Gaza, and now Goldstone, expose rift between American Jews and Israel

israel-gaza-flamethrowerBy PHILIP WEISS 

Those who now call upon Israel to engage in serious investigations (the commission, Israeli Human rights groups), however well intentioned, are, I believe, grasping at straws. Israel’s Gaza war problem is not a matter of a particular case or two (say, a My Lai or a Falluja). It emcompasses instead every aspect of what Israel did in the war, down to IDF soldiers smearing feces on the wall of people’s homes (that type of thing, of course, is not in the commission report). To “investigate” seriously would entail challenging the very jus ad bellum.

Posted at MondoWeiss

The hugeness of the Goldstone commission report has a lot to do with Goldstone’s Jewishness. Besides destroying hundreds of Palestinian children, Gaza unsettled the liberal American Jewish community nine months ago, and now Goldstone’s report is reopening the wound. Israeli leaderscall the report a “mockery of history” and a “kangaroo court,” but I don’t think American Jews will be so dismissive.

Here is Dan Fleshler, deeply disturbed by the report to the point of labeling himself a “self-hating Jew” out of solidarity with Goldstone, “my kind of Jew.” Fleshler cites Goldstone’s Zionist credentials and notes that his daughter Nicole lived in Israel. It’s like the good Israel versus the bad Israel, and Fleshler fears the good Israel has lost. Fleshler dismisses Israel’s effort to provide context with a poetic line:

I do know that Israel will have a difficult time discrediting the report by citing the UN’s past transgressions, or insisting that Israel went out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, or explaining how the report neglected to include the “context” for Israel’s actions. White phosphorus provides its own context.

Norman Finkelstein sounds similar themes on Amy Goodman today, saying that the report will crumble the foundations of PEP culture (Progressive Except Palestine):

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.

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.

And here’s Ilene Cohen predicting that hasbara will not be able to counter the rift this report will cause between American Jews and Israeli Jews:

I think the Israeli propaganda blitz will yield very little for Israel. Yes, there will be a lot of noise, but the damage to Israel was already done, in the form of the many people around the world, including in the US and including in the American Jewish community, by the horrors that people saw. I think the Gwen Ifill type of moments–which, after all, were de rigueur in the coverage of the war itself [bending over backwards to give the Israeli side]–will not override the terrible facts of the report, facts that are in keeping with ten or so previous human rights reports, with the Breaking the Silence testimony (never mentioned in the NY Times), and with much journalistic coverage since the war. The Israelis won’t get specific because they simply can’t; there are no answers to the specific charges of which they stand accused. Just listen to Michael Oren recite his script.  

Those who now call upon Israel to engage in serious investigations (the commission, Israeli Human rights groups), however well intentioned, are, I believe, grasping at straws. Israel’s Gaza war problem is not a matter of a particular case or two (say, a My Lai or a Falluja). It emcompasses instead every aspect of what Israel did in the war, down to IDF soldiers smearing feces on the wall of people’s homes (that type of thing, of course, is not in the commission report). To “investigate” seriously would entail challenging the very jus ad bellum.

 

I ask myself, what exactly is going on with the Israelis, such that 90 percent of the Jewish population thinks that not only was the war justified but that everything done by Israel was just fine. The 12 Israeli dead constitute a profound national tragedy, whereas the 1300+ Palestinians dead constitute “so what.” And as for the destruction wrought through the length and breadth of Gaza, well, they had it coming… 

It’s a deeply troubling question, because the answer cannot be good.

Jeff Blankfort likes to say that the Israel lobby’s efforts are aimed chiefly at American Jews, to rally them to the cause of Israel. Well, maybe that ain’t working any more.

Related Posts

1.                  the Gaza international lip service

2.                  Prediction: American Jews and AIPAC will file for divorce over Gaza

3.                  Gaza slaughter seems to have made some American Jews just turn off

4.                  Outraged American Jews turn last night of Hanukkah into Shiva for Gaza

5.                  The American Establishment realizes Israel is wrong but is afraid to say so

7 responses to “Gaza, and now Goldstone, expose rift between American Jews and Israel

  1. You know once you start this game it can take you to undesired directions

    Some two weeks ago American airplanes fired on two oil tankers in northern Afghanistan. It was a German officer who’d asked the U.S. air force to attack the tankers in the middle of the night, in a populated area. The attack was successful – the two tankers were hit, went up in flames and were destroyed. But the overwhelming American-German air attack killed some 70 people. Some of those brought to hospitals were severely injured – with mutilated faces, burned hands and charred bodies.

    It is not clear to this day if most of those who burned to death were Taliban warriors, as NATO first claimed, or innocent civilians who wanted to bring home a bit of oil. One way or another, it’s clear that the United States and Germany are responsible for an extremely brutal attack. Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway also bear responsibility for the massacre as NATO members.

    That means somebody has to work for afgans to place charges against Obama and EU leaders

    If the international community is committed to international law and universal ethics – which do not discriminate between one sort of killing and another – then it investigate this villainous assault. If the United States, Germany and NATO refuse to cooperate with investigators, the UN should consider transferring the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It is possible that at the end of the process it would be necessary to put U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway on trial for their role in committing a severe war crime that did not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

    Obama would probably be the principal defendant in this case. He was the one who believed in the war in Afghanistan and intensified it. As U.S. commander-in-chief, he bears direct responsibility not only for the deaths of those who were burned with the tankers, but the death of many hundreds of innocent Afghan civilians.

    As long as Judge Richard Goldstone doesn’t probe the United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka or Turkey, just as he probed Israel, he is not a moral figure. A law is a law only when it applies to everyone and does not discriminate

    .

    • We need a battalion of investigators to cover all of Empire’s crimes.

      Meanwhile, Goldstone’s credibility can be measured against the work he HAS done.

      imho…

      but thanks for this important info about the recent oil tanker event. I wasn’t aware of it and added it to our links sections.

  2. It’s all very fine with Goldstone’s approach, but Israeli official rebuttal http://samsonblinded.org/blog/goldstone-report-the-rebuttal.htm claims a lot of factual errors in his report

  3. More often than not, Israel is the one who gets exempted from rules regarding nuclear proliferation, human rights, war crimes, etc etc. Demanding more special treatment for them just isn’t getting it anymore.

    And the human propensity to become what one hates has never been writ larger than ISRAEL. Immunity to shame is no excuse.

  4. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Gaza, and now Goldstone, expose rift between American Jews and Israel « COTO Report

  5. Pingback: COTO Report Tops 100,000 Visitors « COTO Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s