The war that was launched this past weekend against the Goldstone report in the New York Times is aimed at the mildmannered Sec’y General of the United Nations. So Norman Finkelstein tells me, and this Haaretz piece confirms. On February 5, Ban Ki-moon will report to the General Assembly on the progress of the report (which was published last summer by the UN Human Rights Council). Before then Ban will have gotten the Israeli gov’t’s response to the Goldstone report–its effort to nullify the findings–and Haaretz says the goal is to get Ban to say, I accept the Israeli response to the charges, let the Israelis investigate the Gaza slaughter.
Today the campaign for Ban is playing… the Holocaust card! "Israeli leadership is planning an all-out attack on the report to coincide with Wednesday’s anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz."– AFP. Israeli leaders are rushing to Auschwitz this week, even as the Israeli information minister has declared the report to be "anti-Semitic."
The world will mark International Holocaust Day on Wednesday. Monday will see President Shimon Peres fly to Berlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leave for a visit to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. They will be joined by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Budapest and Information Minister Yuli Edelstein in New York. Before meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Edelstein referred to the report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, calling it "anti-Semitic".
The Israelis are also turning to human rights organizations in this war. Note that in his New York Times in which he published the Israeli claims re Goldstone without contradiction, Ethan Bronner put forward the Arab League report on the Gaza war, prepared by John Dugard, in an effort to make Judge Goldstone seem extreme. Bronner also deployed the Israeli human-rights orgs Breaking the Silence and B’tselem for his tendentious assertion that "virtually no one in Israel" believes that Israel targeted civilians in the war, as Goldstone alleged.
“I do not accept the Goldstone conclusion of a systematic attack on civilian infrastructure,” said Yael Stein, research director of B’Tselem. “It is not convincing."
Yes, and Gaza was reduced to rubble, and numerous police stations and the jail and the legislature and schools and hospitals were targeted and/or destroyed. I wonder what Stein would call that infrastructure? Terrorist infrastructure? "Stein’s comment is an outrageous falsehood, as anyone knowing the timing of the destruction can confirm: 90% of the destruction in the last 72 hours while Israel was withdrawing and in full control of the territory; 2,000 homes were destroyed in that period," explains Finkelstein.
The scholar reminds me that both B’tselem and Breaking the Silence are targets of an Israeli Foreign Ministry effort to end their foreign funding. Rightwing Israeli polls have called B’tselem a "trojan horse." This is mortal combat…