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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Will Obama use Goldstone as a club against Israel?

Anne Bayefsky raises the specter of the Obama administration using the Goldstone Report as a club against Israel.
The Goldstone report, however, has forced the Obama administration to recognize that the leverage over Israel presented by Council membership is not cost-free. No Israeli administration is going to take a seat at a negotiating table that its "peace partner" has festooned with a sword of Damocles.

So the report presents the president with a dilemma: how to avoid alienating his new friends in the Arab and Muslim world while keeping the peace process percolating? Moreover, sooner or later the Goldstone "rules" of engagement could well be turned against American action in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.

The Obama administration needs to make a policy decision on the Goldstone report quickly. There are likely to be various attempts to insert references to the report at the UN General Assembly this fall.

Goldstone himself can be expected to continue seeking the limelight. In September, he made the unprecedented move of commandeering the UN Headquarters' press room in New York to release his report, even though it had been authorized by a Geneva institution and was due to be considered shortly. Having made recommendations to continue the witch hunt, including at the Security Council, Goldstone is very likely to attempt to turn the report's "implementation" into a permanent meal ticket.

The president, therefore, should be under no illusions. Waxing eloquent about multilateral engagement will not make the report and its progeny all go away - if that was ever his game plan.
Bayefsky goes on to urge friends of Israel to demand that the report be permanently buried.

Unfortunately, it's very unlikely that the Obama administration will bury the report so long as it is in power. What's more likely is that the report will be 'discussed' and that Israel will be urged to make 'concessions' to the 'Palestinians' to moot the 'discussion.' Just like Israel was urged to make 'concessions' to the 'Palestinians' to encourage the Arab states to oppose Iranian nuclear weapons.

From the American perspective, the only catch in this iteration of 'linkage' is that it carries a price for the United States. American troops could potentially be haled before the International Criminal Court just like the 'international community' is now threatening to do to Israeli troops.

Will Obama see the implications beyond his own desire to be the anti-Bush? I have my doubts.


At 4:28 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should make it clear any attempt to revive Goldstone will mean the end of the "peace process." And Obumbler and the Europeans need it far more than Israel does. So its utility as a club against Israel is likely to backfire on the US.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Just curious how the Euros can threaten to arrest Israeli leaders and not threaten to arrest Clinton, Clarke, and the misc. NATO people in charge of chucking bombs from 15k ft over Serbia... not that I'm saying that was the wrong approach, but it certainly wasn't pinpoint accuracy to avoid civilian casualties. I think the Euros go along with this anti-Israel stuff because 1) they have an endless soul-eating sickness (anti-semitism) and 2) they can't keep up with Israel technologically and are trying to thow any impediments they can to slow Israel down.


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