Reading the JPost feedback comments it seems she has struck a chord. Maybe, just maybe the mood is changing....
Another Tack: Condemnations are commendable
Oct. 22, 2009
Sarah Honig , THE JERUSALEM POST
In my very early childhood I used to let out a whoop of joy whenever the radio reported yet another UN condemnation for another Israeli anti-terrorist retaliation.
As it turned out, I had lots of opportunity for elation. When my bemused parents admonished me with increased exasperation, I explained that I was happy because the UN had again rewarded our battlefield triumph.
Plainly, I didn't understand what the word condemnation meant, nor had any notion about Orwellian doublespeak, international hypocrisy or diplomatic duplicity. I simply noticed that when things go well for Jews, they get condemned.
That made condemnation sound like a good thing. Each condemnation became akin to a trophy or a victory medal for letting our tormentors have it.
More years than I care to admit later - after I had learned the definition of long strange words and became aware of the real dangers inherent in a tarnished national image - I still can't entirely fault my juvenile interpretation of grown-up events.
EVEN THE Goldstone report fits so well into my kindergarten-age perceptions. When rockets were rained on Sderot and environs for nearly a decade, Israelis were obviously faring badly. Yet so long as Israelis were victimized by Arabs, the rest of the world said nothing. Our weakness and our pain seemed to excite no reaction, indeed draw no notice, as if they occurred in a sealed vacuum.
However, as soon as the victims defended themselves, albeit belatedly, a tempest was stirred. The entire world's attention was suddenly riveted on little old us and the condemnations - familiar, strident and ever-hectoring - came, fast and furious as they had during all the decades of Israel's existence and even prior to Jewish independence. Only a show of Israeli deterrence brought Goldstone here. His very interest in us must indicate that we had done something worthy in our self-interest.
No surprise here, only the expected turn of events, as if an unstoppable natural phenomenon. However, just as unsurprising and a whole lot sadder is the fact that so many among us - including in the ostensible political mainstream, like Kadima MK Nachman Shai - feel obliged to play along with Goldstone and the misnamed UN Human Rights Council which dispatched him at the behest of such intrinsically progressive states as Syria, Somalia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
They feel a need to explain ourselves to them and atone for our self-defense. If Goldstone demands a tribunal to try our soldiers for the offense of combating the deliberate targeting of our noncombatants, then they'll subscribe to his premise and agitate for an inquiry. This notion - the latest de rigueur rallying cry - is underwritten vigorously by former minister Amnon Rubinstein, minister-wannabe Prof. Uriel Reichman and a slew of trendsetters (including Ha'aretz).
Perhaps their intentions are laudable. They're out to prove, via an inquiry chaired by a "neutral" American jurist or such Israeli champions of every left-wing cause as former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, that we're a just society which earnestly probes itself and that at most our transgressions are minor and unpremeditated. Thereby we shall cleanse our hands before the entire accusing critical world.
The fundamental flaw in their reasoning is that the accusing critical world isn't fair and balanced in its accusations and criticism. It indulgently dismisses intentional Arab belligerence against Israeli civilians yet censures the counteraction, in which inadvertently civilians on the other side may get hurt.
If anything, their injury is hardly avoidable because they function as human shields for some of the darkest forces operating in today's world.
WILL SUCH hostile hardly objective observers be wowed by our famed judicial liberality? They weren't in the past. In fact Goldstone patently wasn't. He accused Israel's postmodern ultra-morally relativist courts of discrimination against Arabs and their supporters.
This is a fight that make-nice maneuvers just can't win. But they can lose us an awful lot. Any inquiry commission, constituted under whatever official aegis, will hold lengthy daily sessions delving into the minutest minutiae of Israeli military campaigns in the best traditions of our foot-dragging, pedantic, compulsively hair-splitting judiciary.
Its procedure-laden hearings will be plodding and interminable and the general public won't bother to decipher their intricate legalistic esotericisms.
What will, nevertheless, be imparted to news-consumers worldwide is that Israel is in the dock, that even it somehow admits wrongdoing, which it had been shamed and coerced into examining.
This won't be a whole lot different from the vague impressions implanted into inattentive news-consumers who may have caught the tail end of an item on attempts to have Israel's defense minister arrested for war crimes in Britain. Never mind that the charges were pressed by the lawyer who represented the terrorists who shot ambassador Shlomo Argov in 1982 and who now represents Sudan's genocidal regime.
What will be dimly remembered is that Israel's higher-ups are tainted and were let off because of diplomatic immunity like South Africa's erstwhile apartheid leaders. That was the aim of the complaint in the first place. The defamers coveted commotion rather than concrete victory.
An Israeli inquiry into Cast Lead will serve identical purposes. The very likely leaks from the testimony and the sarcastic hard-hitting interrogation of the most altruistic soldiers will accentuate impressions of Israeli sinfulness. These will provide occasional damning headlines.
If, when this PR disaster eventually concludes, the commission will wag a finger at some negligible aspect of something, that will become the international bottom line. In the (unlikely) event that the commission would exonerate Israel unequivocally, its findings will be ignored by foreign news purveyors and pooh-poohed as a whitewash.
Meanwhile, IDF morale will be dealt another blow. Combat troops risk their lives only to be later summoned to what has become a routine ritual - quibbling questioning from judgmental second-guessers and dour Monday-morning quarterbacks. In time this, more than all else we do to unhinge the defense forces on which our continued existence depends, will emasculate our military.
We're already frighteningly close to the self-stymieing situation in which almost every officer needs a battery of lawyers. IDF upper echelons already expend too much energy on accounting for past actions rather than preparing for the confrontations-to-come. This isn't just an irritating inconvenience; it can lead to a distorted focus and exact dreadful cost in tomorrow's war.
This of course is precisely what our enemies and their emissaries (like Goldstone) crave. It's certainly not what Shai, Rubinstein and Reichman want. This, though, is what can come of the short-sighted desire to abide by rules our antagonists decree.
The above well-meaning gentlemen need to ask themselves whether we can really lift our collective face through self-mutilation. Should we at all hanker after any image-improvement predicated on weakening our standing and intimidating our security-providers? Wouldn't we do better to just earn more condemnations instead?
Perhaps my preschool logic did dictate the obvious: Condemnations are commendable because they invariably accompany our successes.
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1256150025516&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
This lady has a very interesting no nonsense approach to Israel's issues.
Reading the JPost feedback comments it seems she has struck a chord. Maybe, just maybe the mood is changing....
She has a point. Those successful military actions that resulted in UN condemnations are the indicator for a working deterrence-which is Israel's life insurance. So one could argue that as long as there are condemnations, Israel is not in existential danger.
Apart from that you don't need to be very clever to see the hypocrisy in those condemnations and "reports" if you look at the very basic equation:
The IDF tries to minimize civilian losses - the enemies Israel faces today target civilians deliberately while hiding behind their own civilian population.
Gotta love both Sarah Honig and Caroline Glick.
Lambs tried by wolves
Why does UNHRC so fervently target Israel while ignoring more heinous crimes?
Published: 10.28.09, 10:57 / Israel Opinion
The UNHRC endorsed Goldstone's Gaza report and I, for once, am happy for this just and timely decision. However, it is clearly not enough, as there are still criminals walking among us, some of whom are even occupying key positions in the US and European governments. To fix this unbearable situation, in which criminals are not persecuted simply because of the high positions they occupy, I would like to propose for the Human Rights Council to start from the very head of the pyramid of power, to set an example for all other would-be war criminals. And what example could be more noticeable than the US?
Therefore, it is the UNHRC’s obligation to condemn and indict the Clinton administration, as well as the military and civilian leadership of NATO for war crimes committed against the Serbian people during the 1999 Kosovo War (also known as “Operation Allied Force”) that left more than 500 innocent civilians dead. According to the Human Rights Watch “smart weapons (initially) constituted more than 90 percent of the ordnance employed. By mid-May, this had declined to only 10 or 20 percent of the total.”
This means that as soon as the war started getting too expensive, concern for civilian lives gave way to concern for NATO budget, or maybe it was a deliberate campaign of terror? In any case, this had a horrible toll on human lives and property; “as few as 489 and as many as 528 Yugoslav civilians were killed in the ninety separate incidents in Operation Allied Force.”
I would also like to draw your attention to the completely disproportionate use of force, as is evident from the casualty ratios (2 NATO soldiers killed in non-combat incidents versus almost 700 Serbs, most of whom civilians, killed in the bombings.) In fact, these numbers indicate something closer to a massacre than to an armed conflict. Perhaps a more proper term for the conflict would be “The Kosovo Massacre” and not the Kosovo War.
Among the targets attacked we can find the People's Republic of China embassy in Belgrade, Serbia's main TV station, the Zastava car factory – all illegal targets under the Geneva Convention. Even worse – civilian chemical factories were bombed, which resulted in major pollution incidents and loss of jobs for thousands of uninvolved civilians. Furthermore, cluster bombs were used in the city of Novi Sad resulting in continuing risk of injury for the civilian population of this city to this very day.
Deliberate campaign of terror?
According to the Geneva Convention (Protocol I, Art. 52(2)) legitimate targets include "those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action." This is clearly not the case with all of the above-mentioned targets, thus making their destruction, and the loss of innocent lives which it entailed, clear-cut war crimes that deserve indictment and fair trial in an objective international court.
It is even possible that many of these attacks resulted from a deliberate campaign of terror rather than simply gross negligence, as “almost half of the incidents (forty-three out of ninety) resulted from attacks during daylight hours, when civilians could have been expected to be on the roads and bridges or in public buildings which may have been targeted.”
Of course, all the officials involved in the above mentioned crimes will have to be arrested and transported to some neutral country where they will receive a fair and unbiased trial. I would like to propose Israel for this task, since its courts have already earned a reputation of fairness and objectivity in trying war criminals such as the Nazis Eichmann (1962) and Demjanjuk (1986).
Yeah, Clinton will do time in an Israeli prison for crimes against the Serbian people.
Sounds like nonsense?
But wait, there is more! The US isn’t a member of the council and so doesn’t have a say in the matter, but let’s look at some of the actual members of the council and their actions to promote human rights and international justice:
Britain chose not to participate in the voting, perhaps finding it difficult to condemn Israel after the Guardian exposed Britain’s use of phosphorus bombs in Afghanistan and torture in Iraq. It didn’t feel quite guilty enough to show support for a fellow democracy trying to defend itself, however, possibly not wishing to anger its loyal Islamic allies. The same allies it bombs, kills and oppresses on a daily basis.
Unlike the indecisive British, Russia bravely voted against Israel. Russia, which did very little to “safeguard the rights of civilians,” and which according to the same HRW had responded to the Chechen’s uprising with a “campaign unparalleled in the area since World War II for its scope and destructiveness.” Yes, one of the nations that voted against Israel is responsible for the worst violence Europe has known since WWII.
Why does charade continue?
Israel’s operation in the 1.5 million Gaza strip has left about 1,400 dead, of which presumably 700 were civilians (according to Amnesty International.) Russia’s attack on the 1.1 million Chechnya has left around 100,000 Chechens dead, of which even the most optimistic accounts place the number of militants to be at around 15,000.
And I don’t need to tell you about the crimes of Jordan against the Palestinian refugees carving out a meager existence in its territory during the “Black September” of 1970 or of China’s inhuman occupation and oppression of Tibet and Xinjiang or of the extreme brutality with which the various Palestinian factions deal with one another in Gaza and the West Bank. All these nations have voted against Israel, all these nations are champions of human right violations and yet no one in Europe has yet stood up and cried “foul!” Why?
Why on earth do British, Spanish and Hoggish courts have the audacity to even look at cases directed against foreign subjects having nothing to do with the affairs of the said countries? Why does the UNHRC so fervently levels charge upon charge against Israel while tactfully ignoring far more heinous crimes committed by most of its members? But most of all, why are so many educated and supposedly free-willed people in Europe follow this charade, instead of denouncing it for it is – yet another attempt by the enemies of Israel to harm it using the very values it is the sole representative of in the Middle East – democracy, freedom, and human rights.
Politicians play their Machiavellian games with dozens of ulterior motives, secret agreements and business interests; justice is the last thing on their mind. And so it is the duty of the voter, the so-called “simple citizen,” to have a realistic and balanced image of the world. A brief foray into any human rights website or even the occasional evening spent watching the news will tell you who are the villains of this world and who are its victims.
I also completely don't understand why the hell does the world go on with this charade. Israel is simply singled out for absolutely no apparent reason. And then people say that everyone who questions this disproportionate demonization of Israel "are using the Antisemitism card" Looks like antisemitism to me.