Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reaction to Goldstone

Haaretz has an analysis dump on the Goldstone report up on their website. The points are basically as follows:

FM Lieberman, as reported by Barak Ravid, predictably argues that Israel acted in its own defense, the U.N. charges are ludicrous and not based on facts.

Ari Shavit takes the relativist view: If you criticize Israel for Gaza, you have to criticize Obama for the airstrike in Afghanistan on September 4 which killed 90 people, mostly innocent.

Kayne West argues that Beyonce would have written a better report on Gaza.

Amira Hass, in an unexpectedly level-headed article, makes the point that Israelis don't deny many of the acts committed in Gaza, they just legitimize them.

Gideon Levy argues that Israel is killing the messenger by mudslinging at Richard Goldstone, the report's author, as well as other human rights organizations like HRW, Amnesty, B'tselem, and Breaking the Silence.

Haaretz newspaper argues that an Israeli inquiry committee should be formed, as with the panel formed in the wake of the killings in Sabra and Shatilla in Lebanon

Aluf Benn argues that Israel's international legitimacy has been seriously reduced, impairing its ability to go to war in the future.

Israel Harel calls the UN report "venomous" and says "
The enemy pretends to be looking out for our morality. It has no inhibitions. It is set on the goal of undermining our status, as a prelude to undermining the existence of our country. Nothing less."

Amir Oren rehashes Shavit's point about the NATO strike in Afghanistan.

Firstly, the major difference between Operation Cast Lead and the strike in Afghanistan was that there has in fact been inquiry about the strike. That link has a slide show of the aftermath of the attacks from the Washington Post, so the American media can hardly be called "apathetic" about the incident. Conversely, there has been no internal inquiry of Operation Cast Lead, the way the Winograd Report looked into Israeli conduct in Lebanon. The US and NATO see the strike in Kunduz as a major humanitarian and strategic blunder. The Israeli government, at least externally, projects a Cheney-esque lack of regret for what are increasingly percieved as large strategic errors at the operational and humanitarian level.

Perhaps the bigger question is to what extent, if at all, the panel represented in Haaretz is representative of Israeli public opinion. Operation Cast Lead has been condemned by more than a few columnists. Yet columnists in Israel, as in most other countries, sit firmly in partisan positions. To what extent do today's editorials (and not just those in Haaretz) resonate with the Israeli public?

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