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Friday, October 16, 2009

No time to be wishy washy

On Thursday, I noted that the United States, Britain and France have all called on Israel to conduct 'credible investigations' into the Goldstone Report allegations. Of course, the call implies that there is substance behind the allegations and that Israel's investigations to this point have not been credible. Each of the call's implications is scurrilous.

The New York Daily News points out that this is not the time for Western democracies to be wishy-washy in their defense of Israel. It calls for the Report to be killed.
Given the slightest hint of approval, the report will set back Mideast peace efforts and tie the hands of all countries that come under attack from radical terrorists.

The U.S. has some say in this matter as a newly installed member of the council. The Obama administration's representative has committed to opposing the report, but yesterday he slipped into wishy-washy diplospeak at the Security Council.

While reiterating "serious concern" about the "unbalanced focus" of the report, Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff added, "we do take seriously the allegations in the report" and urged Israel to "seriously investigate" its allegations.

This is no time for on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand equivocation. It is a time to stand staunchly with an ally that was forced to fight back against unrelenting terrorism, that strove to minimize civilian harm and that now faces trumped-up, destructive condemnation.
It is doubtful that the 'Palestinians' will come back to the negotiating table anytime soon regardless of what happens with Goldstone in the Security Council. Their expectations were raised so high by the Obama administration's out-of-the-gate pressure on Israel for a total 'settlement freeze,' that it is doubtful that they will come to the table for anything less. On the other hand, no Israeli government can or will give the type of settlement freeze that was sought. The only thing Goldstone can accomplish in terms of the 'peace process' is to ensure that Israel will also stay away from the table.

Second, 'wishy-washy diplospeak' is part of the very nature of the Obama administration. Obama acceded to power by attempting to be all things to all people, all form and NO substance. Many people were shocked when they found out what his true intentions were, because all they heard throughout the Presidential campaign was "hope" and "change." Well, who is against hope? And unless you think you have a perfect world, who is against at least some change? That meaningless talk is what swept Obama to power - he's not going to drop it now.

But employing empty talk where everyone is right and no one is wrong is dangerous for the United States and other Western countries in this case. While defending Israel against the Goldstone libel is the right thing to do, it's not why it's in the interest of the US and its allies to defend us (and recall that famous quip that in international relations there are no friends, only interests). What ought to motivate the US and its allies to defend us is the possibility of the shoes being on their feet a year or two from now.

Imagine a Goldstone Report that accuses the United States of intentionally causing civilian casualties in Fallujah (to take an obvious example). Would the administration then argue that the allegations should be taken seriously and be subjected to a 'credible investigation' beyond those already conducted by a Judge Advocate General in the US army? (This administration just might call for credible investigations of Fallujah, because Fallujah happened under Bush, so substitute any 2009 battlefield in Afghanistan to make the question more realistic).

If I were solely concerned about the United States or Britain or France, I would be arguing that Israel should be supported in the UN because if Israel is haled before the International Criminal Court, the United States, Britain and France will be next. Somehow, that possibility appears to be lost on Obama and his emissaries, or he believes that if the United States is haled into court, it will only affect functionaries of the previous administration. They're not taking the long view.

Contrast that with Israel, where everyone seems to have forgotten that Operation Cast Lead took place under Olmert and Livni. Were the government to drop its defense against Goldstone altogether, no one is able to prosecute Netanyahu, who was then the opposition leader. And yet, Netanyahu has taken the lead in defending us against Goldstone.

What could go wrong?


At 8:12 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The world views it as the Jews' problem. But as history has shown us, it seldom stays that way for good. Approval of Goldstone would be a blow to international law, to justice and to peace. All of which is lost on the countries persecuting Israel and on those who ought to be defending it from the blood libel of the modern age.


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