The war that was launched this past weekend against the Goldstone report in the New York Times is aimed at the mildmannered Sec’y General of the United Nations. So Norman Finkelstein tells me, and this Haaretz piece confirms.
On February 5, Ban Ki-moon will report to the General Assembly on the
progress of the report (which was published last summer by the UN Human
Rights Council). Before then Ban will have gotten the Israeli gov’t’s
response to the Goldstone report–its effort to nullify the findings–and
Haaretz says the goal is to get Ban to say, I accept the Israeli
response to the charges, let the Israelis investigate the Gaza
Today the campaign for Ban is playing… the Holocaust card!
"Israeli leadership is planning an all-out attack on the report to
coincide with Wednesday’s anniversary of the 1945 liberation of
Auschwitz."– AFP. Israeli leaders are rushing to Auschwitz this week, even as the Israeli information minister has declared the report to be "anti-Semitic."
The world will mark International Holocaust Day on Wednesday. Monday
will see President Shimon Peres fly to Berlin and Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu leave for a visit to the Auschwitz death camp in
Poland. They will be joined by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in
Budapest and Information Minister Yuli Edelstein in New York.
Before meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Edelstein referred to the report accusing Israel of committing war
crimes in Gaza, calling it "anti-Semitic".
The Israelis are also turning to human rights organizations in this war. Note that in his New York Times in which he published the Israeli claims re Goldstone without contradiction, Ethan Bronner put forward the Arab League report on the Gaza war,
prepared by John Dugard, in an effort to make Judge Goldstone seem
extreme. Bronner also deployed the Israeli human-rights orgs Breaking
the Silence and B’tselem for his tendentious assertion that "virtually
no one in Israel" believes that Israel targeted civilians in the war,
as Goldstone alleged.
“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."
Yes, and Gaza was reduced to rubble, and numerous police stations
and the jail and the legislature and schools and hospitals were
targeted and/or destroyed. I wonder what Stein would call that
infrastructure? Terrorist infrastructure? "Stein’s comment is an
outrageous falsehood, as anyone knowing the timing of the destruction
can confirm: 90% of the destruction in the last 72 hours while Israel
was withdrawing and in full control of the territory; 2,000 homes were
destroyed in that period," explains Finkelstein.
The scholar reminds me that both B’tselem and Breaking the Silence are targets of an Israeli Foreign Ministry effort to end their foreign funding. Rightwing Israeli polls have called B’tselem a "trojan horse." This is mortal combat…