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Friday, November 06, 2009

Goldstone v. Gold, the videos and more

I just want to remind all of you that I am in Boston, and that's why even though it is already the Sabbath in Israel, I am still able to post.

The people who got me into the debate last night were the people from One Jerusalem and I thank them for getting me in (and for committing to getting me in within minutes after word of the debate went out). They also facilitated my being able to post my summary of the debate last night; I went back to the One Jerusalem representative's hotel room to post while he uploaded video of the debate. That video may be found here, but I also have permission to embed it.

There are four videos. The first one is short, the other three are longer. Let's go to the videotape.

Here's the second one. This is Goldstone's presentation. Let's go to the videotape.

Here's the third one. This is Dore Gold's response. By the way, the time limit on their presentations was 20 minutes each and they both went over (Gold by a lot after - as I understand it - cutting a lot of his presentation) Let's go to the videotape.

Here's the fourth and final one, the Q&A session. Let's go to the videotape.

How well did Dore Gold do? I believe that the fact that after the first round, most of the questions were critical questions for Richard Goldstone is one indication of how well Gold's presentation went over. They said they would give preference to Brandeis students and they stuck to that (at least everyone who asked questions claimed to be a Brandeis student), so there were no 'professional' questioners, except for possibly one doctoral student. Obviously, I have no way of knowing how many people went in with open minds and how many went in with their minds made up. The fact that most of the questions were critical questions directed at Goldstone says a lot to me.

The most important point that Gold got across was that there was an awful lot of exculpatory evidence out there that Goldstone never even reviewed. Goldstone kept complaining that there was so much damage and how Israel 'must' have targeted homes, and Gold put up that map showing how 20% of the homes in northern Gaza City were booby trapped (something we heard during the war - recall the story of Aharon Karov). At the end of Gold's presentation, it was nearly impossible for anyone to believe that Goldstone had reviewed all of the evidence, and that the report was fair. If nothing else, Goldstone would have had to review the Israeli evidence for there to be any chance of the report being fair.

I want to emphasize again how pleasantly surprised I was by the crowd at Brandeis. Having viewed and blogged Ehud Olmert being shouted down in Chicago and San Francisco, I feared that the same thing would happen to Dore Gold at Brandeis. Frankly, I was surprised when the students stood up with the signs that they were not thrown out. But that was really the last disruption.

By the way, there was a picture of the three students standing in the second row on the right side last night (the same row from which someone commented here) in Friday morning's Boston Globe. One of them is named Lisa Hanania (she was also the woman who asked why no 'Palestinian' representatives were there), which just happens to be the same last name as the well-known 'Palestinian' comedian Ray Hanania. I assume they are related but she is apparently not his daughter (which was my first thought), since he lives in Chicago and has for many years while she grew up in... Tel Aviv. I found this blog post from a year ago that gives some background about her:
Perhaps the most interesting report was by Lisa Hanania, an Israeli Palestinian from Jaffa, who was educated in Tel Aviv. Hanania's comments on her Palestinian identity provide, I believe, a glimpse to what is in store for Israel, should a two-state solution be implemented. Hanania came to this trip as a Palestinian, though she did not grow up in the occupied territories, not even in the group of Palestinian town in the Galilee. She grew up in Tel Aviv. One should ask what will be the next stage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after a two-state solution is implemented along the 1967 lines. What will be the reaction and what will such a change evoke in Palestinians with an Israeli identity.

The assumption that they will simply continue to accept their status as a minority in a Jewish state is no longer tenable, in my view. Hanania's self defined weak Palestinian identity is emblematic of how Palestinians wish to be perceived. Jaffa Palestinians with full rights of citizenship do not serve the Palestinian cause, so they are not presented as such. Palestinians should remain in the public image as being all disenfranchised. Once this changes, and Palestinians have rights within an independent state, this cannot but have affect on other forms of Palestinian identity.

Another sign for this was Hanania's insistence to name Hebron by its Arab name, Khalill (I think that's a wrong transliteration of the Arabic, but that's how it appeared in the report). I have no problem with Hebron being called Khalil in Arabic, Jerusalem being called Al-Quds, etc. But these are their Arabic names, and the report was written in English, and the English name derives from its biblical origin – Hebron. I would not expect a Frenchman to say England instead of Angleterre, when speaking in French. At the same time, if an Englishman writes a report in French, I expect him to write Londres, not London. Insisting on the Arabic within an English paper, is not only a sign of insecurity, it is also a way to fabricate history in the most Orwellian manner.
In other words, even if we give the 'Palestinians' a Judenrein (Jewless) state, the Lisa Hanania's of the world aren't going to be happy and aren't going to end their conflict with us.

One other comment (for now). Goldstone kept harping on the comments made by Eli Yishai and Chaim Ramon that were cited by Yitzchak (Isaac) Herzog in Haaretz. Yishai and Ramon are fools for making those comments. The next time, keep your mouths shut and do what has to be done. This is not the first time Ramon has made stupid comments.

In the "hand wringing" category, we have Haim Ramon. I have to be honest up front: Haim Ramon is one of my least favorite Israeli politicians. This goes back to an infamous Nightline appearance in November 1995 (in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination), in which he said the following regarding those who opposed the Oslo Accords:
"Maybe we can reach a consensus on some issues. But at the end of the dialogue, if we will not reach an agreement, we must agree on the one most important principle -- that the majority will decide, a democratic majority, and everybody, everybody, will respect it. And that those that are not going to respect it, from now on, will be crushed."
I don't know whether Ramon's understanding of minority rights in a democracy has improved since 1995. Somehow, I doubt it has. But since then, I have regarded Ramon as a fascist.
And you know what, I was probably right. But unfortunately, so long as he is a member of the government (which he isn't now but was in January), Israel can no more disavow Chaim Ramon than Hamas can disavow Fathi Hamad. So the next time we have to teach the government ministers to keep their mouths shut. And yes, that includes Yitzchak Herzog - no sense in airing our dirty laundry in public when there are people who will take advantage of it.

For those who arrived directly at this post, my liveblog of the debate is here and my first comments from immediately after the debate are here.


At 8:28 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Good points. Carl a personal question - did you make this trip to Boston to see this debate? You seldom leave Israel and I think its special to feel a part of history at Brandeis. Very few people get that chance. And no - I don't believe Goldstone reviewed ALL the evidence and the fact the UN still adopted his report says a lot more about the world than it does about Israel.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger ag123 said...

See the entire visual presentation given by Ambassador Dore Gold at the debate:

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I have to come to Boston twice a year (at least) to see my Dad. I planned this trip to coincide with a wedding that is taking place while I am here. The debate was a bonus. It was announced the day after I bought my ticket.

At 3:03 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - life can be like that - with family obligations and also unanticipated surprises. May your stay in Boston this year be a pleasant one!


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