

    so here we go again Israel flipping the script, distraction, unwilling to take any responsibility for their crimes, divert, distract and deny

    • The problem with Juan Cole’s and your repetition of the theory that Ahmenidijad did not say “wipe Israel from the map”, is that the translation was provided to Al-Jazeera and then the Washington Post by the Iranian Foreign Press Service directly.

      link to web.archive.org

      Ahmadinejad: Israel must be wiped off the map

      01:34:13 È.Ù
      Tehran, Oct 26 – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

      “The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” the President told a conference in Tehran entitled ‘the world without Zionism’.

      “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land,” he said.

      “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” said Ahmadinejad, referring to the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini.

      Please stop the revisionist interpretation of their own statements. Maybe he meant merely, that Israel will pass (like Iran will pass), but the quote was verifiably accurate.

      • Citizen says:

        Here’s a bit more context:
        link to examiner.com

      • spuxx says:

        A three year mis-quote or rather mis-mis-quote, of a president who has neither the means or the authority to persue such an action, is being to used to justify Isralei crimes not in Iran, but in Gaza.

        Surley this is where one’s ire should lie, with those who would strech and strain to justify criminality, not those who try to excavate and examine the evidence.

        You yourself admit that the quote can be interpreted as entirely passive, so should you not critise Reuven Rivlin who said “The same U.N. that allows the president of a country to announce on a podium its aspiration to destroy the State of Israel has no right to teach us about morality,”

      • Colin Murray says:

        No, Richard, it wasn’t. The whole point is that it was MIS-translated from Farsi to English by the Iranians. Whose competence do you seriously expect anyone with two brain cells to trust, the eminent scholar Juan Cole or some two-bit hack propagandist? If Dr. Cole issues a retraction, I’ll revisit the issue, otherwise I will assume that nay-sayers are either ignorant enough to swallow their own propaganda (a classic sign of mental weakness), or are delighted by the Iranian own goal and are milking misrepresentation of the man’s words for all its worth to draw attention away from Israeli ethnic cleansing and colonization in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Smearing people with lies is a poor strategy if the objective is to find common ground with them, unless of course the objective is not to.

      • You’re really straining credibility to state that the IRIB press service, whose job is to translate into English (among others) would mistranslate.

        Even “melted into the sea eventually” with Iran’s help, is a statement of aggression.

      • MRW says:

        You’re wrong, Richard. Here’s another source:
        link to informationclearinghouse.info

        And the NYT apologized for printing the incorrect MEMRI translation 30 days later.

    • LeaNder says:

      I think the argument is not too good. He may not have said “Israel should be wiped of the map” but suggest that in time it will disappear. But this is clearly an allusion to his speech at the UN, and not his earlier statement.

      Thus my point would be different. And yes, I was very irritated by the speech and its overall design, not the partially justifiable complaints, would be that this argument ignores the propagandist and diplomatic activities against Durban II. Which in a way created the scenario that it now can point it’s finger at blaming the UN collectively, as if it collectively supported Ahmadinejad’s speech.

      That’s intellectually dishonest, with the usual tricks: selective choice, collective attribution.

  3. bob says:

    Unveiling the tu-quoque strategy?

    Sounds a lot like the last tu-quoque strategy.

    wake me up when the Israeli government doesn’t respond with a rhetorical fallacy.

  4. Dan Kelly says:

    If anybody on this site is a paying member of PBS, please call or write PBS and tell them you’re not renewing your membership due to Ifill’s pitiful performance and PBS’ continual unbalanced Middle East reporting that favors Israel beyond absurdity. Say it in no uncertain terms.

    Then give your money to Mondoweiss.

  5. Chris Moore says:

    “We did not want to cooperate with the commission from the beginning, because its mandate has always been one-sided,” said Shalev. “The Human Rights Council is known as a body constantly critical of Israel.

    From Israel to Goldman Sachs, Zionist defense of nearly every criticism invariably comes down to some variation of: It’s all motivated by anti-Semitism!

    link to thedailybeast.com

    What’s so infuriating is that even after all these years and countless heinous abuses that would have gotten any other transgressor tarred and feathered…it still works!

    Far from being singled out or picked on, clearly we are living in a Jewish supremacist age where the rules that apply to others simply don’t apply to Jews.

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” — Animal Farm

    Orwell saw this reality in his allegory of Communism, but as it turns out, it’s a reality in bastardized Capitalism, as well.

    You’ve got to hand ’em one thing…they sure know how to play all the angles.

  6. James says:

    aside from the obvious lie that always gets repeated , does israel really want to present itself as being opposed to free speech at the UN?? it sure sounds like it!!!

    “The same U.N. that allows the president of a country to announce on a podium its aspiration to destroy the State of Israel has no right to teach us about morality,” Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    the usa worked hard to discredit the un prior to war on iraq… now we have israel trying to discredit the un for different reasons… surely they must see the folly in their words and actions here… apparently they think most people are stupid…

  7. Dan Kelly says:

    Speaking of biased media, did anyone catch Bret Stephens’ article in the Tuesday Wall Street Journal? It’s titled “Is Obama Pushing Israel Toward War”

    link to online.wsj.com

    A friend writes:

    “What is the WSJ trying to say here?

    By going through the charade of phony negotiations Obama is pushing Israel to war? What a Zio-centric perspective.

    We are to presume that one of the two nations must destroy Israel’s challenger, so if the US fails to do Israel’s bidding it is responsible for Israel’s crimes. Not only that but the US must be guilty of furtively “wanting Israel to attack”. It is an article of faith that the US has an interest in containing Israel’s enemies, no US motive is cited however.

    This report in the WSJ coupled with the quoted Bipartisan Policy Center position is proof of Zionist domination of US media and politics.

    Of course Obama is hectored to just shut up and go to war.”

    Stephens was the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002-2004.

    • Oscar says:

      It’s well-documented in “The Israel Lobby” that Bret Stephens is a hard-core Zionist. His columns in the WSJ constantly agitate for the US to go to war on Israel’s behalf. Yesterday’s column was an atrocity, trying to get Obama to push the button to decimate Iran’s “nuclear capability” because Israel keeps threatening to bomb Natanz itself. After reading Bret’s hissy fit in the op-ed pages of the Journal yesterday, it becamse apparent that this is just another neo-con “Clean Break” scam, pushing the fiction that the US has responsiblity to go after Iran. If you read between the lines, the reason is that the blowback from such an attack would be tremendous (tripling of oil prices, attacks on American soldiers in the region, destabilization of the Middle East), and Bret doesn’t want Israel to take the heat for that, he wants Uncle Sam to take the hit (and pay for it, and put American lives at risk). Bret is an Israel-first hasbara master, with a huge megaphone at the Journal. Israel-first! Israel-first!

  8. jawad says:

    More shame in Tornoto. Roger Ebert lies about the “boycott”. I hope many of you let him know your feelings.
    link to blogs.suntimes.com

    Roger Ebert is responsible for the most disgraceful thing ever said in a movie review. Siskel and Ebert show did a special on bigotry in movie in the mid 90′s. They showed examples of and denounced negative portrayals of Blacks, Jews, Asians, native Americans and women. At the very end of the show they quickly brought up Arabs and Muslims and actually accepted and approved of the bigotry. Gene Siskel said that Arabs will always be portrayed this way since they are always blowing things up. Ebert nodded in agreement, and that was the end of the show.

    • Dan Kelly says:

      I commented in Roger Ebert’s journal. There were only two comments so far, one taking the protesters’ to task, and the other just citing a humanitarian quote. My comment is “awaiting moderation.”

      • jawad says:

        Hey Dan, Look! Ebert changed his mind after we wrote to him.

        I’m writing this the day after first posting this entry. I now regret it. The point I make about artists is perfectly valid but I realize I wasn’t prepared with enough facts about the events leading up to the Festival’s decision to showcase Tel Aviv in the City-to-City section. I thought of it as an innocent goodwill gesture, but now realize it was part of a deliberate plan to “re-brand” Israel in Toronto, as a pilot for a larger such program. The Festival should never have agreed to be used like this. It was naive for the plan’s supporters to believe it would have the effect they hoped for. The original entry remains below. The first 50 or so comments were posted before these regrets.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        jawad, I just got tears in my eyes as I read that. I became emotional thinking about all the times that people have written about this issue and gotten no response, or gotten an even angrier response in return.

        Alright Roger Ebert!

        I hope he watches Occupation 101.

    • Oscar says:

      Jawad, interesting that pro-Zionists are labeling it a “boycott.” Interestingly, most of the MSM has been avoiding any linkage between the words “Israel” and “boycott” lest the great unwashed masses connect the two and start putting it into action, a la South Africa. Brand Israel is an unmitigated disaster and it’s causing a civil war in liberal Hollywood between the true realistist Progressives and what Phil calls the PEPs — Progressive Except Palestine.

      Sign the petition:
      link to salsa.democracyinaction.org

  9. VR says:

    I was just listening to Amy Goodman interview Naomi Klein again, and toward the end of the interview she encapsulated the scenario and what our responsibility is –

    “When government fails, and the international community fails, and the UN fails to bring justice, than people have to step in and fill that gap, that vacuum. That has happened in the past and its going to happen again. This is why I think there is such an incredible fear and backlash against on attempts to put other kinds of pressure on the state of Israel. Not to just leave it up to Obama to talk to Netanyahu and hope that it works out. People are seeing the failure of just high level moral suasion , and we know there are other tools in the diplomatic arsenal besides just talk, besides just Obama mentioning to Netanyahu that he shouldn’t build more settlements and Netanyahu just proceeding to ignore him. There is billions in military aid, there are all of these honors that are given to countries and these relationships, and all of them are treated when it comes to Israel as totally untouchable and there is an international movement that is growing that is saying – actually they are not untouchable, we need to use all of these levers in the case of Israel, just like we have the right to use them with any other country that refuses to abide by international law.”

    • Chris Moore says:

      “When government fails, and the international community fails, and the UN fails to bring justice, than people have to step in and fill that gap, that vacuum. That has happened in the past and its going to happen again. ”

      That’s called Populism, and its the force that can also bring down the Israel lobby — and all its sycophants, too. The corrupt Establishment of both Left and Right despise it…maybe for that very reason.

  10. Shmuel says:

    Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Israel also refused to cooperate with the MacBride Commission at the time, and dismissed its damning findings as a “blood libel”. 400,000 Israelis protested at Tel-Aviv’s Malchei Yisrael Square, and an Israeli commission of inquiry (the Kahan Commission) was appointed. The Kahan Report was naturally less harsh than the MacBride Report, but still recommended that Ariel Sharon never be allowed to hold public office again. Ariel Sharon remained in public office and eventually went on to become prime minister.

    Israeli culpability in the Gaza massacre is far greater than in Sabra and Shatila (although the MacBride Commission also investigated Israel’s general actions in Lebanon, and reached conclusions remarkably similar to Gladstone’s on Gaza), yet there will be no “Demonstration of 400,000″ in Tel-Aviv this time. So please lets celebrate Tel-Aviv and not alienate Israelis, and admire the complexity of Israeli democracy. And let’s not forget the crucial debate over what exactly constitutes “natural growth” on stolen Palestinian lands.

  11. Rehmat says:

    I wish someone other than Dr. Ahmadinejad tell the dupes in the UN that the only country “Wiped-off the Map” is the 5000-year-old Palestine. The World Atlas 1947 shows Palestine – but not Israel.

    However, the so-called “Wipe Israel off the map” – is another Zionist stick to beat up its critics – invented by Zionist-created MEMRI by mistranslating Dr. ahmadinejad’s Persian speech in which he never mentioned the words “Israel” or “Jews”. He called for the destruction of the “Zionist regime” in occupied Palestine.

    “Ahmadinejad beyond the Zionist propaganda”

    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

  12. potsherd says:

    Goldstone’s Israeli daughter says her father actually soft-pedaled Israel’s crimes in his report. If anything his bias is Israeli. link to haaretz.com

    “Had Richard Goldstone not served as the head of the UN inquiry into the Gaza war, the accusations against Israel would have been harsher, Goldstone’s daughter, Nicole, said in an interview conducted in Hebrew with Army Radio on Wednesday.

    “My father took on this job because he thought he is doing the best thing for peace, for everyone, and also for Israel,” Nicole Goldstone told Army Radio.

    She added that her father wrestled with the decision to take on the task. “It wasn’t easy [for him],” Nicole Goldstone said. “My father did not expect to see and hear what he saw and heard.”"

  13. potsherd says:

    Richard Goldstone points out that Israel has not even attempted to refute a single detail from his report. link to maannews.net

    “There hasn’t been any attempt thus far to deal with the contents of the report at all,” insisted the former South African justice”

    In fact, he points out that the condemnations began before it was possible for the Israelis to have read the 600 pg report.

  14. VR says:

    That is because they believe that they do not have to read it, that they are “above” the investigation or above reproach – such is the condition of this government. Not only do they think they are above it, but because they KNOW what they did they refuse to read it. Last they do not believe they have to read it because they know no action will be taken against them, and even if it does their USA buddy will thwart it in the security council. Total impunity for crimes committed will be afforded by this US administration just like the last. Remember this post.

  15. Ed_Frias says:

    Shmuel, do you believe your lies?
    What would any country do if terrorists were firing thousands of rockets at Israel.
    If Germany were firing thousands of rockets at England. How do you think the British would react? Does the city Dresden bring back a memory.
    Do you expect Israel to do nothing?
    Go Blame Hamas for firing rockets behind civilians and using civilians as human shields.

    • Shmuel says:

      Thanks for stopping by Ed. I’ll reverse the question (minus the gratuitous insult): What would you do if terrorists were firing thousands of rockets, mortars, bombs, etc. at Gaza (not to mention imposing a devastating blockade, demolishing thousands of homes, etc.)? … Do you expect the Palestinians to do nothing? Go blame Israel for firing at and starving civilians and using civilians as human shields.

      • tree says:

        Ah, yes, I remember when England bombed Belfast after suffering years of IRA bombings. Oh wait. That didn’t happen.

        Shmuel’s point is a good one, Ed. If Israel is justified in decimating Gaza and killing over a thousand because of the limited Israeli casualties from home-made rockets ( around 8 or so killed in 5 years), then what is Gaza justified in doing in response to Israel’s decades of occupation, killing and now their blockade that is seriously harming millions? If you’ve got two sets of rules, one for what Israel is justified in doing, and another for what Gaza is justified in doing, then you are thinking like a bigot and a jingoist.

  16. Ed_Frias says:

    A must read for all the radicals on here.

    link to jpost.com
    Candidly speaking: End the blood libels against Israel &the IDF
    Aug 3, 2009
    ISI LEIBLER

    The current global campaign accusing the IDF of “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” exceeds all the obscene libels that have ever been launched against the Jewish state.

    One of Israel’s proudest achievements is the IDF code of conduct, which instills awareness that Israelis are obliged to act as role models of decency.

    It is all the more impressive that such an ethical military code was implemented in Israel, the only country in the world which from its inception has been obliged to defend itself continuously from overt and terrorist onslaughts by neighbors who regard the elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the region as their primary objective.

    In fact, in an age when millions of innocent civilians are being butchered during ethnic upheavals in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, one can only attribute dark motives to the shameful demonization of the Jewish state.

    Equally indecent is the adoption of Israel as the bête noir of most “liberal” human rights organizations, which invest disproportionate efforts in defaming the region’s only democracy. Some of this can be attributed to the financial support they receive from foreign governments and organizations intent on undermining the Jewish state. The hypocrisy of these groups was exemplified when one of the principal NGOs – Human Rights Watch – recently raised funds in Saudi Arabia (a country hardly renowned for concern with human rights) to defeat “pro-Israel pressure groups.”

    THE GLOBAL campaign against Israel is spearheaded by a United Nations subsidiary inappropriately titled the Human Rights Council. This body, headed by countries like Iran and Libya, makes a mockery of justice and human rights and concentrates primarily on bashing Israel. Hell bent on defaming the IDF, it formed a fact-finding mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone to review alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The terms of reference did not mention Hamas, which publicly lauds the killing of Jewish civilians and had launched over 12,000 missiles against the Jewish state. The composition of the committee guarantees that the findings will be in sync with the bias of the parent body. Israel was thus absolutely justified in refusing to cooperate.

    What Israel did to minimize civilian casualties during the Gaza operation was described by Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, as unparalleled in the history of warfare. The 160-page report issued by the Foreign Ministry noted that the same IDF accused of war crimes dropped 2.5 million leaflets and telephoned 165,000 civilians providing them four hours’ notice to evacuate areas in advance of airborne attacks. Missions were cancelled at the last moment after discovering that civilians had been placed as human shields next to ammunition dumps or rocket launchers. Efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza were infinitely more wide ranging than those applied by American and European forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    When one compares Israeli behavior to that of countries like Russia in Chechnya, the barbaric mass murders in Darfur (recently “justified” by the Islamic Conference), the genocide in the Congo and the brutal killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the concerted hatred directed against Israel by Western countries becomes mind boggling. It is as though we had reverted to the Dark Ages, when Jews were blamed for all the woes of mankind, from blood libels to poisoning the wells and spreading plague. This is borne out by the bizarre findings of European opinion polls which view Israel more negatively than such rogue states as North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Iran.

    What makes this situation even more surrealistic is the behavior of a small but highly-vocal group of Israelis who endorse the despicable libels orchestrated by those seeking to defame their country’s acts of self-defense. The occasionally abused expression “self-hating Jews” best describes those academics, journalists and NGOs who collaborate with fanatic anti-Israel groups abroad. They have now stooped to even more unconscionable depths by trying to defame the noble youths who are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend their people and homeland.

    They replicate the same disgusting behavior displayed a few months ago when Haaretz highlighted allegations accusing the IDF of Cossack-like killing sprees – allegations utterly without foundation, subsequently proven to have been based entirely on gossip. But by the time the fraud was exposed the damage was done, and Israel had been besmirched in papers throughout the world.

    WITH MONEY from European governments and other foreign donors, the defamers have formed a new group called Breaking the Silence and once again quote unnamed soldiers who babble on anonymously about “war crimes.” They justify the anonymity by making the outrageous claim that whistle-blowers risk being punished, despite common knowledge that if the IDF ever behaved in such a manner the independent Israeli media would have a field day lambasting it. They have the gall to demand an independent investigation of the IDF – something that no country in the world has ever undertaken.

    Needless to say, in any war, even with the greatest efforts to maintain moral standards, occasional individual breaches and malpractices are inevitable. The litmus test of a democracy is whether such cases are covered up or prosecuted. IDF Judge Advocate-General Brig-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit has systematically investigated every accusation, and if misconduct was discovered, the offender was punished. To date there has not been a single case of behavior that could be defined as a deliberate intention to kill civilians.

    Stealing a credit card or looting an Arab home is despicable and must be severely punished, but neither compares to wanton killing or qualifies as a crime against humanity. Should further examples of individual malpractice be exposed, the parties involved will undoubtedly also be prosecuted.

    War involves life-and-death situations; mistakes are made and innocents inevitably die. But in maintaining our moral standards, we are also obliged to ensure that we do not go to the other extreme and endanger the lives of our soldiers by preventing them from defending themselves.

    NOT SO long ago, it would have been inconceivable for any sane Israeli to accuse our sons of war crimes. The public outcry would have been deafening and those defaming our soldiers would have been pariahs. There are laws in a democracy which protect an individual from defamation and punish those who besmirch the innocent. Israel is at war and the battle for minds is a key component. To besmirch a nation by falsely portraying its soldiers as wanton murderers is an act of infamy that would be treasonable in most countries. Allowing degenerate nihilists the right to promote outright lies not only undermines national morale, it also compromises our security.

    Legislation should be introduced enabling the prosecution of those knowingly disseminating slanders and defaming the nation enabling the prosecution of those knowingly disseminating slanders and defaming the nation whilst endeavoring not to curtail freedom of expression and also to oblige groups obtaining funds from foreign governments to register as foreign agents.

    The struggle to retain our reputation as a decent and moral people is a major component in our battle for peace. If we fail to clean up our domestic cesspool, we open the door for our enemies and the anti-Semites who seek to destroy us.

    Israeli culpability in the Gaza massacre is far greater than in Sabra and Shatila (although the MacBride Commission also investigated Israel’s general actions in Lebanon, and reached conclusions remarkably similar to Gladstone’s on Gaza), yet there will be no “Demonstration of 400,000″ in Tel-Aviv this time. So please lets celebrate Tel-Aviv and not alienate Israelis, and admire the complexity of Israeli democracy. And let’s not forget the crucial debate over what exactly constitutes “natural growth” on stolen Palestinian lands.

  17. Ed_Frias says:

    Shmuel, your statement about Sabra and Chatilla is laughable.
    What you had in Sabra and Chatilla was Arabs killing Arabs.
    Which happens all the time.
    Not one single Israeli killed any Arab there.

    The person who ordered the killings, was Elie Hobeika, not Ariel Sharon. Right after Sabra and Chatilla, Hobeika was given refuge by Assad.
    It was then learned by Hobeika’s body guard, Roger Hatem, Elie Hobeika was a Syrian agent in the 82 War. Roger Hatem wrote a book called, from Israel to Damascus.

    Hatem documents, how Hobeika ordered the killings at Sabra and Chatilla to make Israel look bad, so Syria could control Lebanon. The only reason why the Christians went along with Hobeika’s orders, was to avenge the thousands of Christians, who were killed by the PLO in Lebanon. 2nd, in 1985, the Syrian backed Amals Shiites, attacked the same Sabra camp and killed 650 Arabs.

    From 1985 to 1987, in battles with the PLO and the Syrian backed Shiite Amals, 2000 Arabs were killed, half of whom were civilians.
    Ofcourse when Arabs kill Arabs, nobody seems to care.

    Going back to Hatem. What Hatem documents in his book. Sharon told Hobeika, only to go after the armed PLO gunman in Sabra. Sharon made very clear to Hobeika, not to target any civilians. Hobeika agreed to the orders. Then Hobeika gave his own orders to his men. Kill anyone they see in Sabra. Hobeika did this on orders from Assad to make Israel look bad.

    If the Arabs are so concerned about the people killed in Sabra and Chatilla, why did Syria and Lebanon protect the person who ordered the killings? (Elie Hobeika).
    Why didn’t Syria or Lebanon prosecute Hobeika?
    Hobeika and his people are responsible for the people who were killed.
    I should also point out, Assad put Hobeika in the Syrian controlled Lebanese parliament for 10 years.

    • Shmuel says:

      Hello again Ed. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis and an official Israeli commission of inquiry view Israeli responsibility (no one claims the Israelis were actually doing the killing) for Sabra and Shatila quite differently. But I guess you know best.

  18. Ed_Frias says:

    Rehmat, There was never a country called Palestine. There was never a people called Palestinians, until Yasser Terrorfat created a ficticious people in 1964. The only state to exist as an independent state in ancient times and modern times was Israel. Most of the so called Palestinians were brought to the country from Syria and Egypt in the early 1900s because of all the economic opportunities the Jews created.

  19. Ed_Frias says:

    Richard Witty, if you want to understand Arafat, please read this.
    Richard Silverstein is afraid to debate me cause he knows he cant win a debate when he’s challenged. Thats why he bars anyone who challenges his radical theories.
    Arafat’s Grand Strategy
    link to meforum.org

    • potsherd says:

      Do keep chiding Richard Witty for the lukewarm temperature of his Zionism, it’s the only value you have here.

    • Ah, I see now. Arafat wasn’t really confined to his compound under Israeli bombardment nor did he die mysteriously in a French Hospital. That was all staged by Jew-haters.

      He actually left behind a double and moved about stealthily as a ninja-jihad, fomenting terror and anti-semitism wherever his wicked trail wended.

      Thanks for clearing that up.

    • I don’t assume that Arafat abandoned his emphasis on Palestinian nationalism, nor think that he should have.

      I note that like Sharon, his views changed materially over the course of years, nearly close enough to achieve a peace agreement, but not quite.

      I respect his courage to state, “we accept the state of Israel as Israel and seek to live in peace”, even if he hedged, as Sharon and Olmert hedged.

      A commitment to live in peace allows for defense, but demands that policies be oriented to mutual health and respect, so that violations are only exceptions, not norms.

      So, I observe that Israel continues a gradual annexation strategy, even as the majority of its electorate have voted for parties that describe that strategy as leading to an apartheid-like relationship with Palestine and Palestinians.

      Looking more closely at the term “leading to”, by strategy, at some moment it reaches that point if the strategy continues, as it makes sovereign Palestine inviable.

      To cite from real left field:
      4 million years ago, North and South America did not touch. There was an open equatorial ocean, with allowed for open water circulation on the planet as a whole. The continents gradually drifted closer and closer until at some point the ocean circulation at the equator was restricted, and then cut off entirely.

      The effect of the last 100 miles of that shift was qualitatively enormous for the planet, though insignificant in miles. As a result of that, there was no equatorial water circulation and the pre-existing global 100,000+ cycles of earth wobble and regular changes in orbit around the sun had material effects on the climate. Instead of infinitesimal effect on climate, when the equatorial circulation ceased, the earth shifted to glacial cycles every 100,000 years or so. Glaciars gradually built up over 40,000 years, spread, flattened, absorbed 300 feet of sea level water, then melted, dried up in regular cycles, 32 times or so over the last 3.5 million years.

      Thats what is happening in Palestine, with the settlement expansion between East Jerusalem and Maale Adumin. We’re at around 6 million years ago. Still 3 million years to go before the equatorial circulation is bottled up. The qualitative climatic change occurred before the continents met.

      Unlike continental drift, we can choose to keep a healthy viable Palestine, a prospective good neighbor, a possibility.

  20. Ed_Frias says:

    Jacqueline_Hyde, you obviously need a history lesson.

    link to headlines.agapepress.org
    Terrorist Admits Orders to Kill Come from Arafat
    Horowitz: Hate, Not Homeland, Motivates Palestianian Leader
    By Fred Jackson and Chad Groening
    March 14, 2002

    A Palestinian terrorist has told USA Today that his orders to kill Israeli citizens come from Yasser Arafat.

    The paper identifies the terrorist as 33-year-old Maslama Thabet. He says the group he leads, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, is an integral part of Fatah. Fatah, headed by Arafat himself, is the largest group in the Palestinian Authority. In the interview, Thabet says “we are the armed wing of the organization … we receive our instructions from Fatah … our commander is Yasser Arafat himself.”

    The newspaper notes that in a televised address last Saturday, as Palestinians launched suicide attacks in Netanya and Jerusalem, Arafat urged Palestinians to “sacrifice themselves as martyrs in jihad for Palestine.”

    The report in USA Today goes on to quote Palestinian Authority officials who say most members of the Brigade receive salaries from Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. As an example, it says the leader of the Brigade in Nablus is a salaried officer in the Palestinian National Security Force, one of 14 armed police and security services that report to Arafat.

    Thabet’s admission would seem to confirm what conservative activist David Horowitz says about Arafat, that he is a “murderer and a terrorist.” Horowitz says Yasser Arafat is not motivated by any desire to establish a Palestinian homeland, as widely reported in the media.

    Horowitz, who is president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, says the Palestinian strongman is motivated by hate. “Yasser Arafat is a murderer and a terrorist,” he says. “Arabs got 90% of the Palestine mandate, and Jordan is still a country which contains 80% of the land mass of the so-called ‘Palestine mandate.’ Something like 70% of the Jordanian population are Palestinian. They never want a state in Jordan because it’s not run by Jews. They’re Jew-haters, that’s what they are. They’re Christian haters.”

    Horowitz believes Secretary of State Colin Powell is “weak” when it comes to his dealings with Arafat. “I think Colin Powell is very bad on this issue, as he is on many issues; but, he’s a tremendous strength for the Republican Party being there,” he says. “As long as Bush keeps his head on his shoulders and keeps him in check, I’m happy.”

    Horowitz believes Arafat should be on a top ten most-wanted list because he says the Palestinian terrorist was responsible for killing an American ambassador.

  21. Ed_Frias says:

    Jacqueline_Hyde, its not looking good for you.

    link to geocities.com

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