The fallout from the UN report on Gaza continues.
Two pieces have particularly caught my eye.
Well, the report is the last in a large number of reports that have been issued on the Gaza massacre. There were two significant reports issued by Amnesty International, five reports issued by Human Rights Watch, and a whole slew of Israeli-based human rights organizations have issued reports. But this was the most awaited report of all of them. It was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council. And Richard Goldstone, as you mentioned in your own introductory remarks, is a significant international figure, legal figure.
So the report basically is consistent with the findings of the other human rights organizations, that Israel targeted civilians, Israel targeted civilians who were carrying white flags, Israel systematically targeted the Palestinian infrastructure. The findings were consistent with those of the other human rights organizations: Israel is guilty of a very significant number of war crimes. And also, the findings which were—other reports, the same conclusions, that the Palestinians were not using hospitals to hide Hamas officials. There’s no evidence that the ambulances Israel targeted were carrying Hamas militants or ammunition. And most significantly, in terms of the coverage during the Gaza massacre, the report found, as did Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, there’s no evidence whatsoever—and I would want to underline that—there’s no evidence whatsoever that Hamas was guilty of human shielding. But on the other hand, there is significant evidence, actually copious evidence, that Israel was guilty of human shielding.
What’s significant about the report, in my opinion, and what’s significant about what happened in Gaza, I think it marks a major turning point. It’s like the Sharpville massacre in South Africa. Now, Sharpville is not Soweto, but Sharpville was a turning point. Richard Goldstone is a liberal. Richard Goldstone is very supportive of Israel. And it’s now marking the breakup of liberal Jewish support for Israel. And as we both know and as all of your listeners know, Jews are overwhelmingly liberal in their sentiment. Seventy-nine percent of Jews in the last election voted for Obama. And what you’re seeing now is the breakup of Jewish support for Israel.
You saw during the Gaza massacre you had some of the old-timers like Alan Dershowitz, Michael Walzer, characters—Martin Peretz, characters like that, you know, kind of comical figures coming out supporting Israel. But if you looked at the younger Jewish—the younger Jewish constituency—bloggers like Matt Yglesias, Glenn Greenwald and so forth—they all opposed the Gaza massacre from almost like day one or day two. And then you had significant defections, like Andrew Sullivan, who—not Jewish, but still a significant figure, who also came out against the Gaza massacre.
So I think now what you’re seeing, especially with the Goldstone report, especially with his stature, especially because he’s Jewish, especially because he’s a liberal, what it’s signaling now, is the breakup of Jewish support and liberal support—and those are basically the same thing—the breakup of liberal Jewish support for Israel.
Maybe this will do it. Maybe the Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead will be the thing that finally puts the fear of God into Israeli society, that shocks this country into deciding once and for all that the occupation must come to an end – for our sake if no one else’s.
I don’t want to see Israeli political and military leaders brought to The Hague; I don’t want them to be unable to get off a plane in a foreign capital. It wouldn’t be fair, not if fairness entails equity: There are countless foreign politicians and military men who’ve done much, much worse things than we did in Gaza who roam the world freely.
But if Israelis have a sense of foreboding since Tuesday’s release of the Goldstone report, a fear that the world may really be fed up with our treatment of the Palestinians, then I’m glad. Then I’m hopeful. Because fear is the only thing that might get us to finally set free the 4 million people of Gaza and the West Bank. Of our own accord, of our own moral reckoning, we won’t do it. Four years of intifada bus bombings hardened us for a generation, maybe longer. When it comes to Arabs, we’ve been morally numb for too long to change on our own.
WE JUST don’t get it about Gaza. Why, we wonder, doesn’t the world understand that we fought a just war, that we were defending ourselves?
We’re unable to see that if anybody did to Israel what we did to Gaza in Operation Cast Lead, we wouldn’t be talking about war crimes. We wouldn’t be talking about crimes against humanity. We would be saying, in one voice, that the end of Israel was upon us, and we would be out to obliterate whoever did that to us.
But, we exclaim, what about the context? What about those thousands and thousands of rockets they fired at Sderot? No country would stand for that. We had to go to war.
We’ve become so numb, so brainwashed, that we really believe that that’s all that happened before we started the war, that that’s the entire context. We don’t see what the rest of the world saw – that those thousands and thousands of rockets on Sderot caused a tiny fraction of the death and destruction we caused in Gaza at the same time.