Too Much to Bear


While I waded in the filth that is Richard Silverstein’s blog, I noticed a post of his on an article about Israel’s rebuttal to the Goldstone Report ( In particular, this reaction:

On a final note, I was also astonished that B’Tselem allowed itself to become part of Bronner’s case that Israelis universally condemn Goldstone’s claim of a deliberate Israeli plan to destroy civilian infrastructure:

“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.

This is too much to bear.  Anyone who has visited Gaza or lives there can see with their own eyes that this is simply wrong.  The schools, mosques, parliament, civilian ministries, factories, UNWRA food warehouse, everything it takes to make a society–virtually all of it was systematically destroyed.  And Israeli generals during the war essentially conceded this point by claiming that every Gazan was presumed either a combatant or supporter of Hamas, and therefore a likely combatant.  Israel soldiers themselves reported Gaza was a virtual free fire zone in which anything that moved whether civilian or not was considered a target.  1,100 of the 1,400 Gazans killed by the IDF were civilians, which further underscores either a willful campaign to target civilians or a strategy that accepted the decimation of the civilian population as a corollary of the approach.

I generally admire B’Tselem’s human rights work.  But in this they have fallen down hard and deserve criticism.

This reaction speaks volumes about Silverstein and others like him. Notice how he is completely unwilling to accept a scenario in which Israel did not deliberately kill innocent people, even to the point of making the emotional statement “This is too much to bear.” His argument is “Anyone who has visited Gaza or lives there can see with their own eyes that this is simply wrong” – not an argument at all, especially considering Silverstein himself did not visit Gaza. Furthermore, his statement about what Israeli generals “essentially conceded” during the war is utterly false and not backed up by even one example. His figure – 1,100 civilians of 1,400 Gazans killed – is even larger than estimates given by palestinian health officials and human rights groups (more than 900 civilians out of 1400 in total), and way above the B’Tselem figure of 773 civilians.

Anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty should be able to see that Silverstein is not interested in the truth.

He can’t be.  It’s not on his side.

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