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Israel has reacted strongly to the Goldstone Commission Report, calling it “nauseating” and saying it created an unjust “equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization.”
An initial Foreign Ministry promise to “read the report carefully” transformed quickly into “nausea and fury,” in the words of ministry spokesman Yossi Levy.
Israeli officials were particularly stunned that the document summarily rejected the legal worth of Israel’s own judicial bodies. In a country where the High Court of Justice can stop a battle in mid-stream, as happened in Jenin in 2002 until the facts of the alleged massacre were determined, it was difficult to understand the Goldstone panel’s mistrust of the Israeli judiciary, officials said.
“Israel has examined itself in the light of day in innumerable investigations and a robust system of independent courts,” said Levy. “We have nothing to be ashamed of, and don’t need lessons in morality from a committee established by Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Somalia.”
Israel is “nauseated and furious about a report that did not surprise us in its imbalance, but did surprise us in the lack of any real pretense to balance,” he said, calling it “one of the most disgraceful documents in the long collection of shameful documents put out by the United Nations.”
“The immediate message of this report is: Terror pays. It says that terrorists who attack Jews, unlike terrorists who attack Americans, Spaniards, or other Arabs, will earn the protection of the UN,” he said.
Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein said that “it hurts when people without morals pretend to be warriors for human rights. They accuse us of persecuting critics of the government? As someone who was tried and imprisoned in the struggle for human rights [as a Soviet Jewish refusenik], I have to note the [irony] that not only are these critics not persecuted, they enjoy long and happy careers with wonderful salaries because of their criticism of Israel.”
Edelstein also said the report:
“..exceeded the limits of Israel-bashing that we’ve become accustomed to. Making such allegations disguised as ‘protecting human rights’ is more than a stretch.”
The government is understandably upset, as are all of us who deeply care about justice and the state of Israel, none of which have come out well from the report.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
10:40PM: Another interview with some so-called expert discussing the likelihood of Israel attacking Iran.
I’m only posting this on account of the “expert” who has one of the most horrendous looking beards I have ever seen.
10:34PM: Honest Reporting has come out with this primer examining the failings of the Goldstone Report.
10:24PM: Great moments in auto-translation: Here’s but a selection from today:
8:20PM: Richard Goldstone has gone on the offensive against Israel.
Despite its outrage, Israel has not disputed any single allegation contained in a bombshell United Nations report released on Tuesday, according to its author, Richard Goldstone, in an interview the same day.
Nicole must be so proud.
6:25PM: Quote of the day:
“The Goldstone Commission report is a mockery of history. It fails to distinguish between the aggressor and a state exercising its right for self defense.”
– Israeli President Shimon Peres
6:12PM: Quentin Tarantino has been a big hit in Israel.
If Quentin Tarantino had truly been anxious about the Jewish response to his Nazi-bashing extravaganza Inglourious Basterds, then the reception at the Israeli premier Tuesday night should at least have guaranteed him a good night’s sleep.
The audience waited inside the movie theater for more than an hour before Tarantino, producer Lawrence Bender and the sublime, Oscar-deserving, movie-stealing polyglot Christoph Waltz made their entrance. The excitement level can be judged by the fact that there was very little complaining, shouting or seat-shifting – all standards of the Israeli movie-going experience.
Tarantino’s exuberant introduction (see below) was perfectly pitched at Israelis, many of whom can still name the family members who perished in the Holocaust. The “chapters” of the movie showing Nazi-scalping, baseball bat-wielding Jews instilling fear into the hearts of the German army (and Hitler himself), as well as the bloodbath finale elicited cheers and hearty rounds of applause, and the man himself won a standing ovation as the end credits rolled.
6:10PM: Noted film critic Roger Ebert has criticized the protest against the Toronto Film Festival for spotlighting Tel Aviv.
But that’s not to say he is a big fan of Israel.
The protest is misguided and destructive. For what it’s worth, I believe the Palestinians deserve a homeland, and that Israel’s treatment of them has not been worthy of a nation that was itself founded as a homeland. But the artists of a nation cannot be fairly held responsible for the politics of that nation. All “sister cities” programs have a similar objective, to increase person-to-person contact with people from different lands. The City-to-City program, featuring filmmakers based in Tel Aviv, doesn’t link Canada and Israel, but simply spotlights recent work from a center of much recent cinematic achievement.
3:55PM: A mortar shell fired from northern Gaza has landed on the palestinian side of the security fence, with no injuries or damage reported.
3:28PM: Those great defenders of human rights and opponents of crimes against humanity, Hamas, are calling for Israeli leaders to be put on trial in the wake of the Goldstone report.
“The UN report constitutes irrefutable proof that the Zionist occupier committed crimes against humanity,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement following the release of the report into Israel’s war in Gaza at the turn of the year.
“After this explicit report, the international community should bring the leaders of the Zionist enemy as war criminals before the International Criminal Court,” he said.
2:34PM: The Jerusalem Post reports: Goldstone’s daughter: My father is a Zionist and loves Israel
And J Street is pro-Israel..
2:02PM: Here is the full Online NewsHour interview shown partially in the 9:40AM update, containing the excellent response by Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Oren (from 8:30 onwards).
If I find an embeddable version of the video, I’ll post it here.
12:45PM: I still have not been able to locate the letter protesting the anti-Israel petition as mentioned in my 5:58AM update, but I did find this report, which mentions other celebrities.
“Anyone who has actually seen recent Israeli cinema, movies that are political and personal, comic and tragic, often critical, knows they are in no way a propaganda arm for any government policy,” said the statement, also endorsed by Lenny Kravitz, Patricia Heaton, Jacob and Noah Richler, George F. Walker and Moses Znaimer.
12:35PM: Melanie Phillips does such a good job of fisking Goldstone here, we may need to change the verb to “Goldstoning.”
12:30PM: Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
Ten former IDF combat soldiers rescued a US citizen and her two-and-a-half-year-old son from a Palestinian village in the Tulkarm area where they had been held captive for 3 years, Israel Radio revealed on Wednesday morning.
The woman, who had married a young Palestinian man she met in the United States, was being held captive in his house, together with their son. The man’s first wife and four children from the first marriage also live in the house.
The woman’s husband allegedly hit her, prevented her from leaving the house and threatened that if she left, she would never see their son again. He also threatened that if she left the home, she would be apprehended by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
After efforts to bring about the woman’s release by contacting Palestinian Authority officials failed, the woman’s parents contacted a Jewish American man who had served in a combat unit in the IDF. He contacted friends in Israel who planned the rescue operation for several weeks, gathering intelligence on the family’s routine, and carrying it out successfully on Monday, according to Army Radio.
The woman and her son were transferred to the US consulate in Jerusalem and left the country on an airliner to Ohio on Tuesday.
Giora, one of the men who took part in rescuing the woman and her son, told Israel Radio that while the IDF was not aware of the operation, the US consulate was updated about every step of the mission.
“The rescue mission was planned in a similar way to operations carried out during my time in the military in a way that ensured no lives were endangered,” Giora told the station,
The family promised a financial reward to the men for freeing their daughter, Giora said, insisting, however, that “we didn’t do it for the money.”
Hat tip to Shy Guy, who somehow managed to identify me as Aussie Dave at the bloggers conference, despite no mention of Israellycool on my name tag.
9:40AM: Yet another revealing interview with Richard Goldstone.
Notice how he does not properly answer the question regarding the conclusions of the report seeming harsher on Israel than the palestinian terror groups, and how he talks of the mission’s heavy reliance on palestinian witnesses (“they know what happened to them and we were able to make an assessment of the credibility with which they spoke to us”). On this last point, how on earth could they have assessed this?
9:28AM: Yet another excellent rebuttal of the Goldstone report, this time by Carl, who picks apart various findings of the report relating to Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields.
5:58AM: It’s about time.
A number of Hollywood stars circulated a letter Tuesday protesting a petition calling for a boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival over a Tel Aviv-themed event.
The letter, which appeared simultaneously in the Los Angeles Times and the Toronto Star was signed, among others, by Jerry Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen, Natalie Portman, Jason Alexander and Lisa Kudrow.
The letter, which was paid for by Jewish organizations in Los Angeles and Toronto, said, “Anyone who has actually seen recent Israeli cinema, movies that are political and personal, comic and tragic, often critical, knows they are in no way a propaganda arm for any government policy.”
Meanwhile, Jane Fonda has expressed her regret over signing the original protest letter. One statement of hers in particular stood out for me:
As I said in my recent blog, the greatest “re-branding” of Israel would be to celebrate that country’s long standing, courageous and robust peace movement by helping to end the blockade of Gaza through negotiations with all parties to the conflict, and by stopping the expansion of West Bank settlements.
“Long standing” and “courageous” better describes the tiny country of Israel’s defense of her citizens against the Arabs out to destroy her since her inception.
5:44AM:Yesterday, I posted a video of Richard Goldstone being interviewed with Al Jazeera, in which he, inter alia, trivialized Hamas rocket fire on Israel and referred to palestinian terrorists as “armed military groups.”
Here is it again in case you missed it.
Now it has come to light that he fell asleep when shown clips of Sderot children running for their lives during a rocket attack on Israel.
Noam Bedein, one of six Israeli civilians who testified before the Goldstone Commission probing Operation Cast Lead blasted the investigation’s report Tuesday for equating the actions of Israel and Hamas, saying it was “disgusting,” Israel Radio reported.
According to the radio station, Bedein said that Goldstone fell asleep when he was shown clips of Sderot children running for their lives after hearing a Color Red rocket warning siren.