Talk to Ambassador Rice about the future

Adam Horowitz said it earlier, Israel simply asked and the US delivered.

"We have very serious concerns about many of the recommendations in the [Goldstone] report… We have long expressed our very serious concern with the mandate that was given by the Human Rights Council prior to our joining the council, which we viewed as unbalanced, one-sidee and basically unacceptable… The appropriate venue for this report to be considered is the Human Rights Council [and not the more serious Security Council as the report suggests]… Our view is that we need to be focused on the future."
— Susan E. Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 9/17/2009

The "we" of course stands for "Israel Lobby". Let the administration hear it from you: Click here to go to the Mission website and tell Ambassador Rice that it’s her country’s diplomacy that’s flawed, and not the UN report.
 
[A friend picks up that word "future." Rice's injunction to ignore the Goldstone recommendation to launch an international inquiry on Gaza exactly echoes Obama's resistance to an investigation of the evidence on Guantanamo and the torture lawyers. Both Obama and Rica have said, Look to the future, do not delve into the past. This sounds as if they oppose accountability IN PRINCIPLE. (What could be the name of the principle?)]
Posted in Gaza

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

  1. Donald says:

    The principle is that war crimes trials are for the weak, like defeated dictators and maybe some low-ranking American service personnel—they aren’t for high-ranking Americans or our allies.

    It’s a fairly simple standard to remember. As Chomsky says somewhere, they don’t use double standards–there’s one standard, which is that the powerful are above the law.

  2. ehrens says:

    Excellent idea. And here are some talking points for John Bolton’s replacement:

    link to archive.usun.state.gov

    Dear Ambassador Rice,

    The Jewish Telegraph Agency is reporting that you recently slammed the United Nations’ Goldstone Report, which investigated claims of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead by both Israel and Hamas. You are quoted as saying:

    “We have long expressed our very serious concern with the mandate that was given” to the Goldstone commission by the U.N. Human Right Council “prior to our joining the Council, which we viewed as unbalanced, one-sided and basically unacceptable.”

    I had hoped when I voted for President Obama that his administration would be the first in some time to uphold international law and not simply the law of the jungle. If the JTA has quoted you correctly, this is a very disappointing development. The United Nations and the ICC most certainly do have a mandate to investigate these alleged crimes. I am especially disappointed in you, Ambassador Rice, for not distancing yourself adequately from your predecessor, John Bolton, in his contempt for both the UN and international law.

    Judge Goldstone, himself a South African Jew, led a commission that accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and potential crimes against humanity. The commission will forward its recommendations to the International Criminal Court in the Hague if independent investigations by Israel and Hamas do not occur within 6 months. This face-saving opportunity provides a way for Israel to deal with these crimes itself. The United States should encourage Israel to proceed with a serious investigation of its own, not simply torpedo the commission’s findings.

    The Goldstone report follows two others by Human Rights Watch, one issued on September 13th on the killing of unarmed civilians, another on the 6th concerning Qassam rocket attacks on Israelis. Both the UN and HRW findings are similar.

    B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, carefully documented cases of IDF killings of unarmed civilians, the bombing of ambulances, of the IDF preventing medical personnel from helping the wounded, the use of white phosphorus on civilians, and called on Israel to permit the UN to investigate these allegations. Israel consistently refused, choosing to impede investigations. It is interesting that this is precisely the approach Iran has taken with investigations of its nuclear program.

    Israeli Defense Forces soldiers who participated in the Gaza operation recounted the use of the “Johnny procedure” (using Palestinians as human shields) and the shooting of unarmed civilians, 70 cases of which were documented by B’Tselem. Similar findings were released by a group of soldiers called “Breaking the Silence,” whom the government attempted to intimidate in the months after Cast Lead. On September 9th B’Tselem released its report analyzing the number of civilian casualties which again were consistent with the UN results.

    Another joint report by Israel Physicians for Human Rights and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society documented cases of shooting unarmed civilians and widespread attacks on hospitals and ambulances by the IDF. Employees of the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, and the UN numbered among IDF victims – again corroborating the others.

    All of these reports, and several others, have been remarkably consistent. I have followed these events for the last nine months and have read the Goldstone report myself. For you to summarily dismiss these findings is an affront to reality, to human rights, and to the obligations of civilized nations.

    The day after the Goldstone report was issued, Israel immediately went on the offensive. It flew Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to New York to kick off a number of meetings with Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. Ayalon reportedly told the American Jewish Congress they had to commit to “removing … and torpedoing” the report. The AJC dutifully condemned the findings as “grotesquely distorted” and attacked Human Rights Watch as well. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League labeled the investigation an “initiative born of bigotry.” NGO Monitor, CAMERA, UN Watch, and other pro-Zionist “watch” groups all ratcheted up their attacks on the United Nations and most of the established human rights organizations. And then there is AIPAC.

    I hope you are not buying into this public relations campaign at a time when Israel is thumbing its nose at the President’s call for an end of settlements and has added racial and religious profiling to Americans’ travel visas within Israel and the West Bank.

    Given what has happened at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and with illegal “renditions,” the United States is not in a position to take the moral high road and condemn Israel. But the US also does not need to summarily exonerate Israel either. Such an act would simply be regarded as a mutual defense pact between violators of international law. In Israel the Knesset should convene a special investigator to examine the IDF’s excesses or crimes during Operation Cast Lead. For the United States to assist Israel in sweeping IDF misdeeds under the rug would simply constitute criminal behavior followed by criminal neglect.

    Regards,
    __________

  3. Kathleen says:

    Rice “Our view is that we need to be focused on the future.”

    yeah ignore all of those International reports about war crimes committed, the International World Courts decision that the wall is illegal along with the illegal and immoral settlements. Oh and also ignore all of the UN resolutions that Israel is in violation of.

    Sounds like Rice is taking her directions from the Israel rebranding team.

    “look to the future” sounds like the “move on, turn the page, next chapter” do not be about “retribution, or witch hunts” that many in the Obama administration and our congress keep repeating. What happened to being about justice and accountability.

    Can you imagine the UN or any other body telling Jews just “move on, look to the future, turn the page” etc when it came to the crimes committed against so many during the Hitlers regimes killing spree?

    The double standards and hypocrisy is so alarming.

    And if we take Rice’s advice and A”look forward” you would be looking at the endless expansion of illegal settlements.

    Sure seems like the MSM took Rice’s advice. Not a mention about this report on Rachel Maddow’s, Keith Olbermann’s (you know those liberal talking heads) The Diane Rehm show got right in line and did not even whisper about this report on the round up today.

    The one report on NPR tried to equate the war crimes committed by Israel as the same as the war crimes committed by the Palestinians in the attack by Israel on the Gaza. Fair and balanced reporting…horseshit

    If it were not for Mondoweiss, Amy goodman and many international outlets. the people in the states would not have even heard about this report. Just the way the I lobby and Israel like to keep it

    the MSM stayed in line

    • jimby says:

      Wow, what a great letter. I fear I already sent my statement out which is not nearly
      as eloquent. If the US govt attempts to stifle an investigation it will earn contempt
      from humankind around the world. It will affect how other nations deal with us. At the
      very least we can use an investigation as leverage in case we are seriously
      interested in creating an acceptable solution to the current impasse in Palestine.

  4. MRW says:

    Great letter. I’m traveling, but I’m going to find a Kinkos or facsimile that will allow me to print it out after I make the changes I want to add, and physically mail it in.

  5. Dissent should similarly be focused on the future, meaning change.

    Israel is making a mistake by not saying, “Thank you Dr. Goldstone for the information. We sincerely will (and actually mean will) correct any lapses in discipline and adherence to our adherence to military law. We trust that you will similarly insist that Hamas abide by international law.”

    • Donald says:

      But Dr. Goldstone did similarly insist that Hamas abide by international law. Why is your imaginary Israel lecturing him about this?

      Meanwhile, back in the real world, Israel is behaving like any country correctly accused of committing war crimes (including the US). They’re heatedly denying it. That’s what governments guilty of war crimes do. So is Hamas, in almost exactly the same terms. I can’t understand why Hamas can’t be included in talks just as they are–they already speak the same language and practice the same hypocrisy as any “civilized” American or Israeli diplomat.

      • The heading is a criticsm of the Obama adminstration for “enabling” the Israeli dismissal of the report, isn’t it?

        I contest that the Obama response is not enabling, with blinders, but sees and will or has commented to Israel on the objective need for reform.

        The proof is in the pudding, and is frankly a learning opportunity for Israel, an opportunity to be more effective at its efforts, not weakened but strengthened. And, by that I mean strengthened at developing effective defense responses to aggression.

        The US is not denying the results, it is questioning the methods by which the results were investigated, the original rules of evidence collecting and process that the UN Civil Rights Agency defined the scope of the investigation.

        I’m not sure what “talks” you are referring to. Hamas is not a state, and is not a peer to a state. Why should that precedent be set, that any faction can agitate or terrorize itself to a seat at the adults’ table?

      • This report is a preliminary report for the purpose of pointing to a referral to the ICJ (which itself is more of a grand jury, recommending indictment).

        There is a path to indict Israel as a state. There is none to indict Hamas, a militia. That is one of the signficances of their opportunism in not joining an effort to form an international law subscribing state.

  6. Rehmat says:

    Maybe, Rice is focussed on what the fathers of World Zionist Movement had in mind about the future borders of their Zionist state – from Jerusalem to Damascus; to Amman; to Baghdad; to Beirut and far beyond…Known as “Plan Dalet”

    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com