By now, the conclusions of the Goldstone report should come as no surprise to anyone. Goldstone found that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during Operation Cast Lead. The report is quite damning in its portrayal of the Israeli army as a murderous, genocidal force in Gaza. Here is yet another example of anti-Israel bigotry masquerading in the guise of human rights. Supporters of Israel must realize that this report is no simply a denunciation of specific Israeli actions but rather a denial of Israel's right to self-defense.
The conclusions of the report were a foregone conclusion. According to Israelis who testified before the commission, the situation was hopeless. Their testimonies were largely ignored. Noam Bedin, a resident of Sderot and the manager of the rocket-ridden city's communications office, recounts, "when I stood up and started to testify before the judges, Justice Goldstone fell asleep in front of me. It was an embarrassing moment but I continued talking, realizing that I should not have high hopes," he added. Bedin said the testimony had felt pointless. "One of the judges on the committee had already expressed the very clear opinion that Israel was committing war crimes against the Palestinians," he said. Dr. Mirela Siderer, a resident of Ashkelon, was injured by a Grad missile fired at her by Hamas. She claims that her testimony was completely left out by the commission. In it, she had explained that she was a doctor who often treated Palestinian patients.
Much of the "facts" in report are based on unsubstantiated claims by anti-Israel NGOs. The 575-page Goldstone report is primarily based on NGO statements, publications, and submissions (70 references each for B’Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and more than 30 for Al-Haq and Human Rights Watch). In its analysis of NGO submissions and testimony, NGO Monitor found numerous false and unsubstantiated allegations. Nevertheless, the Goldstone committee simply copied the NGO biases, flawed methodology, and false claims, rendering the entire report invalid.
Israel's actions in Gaza were certainly legal, and in fact were its moral obligation. The hypocritical marches and protests that follow only demonstrate how the world rejects Israel's right to fight back. In early November, Israel discovered that Hamas had dug a tunnel into Israel and was preparing to kidnap more soldiers. As a result, the IDF carried out an operation which eliminated seven Hamas terrorists. Hamas never respected the ceasefire from the very beginning. When the Hamas-imposed six-month deadline expired in December, Israel hoped an agreement could be reached to extend the cease-fire. Instead, Hamas began firing what would be hundreds of rockets into Israel. The sophisticated rockets smuggled in from Iran had put 1-in-every-8 Israelis in mortal danger, forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south to have 15 seconds to run to their lives to take shelter before the rocket hit. The Goldstone commission was based on a false premise of equating perpetrators of terror with its victims. During Operation Cast Lead, Israel, a sovereign democratic state, was responding to hundreds of attacks on its citizens and their homes by a terrorist organization.
The world is ready to accept any libelous claim when it comes to Israel. Recently, Sweden's leading newspaper published an article claiming that Israeli soldiers intentionally killed Arab children in order to harvest their organs, a modern reincarnation of the medieval blood libel. This was despite the fact that the writer of the article, Donald Bostrom, acknowledged that "he has no idea whether the accusations are true." Of course, when it comes to slandering Israel, truth need never get in the way. Similarly, the Goldstone report, based on the biased claims of Palestinian sources and NGOs, is short on facts but full of rhetoric.
Article 51 of the United Nations Charter reserves to every nation the right to engage in self-defense against armed attacks. The only nation to whom that doesn't apply, it seems, is to Israel. The world cannot abide by the idea of Jews defending themselves. In 1967, Israel lost the brief amount of goodwill the world afforded to Jews after the Holocaust, precisely because this was the first time in 2000 years when Jews were no longer the victims. This hideous report is only the beginning of a new wave of anti-Israel sentiment, one which exonerates terrorism and its perpetrators and blames the victims. Israel can look to no support in the international community. Maybe this report is actually good, as it lays bare something that all supports of Israel have known all along: the world does not believe that Jews have a right to exist and to fight back to protect their existence.
On the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShana, this teaches us a very important lesson. We have no one to rely on except our Father in Heaven. Israel believed that its withdrawal from Gaza would bring in its wake international support and sympathy. Instead, it brought rockets upon our heads and even more intense hatred against Israel. With a new anti-Israel administration in Washington, Israel's list of friends is growing increasingly shorter. As Rosh HaShana approaches, Israel must rely on itself and turn to G-d for strength to defeat its enemies and fulfill its destiny.
Shanah Tova. May 5770 be a year of blessing, goodness, prosperity, success and the Complete and Final Redemption. May all of Am Yisrael be inscribed in the Book of Life.