Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anti-Israel Professors Named and Shamed

From, 28 October 09, by Gil Ronen:

The Haifa University Student Union has distributed a calendar diary containing an advertisement calling readers to know who the “anti-Israeli lecturers” are, in Haifa U. and in other academic institutions throughout Israel.

The advertisement contains the web address of
IsraCampus [the link is now permanently on the sidebar of JIW - SL] – a website devoted to exposing lecturers who are employed in Israeli universities, yet openly agitate against the state of Israel.

Under the heading “Warning! Academic Fifth Column!”, the advertisement exhorts readers to ”get acquainted” with the names of “professors and lecturers in Israeli universities and colleges who are involved in subversive activities.” These professors “openly support terrorist attacks against Jews, initiate an international boycott of Israel, make use of their status in the classroom for anti-Israeli incitement and anti-Zionist brainwashing, collaborate with known anti-Semites, denounce Israel as a fascist-colonialist state and an apartheid regime” and more, the ad states.

The head of the Haifa University Student Union, Felix Kuritni, said that he believes that the decision to print the advertisement was justified. “Students who study here need to know who their lecturers are and if there are lecturers who oppose the State of Israel it is important to publish their names. We all remember how during Operation Cast Lead there was a demonstration by lecturers who waved the Palestinian flag, and I do not just mean Arab lecturers but Jewish ones too.”

"Unfortunately the campus management turns a blind eye and continues to allow all kinds of political cells like Hadash and Balad to hold conventions on campus,” he explained. “The management even allowed [Islamic Movement leader] Raad Salah to come to the university and speak... They think that if they let people like Salah enter the campus it will cool down the Palestinian students but in practice the opposite happens: they douse a small fire and ignite a large one instead.”

"A student has many elective courses and he can decide that he will not choose an elective course by a lecturer who is on the list,” Kuritni added. “Why should I enter a lecture by a lecturer who says that the State of Israel murders children?”

Shlomo Sand (Tel Aviv Uni) promotes his anti-Semitism in New York

Fron WorldNetDaily, October 16, 2009, by By Lee Kaplan:

A... conference taking place at New York University today with the principal speaker being an Israeli history professor who says the Jewish people was invented in order to justify the taking of the Holy Land from the Arabs, and that today's Palestinians are in fact the descendants of the real Jews from biblical times.

The guest speaker is a history professor at Tel Aviv University named Shlomo Sand [see this earlier posting on Sand] who recently published a book titled "The Invention of the Jewish People." Sand has been called a pseudo-historian by organizations that monitor anti-Israel academics working in Israeli universities.

The meeting has been promoted by an NYU "professor of media ecology" named Mark Crispin Miller who claims his expertise is in "modern propaganda, history and tactics of advertising." However, the Sand theory of today's Israeli Jews being part of an invention to steal Arab/Muslim land is being presented as scholarly fact and not as another form of anti-Israel propaganda.

Miller has also written books claiming the 2000 and 2004 elections of George W. Bush were "stolen" and that 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government.

...Rather than being a groundbreaking or original scholarly work, Sand's book is just a rehashing of anti-Semitic tracts distributed by a Jewish convert to Christianity in the pay of Arab interests named Benjamin Freedman who claimed the same historical nonsense from about 1946 to 1961. The only difference was that Freedman also tried to claim falsely that the Jewish Talmud encourages pedophilia and sex with animals. Freedman's career was built on first opposing a Jewish state from the U.N. and later to alienate American Christian support away from the Jews. Sand merely took Freedman's thesis and spruced it up for anti-Israel groups to use as propaganda against the Jewish state.

Sand also tries to claim today's Palestinians are the real Jews who were forcibly converted to Islam after the seventh century. This, too, is academically false, as the majority of Arabs and Muslims residing in Israel and the Palestinian Authority today immigrated to the region in the mid 20th century as a result of the Zionist movement.

"The Invention of the Jewish People" is published and distributed by Verso Books in London, a firm that used to be called New Left Books. It is a publishing house that specializes in Marxist, Communist, Maoist, anti-Israel and even pro-jihadist literature for radical groups and bookstores. Its most recent book is proudly promoted as having been written by and expressing the wisdom of Osama bin Laden.

Shlomo Sand is a lifelong communist who has run with Israel's Communist Party factions since his teens. In adhering to the old Soviet party line, most communist parties in Israel are opposed to the existence of a Jewish state.

Part of the anti-Israel campaign on U.S. campuses is to suggest that Jews in America need not support a Jewish or "Zionist" state where Israel is in order to be Jewish. The number of Jewish students at New York University is staggering in terms of the student population there, so what better place to have a Marxist professor like Miller and pseudo-historian like Shlomo Sand from Tel Aviv University come and speak to explain that the Jewish people was nothing more than an invention to justify taking Palestine from the Arabs.

However, the event is really just another form of anti-Semitism and hatred against the Jewish state masquerading as an academic discussion to indoctrinate impressionable students.

Worries grow in still-rudderless Lebanon

From AFP, 29/10/09, by Rita Daou [my emphasis added - SL]:

BEIRUT — With still no government almost five months after a general election, Lebanon's political stability and security could soon suffer more repercussions, analysts say.

The power vacuum was highlighted late on Tuesday when a rocket fired from Lebanon slammed into northern Israel and the Jewish state retaliated with an artillery barrage.

The Israeli army saw the attack as "serious," a spokeswoman said, "and considers that responsibility for it falls on the Lebanese government."

The irony is that Lebanon technically does not have a government.

It has been five months since the polls, when voters opted for a coalition of parties led by Western- and Saudi-backed Saad Hariri, son of former premier Rafiq Hariri, assassinated four years ago.

Since late June, prime minister-designate Hariri has failed to form a government by bridging differences between his own bloc and the opposition, led by Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite party Hezbollah.

...On Wednesday morning, the Lebanese army discovered four more rockets, primed and ready to be fired at Israel from the border village of Hula, the origin of the previous day's attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday attack, the fourth this year, but Israel's eyes are bound to be on Hezbollah ...[which] is a key element in the country's continuing instability.

...The "armed Shiite alliance," or Hezbollah and its ally Amal, "can use the threat of a new May 7 at any time," Khoury said.

A political crisis erupted in 2006 when all Shiite cabinet ministers resigned. It climaxed on May 7, 2008 when more than 100 people were killed in sectarian fighting in the worst bloodshed since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

A Qatari-brokered deal led to the formation of a national unity government in which Hezbollah and its allies had veto power over key decisions.

But that cabinet has not met since the June 7 election. It is now just an acting government and cannot make administrative appointments or decisions.

"The obstacles to government formation are internal," said Jean Aziz, a political analyst for daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to the Hezbollah-led opposition. "It is a battle over political weight, quotas and influence in the country."

The Hezbollah-led alliance accuses the majority of trying to rule unilaterally, while the Hariri camp slams the opposition for trying to impose its conditions on the majority.

...external factors also weighed in heavily.

"Lebanon has become a dumping ground for the region's problems," [Emile Khoury, a columnist with pro-Hariri daily An-Nahar] said.

...Powerhouses Syria and Saudi Arabia recently buried the hatchet over Lebanon and have jointly called for the formation of a cabinet.

Syria was the powerbroker in neighbouring Lebanon for nearly 30 years until the 2005 murder of the elder Hariri, who was close to the Saudi monarchy.

According to Khoury, Lebanon is a key negotiating tool for Saudi Arabia, Syria and its ally Iran in recently launched dialogue.

"Iran is using Lebanon as a lever in its nuclear dossier, Syria in its problems with the international community and Saudi Arabia in its problem with the Huthis in Yemen."

United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams on Wednesday voiced "deep concern" over the delay in cabinet formation, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said last week he was "worried" by the cabinet deadlock and feared it could undermine security in the country.

And US Ambassador Michele Sison said the latest attack highlighted "the urgent need to extend the state's control over all of Lebanon's territory" and "to disarm all militias."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

J Street's Spiritual Conceit

From BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 94, October 25, 2009, by David M. Weinberg:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The pious spiritual claptrap that characterizes J Street's conference in Washington this week is both a conceit and a new form of Jewish apostasy. Conference speakers earnestly broadcast their "profound" Jewish and "spiritual" identities in order to besmirch the mainstream Jewish community and engender a distancing in US-Israel relations. This certainly does not fool the American Muslim leaders who are speaking at the conference. They know and appreciate exactly what J Street is up to.

...This explains the preponderance of numerous, vaporous spiritual types at this week's big J Street hug-in in Washington. Rabbi Sharon, Rabbi Amy, Rabbi Tirzah, Rabbi Jennie, Rabbi Julie, Rabbi Toba and Rabbi Melissa are among the prominent speakers. They are "diversity facilitators," "spirituality counselors," and "interreligious leaders" at places called Neve Kodesh, Brit Tzedek, Dorshei Tzedek and Just Vision.

So much "Tzedek" (Justice)! So much "Kodesh" (Holiness)! So much overflowing of honey, holiness and justice! At a political lobby conference, no less. Perhaps the organization should be renamed Spiritual Street.

...Well, enough, I say, of this misty, sentimental and self-serving gobbledygook. All this soft spiritual urgency, supposedly on "behalf of" Israel, belies a triple conceit; or should we say, a great deceit.

Firstly, J Street is peddling the nutty notion that ...If only American Jews and Israelis ... would do the "left" thing and concede more generously to the Palestinians. Then, lo and behold, peace would come to the Mideast.

The second conceit is that such J Street-peddled nonsense – along with J Street support for talks with Hamas, opposition to military action against the Hamas, and opposition to sanctions or military action against nuclear Iran – represents the majority of American Jewry. Hogwash. Patently false.

The third conceit is that, if only Israel were to change ... then peace would come to the Mideast. is Israel that needs to be pressured, say the J Street moral oracles.

J Street is a new form of Jewish apostasy. Its adherents hasten to embrace their Jewishness (even if they don't really know much about authentic Jewish tradition and morality) in order to besmirch Israel and the mainstream Jewish community. They earnestly declare how "profoundly" Jewish they are, in order to engender a distancing in US-Israel relations.

I guess that's why J Street has spent most of its resources bashing long-standing supporters of Israel – calling them extremists and right-wingers and accusing them of a "silencing" – and listing things that Israel must be made to do. All this, instead of calling out the dangers of Iranian nuclear weapons or Palestinian genocidal anti-Semitism. That's why they fret over the Jewish soul instead of working to save and protect the physical Jewish State of Israel.

The only people clearly not fooled by all this spiritual mumbo-jumbo are Salam al-Mayarati, Ziad Asali, Trita Parsi and other leaders of the American Muslim Public Affairs Council, American Task Force on Palestine and the National Iranian American Council – all of whom are speaking – surprise, surprise – at the J Street Jewish soul jamboree this week. They undoubtedly see past the pious claptrap, and know – and appreciate – exactly what J Street is up to.

How J Street jeopardizes Jews

From Ynet News, 27/10/09, by Martin Sherman:

...J Street is a dangerous organization – it is dangerous because prima facie it appears quite plausible. However, its policy proposals for American appeasement and Israeli retreat harbor grave consequences for both countries.

It makes little difference whether J Street’s intentions are sinister or sincere, or whether it is motivated by malice or myopia. For it is the substance of its proposals - not their motivation - that makes J Street such a grim threat to the Jews and the Jewish nation-state.

Indeed, J Street seems committed to method rather than outcomes. Why else would it insist on persisting with failed policies - both vis-à-vis Israel and Teheran?

The Iranian theocracy has proved itself resolutely immune to finger-wagging and moral suasion. Yet J Street insists that - contrary to all available evidence - some yet undiscovered diplomatic formula exists to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear endeavor.

But perhaps more than anything, J Street is associated with its unequivocal endorsement of the two-state solution for the Israel-Palestinian conflict, apparently seduced by an idyllic vision of "two-states living side-by-side in peace and security.”

Before analyzing its political feasibility, one ought to address the indisputable security significance such a solution would have for Israel, if implemented.

A Palestinian state established on the hills overlooking the 1967-frontier, in any configuration even remotely acceptable to even the most moderate Palestinian, would command virtually all the nation's vital infrastructure systems, installations, and major populations centers in the coastal plain. Without exception, they would all be in range of the kind of weapons used today from territory transferred to Palestinian rule.

This is not an expression of political preference - but a factual consequence of topographical elevation and geographical distance. It reflects an ominous prospect ...for it articulates precisely past precedents that Israel has encountered on its northern and southern frontiers. Along its eastern frontier, however, the concentration of vulnerable civilian and high-value strategic targets would make the consequences of such an eventuality far more serious.

... even if - despite the accumulating evidence to the contrary - it is possible to find genuinely peaceable Palestinian partners who would agree to implement J Street's vision of "two-states living side by side in peace and security," how could their continued incumbency be ensured?

...Regime-change in the Palestinian context is not longer a theoretical possibility - it occurred in Gaza! What if it occurs again in the "West Bank,” as many knowledgeable experts warn is likely?

...Both Operations Defensive Shield and Cast Lead show that when Israel reacts to protect its citizens from attacks, even after extreme restraint, the result is international censure and Israeli casualties. Why would J Street wish to create conditions which make a repetition of such instances almost inevitable?

...But even if - against almost impossible odds - it turns out that a verifiable, enforceable and durable demilitarized arrangement could be attained, thorny questions still exist. Who would be responsible for the national security of the demilitarized Palestinian state? Unless one assumes that it would be state devoid of any enemies in the most enemy-rich region of the world, it would clearly be entitled to some kind of defense. So will the Palestinians be allowed to forge defense pacts with other states - such as Iran or Syria? Or will the IDF be called upon to sacrifice its troops to repel possible assaults on the demilitarized Palestinian state? What is J Street's position on this?

Unless J Street addresses all these issues, and unless it produces a convincing program for contending with situations that would arise if it is proven wrong, it must resign itself to the allegation that J Street Jeopardizes Jews.

The Unfinished War with Lebanon

From GLORIA, October 15, 2009, by Jonathan Spyer*:

The explosion in the south Lebanese village of Tayr Felseir offers the latest evidence of the way in which Hizbullah is rebuilding its infrastructure following the Second Lebanon War in 2006. In the pre-2006 period, Hizbullah maintained its military infrastructure in open countryside areas often declared off-limits to all but the movement's personnel. The rebuilt infrastructure, by contrast, has been constructed within the fabric of civilian life in south Lebanon. This process has taken place largely undisturbed by the Lebanese and UN military personnel conspicuously deployed throughout the south.

...Hizbullah's decision to make use of populated areas is primarily a result of the increased presence of UNIFIL and LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) personnel in the area south of the Litani River, a presence which was enforced under the terms of UN Resolution 1701. Of course, the movement has made use of civilian-populated areas in the past. During the 2006 war, Hizbullah often launched Katyushas from villages (generally non-Shi'ite ones). But the placing of arms caches and permanent positions within residential areas has served to render the renewed military infrastructure largely off-limits to international inspection. Past experience indicates that the embarrassing publicity deriving from the Tayr Felsair explosion is unlikely to alter this picture.

This week's explosion was not the first time in recent months that Hizbullah ordnance has accidentally detonated in south Lebanon. On July 14, a series of large explosions took place in the village of Khirbet Silm. The events that followed and the UNIFIL investigation into the explosions show the extent to which both the international forces and the Lebanese Army are adopting a "live and let live" attitude to Hizbullah's preparations for the next war.

At the time, Hizbullah actions in Khirbet Silm followed a similar pattern to those observed on Monday in Tayr Felsair. First, Hizbullah agents removed the evidence. As this was being done, a number of "outraged residents" from the area held demonstrations to prevent UNIFIL troops from inspecting the scene. Peacekeepers eventually conducted their investigation, and concluded that the site at Khirbet Silm contained large quantities of 107 mm Katyusha rockets, heavy machine gun rounds and mortar tubes of a type used by Hizbullah.

Investigators from the international force also discovered that the site had been permanently guarded by Hizbullah personnel. They recorded that all this constituted a "serious violation" of Resolution 1701.

Beyond this declaration, the investigation has had no discernible result. No one was ever named, much less held accountable. Nor did UNIFIL's modus operandi change to take into account the likelihood that if there was an arms depot in Khirbet Silm it probably wasn't the only one.

UNIFIL REMAINS deployed mainly in unpopulated areas. It enters Shi'ite villages only with an escort of Lebanese army personnel. Its vehicle and air patrols, taking place along recognized patrol paths and in rural areas, have produced some tangible results in terms of discovering unused bunkers and old munitions. But the international force, which maintains no independent checkpoints, does its best to stay out of the way of Hizbullah and the civilian population.

Except for cases where there are obvious signs pointing to the presence of ordnance - such as when a large explosion occurs - UNIFIL simply prefers not to act on the evidence. And there is no indication that the latest explosion at Tayr Falseir will change this situation. Rather, it is more likely that UNIFIL's investigation will be rapidly forgotten and the results quietly filed away as the media moves on.

Even more problematic is the role being played by the LAF. The Lebanese army and UNIFIL were prevented from entering the house in Tayr Falseir immediately following the explosion. Once LAF representatives were permitted to enter, they swiftly endorsed Hizbullah's version of events.

The Lebanese army, which is much more visible on the ground than UNIFIL, undoubtedly has a far better sense of what is really going on. The problem with the LAF becoming an obstacle to Hizbullah rearming and reorganizing itself in south Lebanon is that the army is a deeply divided organization. Many of its members are sympathetic to the "resistance." Thirty percent of the LAF officer corps, and a majority of its rank and file, are Shi'ite, like Hizbullah. More fundamentally, the official position of the LAF is one of "endorsement" of Hizbullah's "right to resist." The LAF defines Israel as its "primary antagonist and enemy."

So neither UNIFIL, nor the LAF, nor their respective employers - the United Nations and the government of Lebanon - are going to be standing in the way of Hizbullah's program of rearming in populated areas any time soon.

Ultimately, the situation in southern Lebanon is a facet of a larger problem, namely, the existence of a Hizbullah state within a state, which is answerable to no one but the movement's leadership and its Iranian patrons. Since the mini-civil war of May 2008, it has been clearer than ever that there is no force in the country able to challenge Hizbullah's independent foreign and "defense" policies. The movement maintains a parallel army, parallel security services, a parallel communications network and also, of course, independent educational and social structures.

The winners of last June's elections in Lebanon do not like the current situation, but they are helpless to prevent it, as they have not even succeeded in forming a government since their victory. The extent to which the Hizbullah state within a state is subservient to Iran or maintains its own agenda remains debated by analysts. But there is no debate that it is entirely free of any control or supervision from the official Lebanese state.

Preparations for the next round of fighting are going on daily, undisturbed, in the heart of the populated areas south of the Litani River, and the occasional "work accident" is the only reminder the world receives that it is happening. UNIFIL conducts its patrols and doesn't get in the way, and the LAF plays an even more ambiguous role. Anyone who thought that the war between Hizbullah and Israel ended on August 14, 2006 was surely mistaken.

*Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carter goes looking for loot in Jeddah

From the Arab News, Monday 26 October 2009, by Roger Harrison:

Shnorrer: ‘We cannot have peace without justice’
photo by Roger Harrison

JEDDAH: Former US President Jimmy Carter visited Jeddah on Saturday to share his vision of the future .....“Everybody’s talking about peace, but we cannot have peace without justice,” he said

...Carter described some of the activities of the Carter Center... He noted that since he was free of political office he could go where he chooses and say what he wants. ... there are not many people who are free to move as we (the Carter Center) ...” he said.

Carter said that he had faith and confidence in the moral values of President Barack Obama and that he was well aware of the tremendous pressures on him by interest groups in the US.

Offering a glimpse of the way the Carter Center worked ... he said; “We try to provide an alternative voice to some of those groups. I have free access to President Obama and his advisers and we continue to pursue the goal of the US taking leadership to bring about the dream of peace.”

[I wonder which "interest groups" he's talking about? - SL]

US people strongly support Israel

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Oct. 26, 2009:

The American people's strong support for Israel remains constant and their support for action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power has substantially increased, according to a new nationwide survey released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Monday.

The survey's findings demonstrate that Americans recognize Israel as a strong and loyal US ally, are skeptical about "peace dividends" that would be realized by Israel stopping all settlement construction and believe that a Palestinian state must not be established until the Palestinians demonstrate a commitment to end violence and accept Israel's legitimacy.

The 2009 Survey of American Attitudes on Israel, The Palestinians and Prospects for Peace in the Middle East, a national telephone survey of 1,200 American adults, was conducted September 26-October 4, 2009 by Marttila Communications of Washington, D.C. and Boston.

...Some two thirds of Americans consider Israel a strong and loyal US ally, as previous surveys showed.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 64% believe that Israel is serious about achieving peace with the Palestinians, with three-to-one respondents expressing more sympathy with Israel than the Palestinians, when asked to choose a side.

Support for US involvement in the peace process rose by nine percentage points to 39% since 2007, but 48% believe the two sides must ultimately solve their own problems.

With recent US efforts to freeze Israeli settlement activity, 53% of those questioned believe that even if Israel halts all construction Arab leaders will continue to refuse Israel's right to exist.

Some 61% believe that the conflict will continue for years with 51% claiming that Palestinian divisions are an obstacle to peace and 56% saying no Palestinian state should be established until Palestinians cease violence and accept Israel's legitimacy.

Concerning the question of the Iranian threat, 63% of the respondents consider Iran an immediate or short-term security threat to the Middle East compared to 50% in 2007.

There has also been significant gain in those who would support either Israel or the US using military action to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, with 57% of Americans supporting an Israeli hit, up from 42% in 2007, and 54% supporting a US campaign, up from 47% in 2007.

Fallen Diggers' families abused

From The Australian, October 22, 2009, by Paul Maley:

THREE days after their son was killed by a Taliban rocket attack in Afghanistan, the Sher family received a phone call. The caller, a woman who identified herself as Sister Amirah, asked if she could send a letter offering condolences over the death of 30-year-old Private Greg Sher, who had served with the Sydney-based 1st Commando Regiment.

... "A Jewish man who kills innocent Muslim civilians is not a pig, he is a thousand times worse," the letter said. "Some people don't eat the meat of a pig, but they are dirtier than pig. What's the point if some people don't eat pork while their behaviour is worse than dirty animals? Why should we call a pig a hero?"

The Shers, a proud Jewish family, were appalled. ...they were one of several Australian families whose sons had died in Afghanistan who were then targeted by a man calling himself "Sheik Haron".

Yesterday, the Australian Federal Police charged a 45-year-old man from the inner western suburb of Croydon Park with seven counts of using a postal or similar service to menace, harass or cause offence.

Sheik Haron or, as he is known on his website, "Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi" is understood to have written to, phoned or otherwise harassed up to seven grieving families.

In his most egregious intrusion, one of his supporters confronted Breanna Till, the partner of Sergeant Brett Till who was killed while defusing a bomb in March. The incident took place at her husband's funeral, after the supporter presented Ms Till with one of the sheik's poisonous letters. ...Ms Till declined to discuss the matter. However, defence sources have confirmed the exchange took place.

Little is known about the sheik, who is understood to go by a number of names. His website contains dozens of letters, at least seven of which are addressed to the relatives of fallen Diggers.
Another letter on the site is addressed to the family of Australian trade official Craig Senger, who was killed when an offshoot of Jemaah Islamiah bombed the Marriott hotel in Jakarta in July.

...John Worsley, whose son was killed in December 2007 following a clash with the Taliban, was also harassed by the sheik.

"We received a phone call the afternoon or the evening our boy was killed," Mr Worsley said. "He said words to the effect that he was sorry to hear that we'd lost our son, but as the conversation progressed it was, our country's involved in a war it shouldn't be involved in, in a country it shouldn't be in." After the phone call, the letters started coming, three in total. "They said our boy was a killer of innocents and things like that."

The AFP was tight-lipped about the case yesterday, although officers suggested their interest in the sheik was far from over, saying their inquiries were "ongoing".

As part of the investigation, officers from the Sydney Joint Counter-Terrorism Team executed search warrants on residential addresses in the Sydney suburbs of Croydon Park, Campsie, and Green Valley.

The charged man was granted conditional bail and will appear in court on November 10.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Historian" says "Israel is a fabrication...and I'm not afraid of Dershowitz..."

From Tablet, October 13, 2009, by Evan R. Goldstein*:

...Shlomo Sand [from Tel Aviv university] argues that ‘Jewish peoplehood’ is a myth

...a new book, The Invention of the Jewish People , by Tel Aviv University historian Shlomo Sand, ...argues that the Jews were not in fact exiled from Israel, and that the bulk of modern Jewry does not descend from the ancient Israelites. Rather, he claims, they are the children of converts—North African Berbers and Turkic Khazars—and have no ancestral ties to the land of Israel.

Zionism is not a return home, Sand writes, it is the tragic theft of another people’s land. As such, Israel is not the political rebirth of the Jewish nation—it’s a complete fabrication. [Follow this link to hear him interviewed talking about his “theories” - SL]

Predictably, The Invention of the Jewish People generated a torrent of controversy when it was published in Hebrew last year ...with Tom Segev, the post-Zionist “new historian,” acclaiming it as “one of the most fascinating and challenging books” to arrive in Israel in a long time, while Alexander Yakobson, a professor of history at the Hebrew University, called it a “pack of lies.”

In March, the French translation, which has sold 45,000 copies—a large number for an academic historian—received the prestigious Aujourd’hui Award, which is given to the year’s best non-fiction book.

...the real test of the book’s significance will take place October 19, when the left-wing publisher Verso Press brings out the English edition of The Invention of the Jewish People. ...“America will be the real battle,” said Sand, who arrives on these shores this month for a series of appearances in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere.

...“Sand is not publishing this book at a dignified conference in Bern at which scholars of the Middle East debate the origins of the Jews,” said Goldberg, also a Tablet Magazine contributing editor. “He is dropping manufactured facts into a world that in many cases is ready, willing, and happy to believe the absolute worst conspiracy theories about Jews and to use those conspiracy theories to justify physically hurting Jews.” Goldberg views The Invention of the Jewish People as part of a growing body of work designed not only to discredit the idea of Jewish nationalism, but also the idea of Jews themselves. “It is nothing new,” he added ...we can survive this.” ...

...Sand describes himself as a post-Zionist, but his politics are eclectic. “I am not a Zionist because I am a liberal democrat,” he said. “It is not possible to have a Jewish and a democratic state. It would be like America defining itself as a Protestant state. It makes no sense.”

In the late 1960s, Sand joined Matzpen, a now defunct radical group that advocated the de-Zionization of the Israeli state...

... in the Israeli academy Sand’s book has not been received as good news. Yakobson, the Hebrew University professor, said that Sand’s interpretation of Jewish history “gives a bad name to flimsiness.” To him, even if Sand had made a compelling argument about Jewish origins, it would have no bearing on whether the Jews can be considered a nation. “In order to be a people in the modern sense you do not have to be a descent group,” Yakobson said. “What makes a people is their self-determination to regard themselves as a people.”

Israel Bartal charged Sand with “intellectual superficiality” and “twisting the rules governing the work of professional historians.” Sand’s alleged sins include the use of misleading citations, disrespect for historical details, and a slippery tendency to present extreme theories as though they reflect the scholarly consensus.

Anita Shapira, a professor of history at Tel Aviv University, wrote what many believe was the definitive take-down review of Sand’s book for The Journal of Israeli History. In it, Shapira wrote that she found something “warped and objectionable in the assumption that for Jews to integrate into the Middle East they, and they alone of all the peoples in the region, must shed their national identity and historical memories and reconstruct themselves in a way that may (perhaps) find favor with Israeli-Palestinians.”

Yet this barrage of criticism has done little to dampen interest in The Invention of the Jewish People. Translations are underway in a dozen languages, including German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian. Sand signed a contract with a Palestinian publisher to release an Arabic-language edition, but the translation was so sloppy that Sand halted publication. “I am very depressed about it,” he said. “I want to write in the preface that I am waiting for an Arab historian to have the courage to write about Arab history in the same way that I wrote Jewish history.”

But at the moment, Sand has his eyes set on America. “I know there are a lot of organized Zionists that cannot accept the sort of criticism I can voice in Israel,” he said. “But I want you to know I am not afraid of Alan Dershowitz.”

[Sand is on a tour of the USA promoting his book. An anti-Semitic US radio announcer Khalil Bendib (gleefully) interviewed Shlomo Sand earlier this year, and once again more recently. Another Jew damaging Israel ...for what? - SL]

*Evan R. Goldstein is an editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Australian Human Rights, Wrongs and Wongs Commission


CANBERRA: Extract from evidence given by The Hon. Catherine Branson QC, President, Australian Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Commissioner pp 18-20

Senator BARNETT—...Ms Branson, at the time you described the outcomes document from the Durban II conference as one ‘which we have applauded the contents of’. You put that on the record on 25 May. Do you recall that?

Ms Branson—I do.

Senator BARNETT—The outcomes document opens with an explicit reaffirmation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action as it was adopted in 2001, and it said it:

Reaffirms the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action … as it was adopted at the World Conference in 2001.

It was precisely the likelihood that the Durban Review Conference would reaffirm the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action in its entirety that was the major concern of the Australian government, which led to the government boycotting the conference. That was set out in the Hon. Stephen Smith’s media release of 19 April 2009. Do you recall that, Ms Branson?

Ms Branson—Yes.

Senator BARNETT—He said at the time:

Australia, however, cannot support a document which reaffirms the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action in its entirety—as is currently the case. The 2001 Declaration singled out Israel and the Middle East. Australia expressed strong concerns about this at the time. The Australian Government continues to have these concerns. [see the Background Briefing below - SL]

So my question for you, Ms Branson, is: do you disagree with the view of the Australian government that the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action unacceptably singled out Israel and the Middle East?

Ms Branson—The commission does not read the original document in the same way as the minister apparently does. We did not see it in the same way as is expressed in the statement you have just read to us.

Senator BARNETT—Let me ask you another question. Do you disagree with the Australian government’s concern that the Durban Review Conference was likely to—and, in the event, did—reaffirm the Durban Declaration and Program of Action in its entirety? Do you stand by your view that the outcomes document of the Durban Review Conference is deserving of applause by the Australian Human Rights Commission?

Ms Branson—I stand by the latter statement.

Senator BARNETT—That you applaud the outcome?

Ms Branson—Yes.

Senator BARNETT—That seems to be in direct contradiction to the views of Minister Stephen Smith.

Ms Branson—I regret that.

Senator BARNETT—You regret that, do you, Ms Branson?

Ms Branson—Yes.

Senator BARNETT—Have you expressed your views to the minister?

Ms Branson—No.

Senator BARNETT—Have you had any communications with the minister since we had this discussion in May?

Ms Branson—No.

Senator BARNETT—What about with the Attorney-General or with any other government official?

Ms Branson—On this topic? No.

Senator BARNETT—So do you see any reason for a parliamentary committee such as ours, or members of parliament, to be concerned that you have a view which is diametrically opposed to the minister’s? He stands up and expresses concern that there should be a boycott of this conference because of his concerns about racism, as it were, and views expressed—antagonism against Israel in particular—yet you have a view that, in fact, applauds the outcome of the document, which he totally opposes.

Ms Branson—I am not sure that I can answer the question which I think you have put to me. The Australian Human Rights Commission does not accept that the Durban outcomes document did attack Israel or that it supported anti-Semitism. We do not read it that way.

Senator BARNETT—Do you read Durban I as anti-Semitic and to be condemned?

Ms Branson—We do not read the Durban outcomes document as anti-Semitic. If we did, we would condemn it. We do not so read it.

Senator BARNETT—Durban I and Durban II?

Ms Branson—Durban I and Durban II.

...Ms Branson—We do not believe anti-Semitism was expressed in either document. The commission is strongly opposed to anti-Semitism, as it is to all forms of discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.

Senator BARNETT—Does the commission, in hindsight, have a view of the speech of the President of Iran at that time? That was a conference which—

Ms Branson—The commission has not considered the speech of the President of Iran.

Senator BARNETT—... Surely the commission has a view.

Ms Branson—The topic has not come before the commission on any commission agenda.

Senator BARNETT—You are advising this committee ...notwithstanding the cost of sending the commissioner and an officer and being fully aware of the publicity, the government’s media release, the boycott of the conference by the government and the speech from the President of Iran, which was condemned all around the world—not only that the commission is not willing to condemn it but that you are willing to say that you applaud the outcome of that conference. Is that correct?

Ms Branson ... We have not considered it necessary to put on the commission’s agenda the subject matter of the speech of the President of Iran, whose views we do not regard as helpful in this area.

Senator BARNETT—Is that the best you can do, Ms Branson?

Ms Branson—That is my answer.

Senator BARNETT—That the views of the President of Iran are not helpful in this area? That is the public contribution that you have made in response to the views—

...Senator Wong...I think everyone in this room would have the same views—about the unacceptability of any form of xenophobia, including anti-Semitism....

Senator BARNETT—Minister, would you care to make a contribution? A taxpayer funded entity, the Australian Human Rights Commission, has applauded the outcome Durban I and Durban II and sent its officials to the Durban II conference notwithstanding that the Australian government boycotted it and Mr Stephen Smith has put his views on the public record on behalf of the government. Do you have any concerns about this dichotomy?

Senator Wong—As you are aware, the commission is independent. I am advised that the decision for Mr Calma to attend was a decision of the commission and the Australian government’s position is that as outlined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Senator BARNETT—Minister, please. Do you have any concerns that there is a diametrically opposed view held by the commission with respect to important matters, particularly with respect to the state of Israel and the views of the government?

Senator Wong—The Australian government’s position on the state of Israel and on the conduct of the Durban conference are as outlined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and you are aware of those views because you have referred to them today in your questions.

Senator BARNETT—In light of the time we will move to the next topic but, Ms Branson, I advise you that I consider this incredibly important and serious. I am deeply disturbed that the commission applauds both Durban I and Durban II notwithstanding the views of the Australian government which you are fully aware of.


From the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, No. 71, 1 August 2008 / 29 Tammuz 5768, by Alfred H. Moses:

  • The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban in 2001 quickly became a new form of Passion Play with the Palestinian people as the victim and the Jewish state of Israel as the crucifier. Much of the hatred took place in a six-day NGO Forum in a large cricket stadium attended by six thousand representatives of close to two thousand NGOs. It was anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli from start to finish.
  • In a sense, Durban was African "payback time." By and large Durban was Black Africa speaking, led by the Republic of South Africa. However, missing from Durban was any acknowledgment of the ills Africa visited upon itself since the end of colonialism and continues to inflict on its people seven years after Durban, as witnessed in savage attacks against immigrants/refugees in Johannesburg in spring 2008.
  • There can be no repeat of the anti-Semitism displayed at Durban. It has no place anywhere, but most certainly not at a follow-up conference to combat racism and intolerance. This message has to be delivered forcefully, not only to Europe and elsewhere but also to the conference's chief sponsors in Africa who have the greatest stake in the outcome of the Durban process. The same message needs to be conveyed to the Muslim world.
  • It is imperative to prevent the repetition of the poisonous vapors of anti-Semitism emitted on the eve of Durban I. Similarly there can be no linking of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with racism.

Follow the link to read the full paper.

And from, Monday, March 9, 2009, by: James H. Walsh:

Durban Conference Caters to Terrorists

...In 1997, the U.N. General Assembly agreed to hold a World Conference in Durban, South Africa, to seek the eradication of world racism, discrimination, and intolerance. This World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance was to determine the causes, sources, forms, and manifestations of these ills as well as to identify victims and measures of prevention, education, and eradication of these ills.

... Noble goals all, but with 57 Muslim nations wielding the power of the agenda, Durban I soon ignited into a conflagration of goodwill, ecumenism, fairness, and justice leaving behind a heap of bitter ashes.

...The United States and Israel left after four days of Durban I, with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell leading the walkout and noting that it was merely a “hate” conference.

...Canada had stayed at Durban, trying to bring some rational thinking to the mob mentality of a “get-even” psychosis infecting developing nations who believe themselves poor and underprivileged because of the Western developed world.

Also seeking their portion of the “get-even” pie were Muslim nations downplaying decades of Islamic terrorism to claim that they too were mistreated by the West. Durban I was an attack-fest upon “infidel” nations by Muslim nations that pride themselves as independent yet seek legitimacy through victimization.

The main thrusts of the Durban I documents were as follows: victimization of Palestinians by Israelis dating from al Naqba-Day of the Catastrophe (the Creation of Israel); an assertion that the United States and Europe must accept and atone (through reparations) for the trans-Atlantic slave trade; and the equating of any criticism of Islam to “racism” (especially any Western designation of Islamic freedom fighters as terrorists).

Durban I equated any criticism of Islam or its acts to “Islamophobia” and thus to “racism.”

The documents sought to criminalize any statements about Islam, at the same time encouraging open assailment of other religions by Muslims around the world.

Durban I was an embarrassment to the UN and to the civilized world. An estimated 6,000 representatives of some 2,000 UN-selected non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had their expenses paid by the U.N.

...Well-represented among the NGO delegates at Durban I were radical leftists, anarchists, and Muslims. Their condemnation of colonialism managed to omit Russia’s recent incursions into Eastern European countries including Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia.

They also omitted China’s control of Tibet.

No mention was made of the decades of Islamic terrorist/suicide bombers and the killing of innocent men, women, and children in Israel and around the world. No mention was made of the persecution and killings of Christians and other non-Muslims in Muslim nations, such as Egypt, Indonesia, Kosovo (UN-created entity), Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan. No mention was made of free speech, only condemnation of “hate” speech, defined as any words that may be interpreted as critical of Islam.

No mention was made of violations of the human rights of Christians by Muslim governments. The African nations chose to forget that it was the losing warriors in African tribal wars that were sold into slavery — a market managed not by Europeans and Americans but by Arabs and Africans. Although African nations wanted to include in the Durban I documents their demand for reparations, the measure was defeated by European delegates.

In 2006, a resolution by the U.N. Human Rights Council reiterated its acceptance of the Durban I documents (Declaration and Program of Action). The Council called for a Durban II conference to come up with concrete measures to implement the 72-page document with its 473 vitriolic paragraphs — largely unread by Durban I delegates....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

'Psychoactive' against Israel

From JPost Blogs, 18 Oct 2009, by Petra Marquardt-Bigman:

... how bizarre things can get when you venture out to the fringes where it's fashionable to demonize Israel as a uniquely evil force in today's world.

...when it comes to demonizing Israel, nothing is too absurd to get aired in respectable media outlets or at academic conferences; indeed, there are even prestigious awards to be won.

A good example is former Israeli lawyer and political activist Felicia Langer, who was recently awarded Germany's "Federal Merit Cross, First Class." Langer, who has lived in Germany for some 20 years, has made a name for herself as a fierce critic of Israel who wouldn't even shy away from language that suggests comparisons between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany. Reportedly, she left Israel out of protest and has explained that she made "a politically conscious choice for Germany ... because I understood with what brutality and sophistication Israel was exploiting the Germans' guilt."

Obviously, the kind of positive reinforcement bestowed on Langer is by and large reserved for Jewish "critics" of Israel, because if a non-Jew suggests that Israel should be suspected of genocidal intentions or be compared to Nazi Germany, most people realize that this kind of "criticism" of Israel is tainted by anti-Semitic attitudes. The phenomenon of Jews eager to level those preposterous charges against Israel has led to a debate about the question if this is a manifestation of "Jewish anti-Semitism."

Recently I came across an article that railed against the "tropes of 'Jewish antisemitism'" and dismissed the "concept of the 'self-hating Jew,'" which was described as having been "dignified with a pseudo-psychopathology by those keen to suppress dissent." The writer, Antony Lerman, is a regular contributor to the Guardian's "Comment is Free" blog, and this was not the first time that he expressed his passionate rejection of the concept of Jewish "self-hatred." One of the previous occasions was in Lerman's recent review of a book by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, whom Lerman criticized sharply:

He wants space for dissident voices, yet repeatedly gives credence to the notion of Jewish self-hatred, a bogus concept that serves no other purpose than to demonise Jewish dissent. He calls on Jews not to see all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, but he endorses wholesale the idea of the 'new anti-Semitism' - basically, that Israel is the Jew among the nations - which licenses Jews to do precisely what he says they shouldn't."

Since a note at the end of the review announces that Antony Lerman "is writing a book reflecting on his personal experience of Zionism and Israel," we can expect to hear more from him in defense of even the most outlandish accusations against Israel.

...Moreover, in his most recent article, Lerman hardly helped his case when he praised a conference held last week at Birkbeck, University of London, which explored the subject "Sites of Conflict: Psycho-political Resistance in Israel-Palestine." Lerman explained that this conference "was prompted by the work of a group called Psychoactive - Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights" and he highlighted the contribution of Professor Uri Hadar of Tel Aviv University, an Israeli psychologist, who "sought to explain 'Israeli brutality towards Palestinians and what enables it.'"

According to Lerman, Hadar presented a "troublingly controversial" argument by suggesting "that Israel has never been properly able to mourn the mass murder of six million Jews, thus never properly assimilating it into the Israeli psyche, and that this has led to [a] 'full-blown Palestinian Holocaust being part of an unconscious Israeli itinerary.'" [listen to Uri Hadar's presentation in London - it's a wacky hallucination in which he suggests that the "nasty" majority of Israelis see themselves as the almost sacrificed Isaac and the Palestinians as the "replacement sacrificial lamb (sic)" ...and similarly wierd constructions - SL]

... There is also nothing original to this "psychologizing," since it has become rather fashionable in certain circles to put the Jews on the couch to diagnose the supposed pathologies of their collective psyche - in fact, Antony Lerman is among those who has tried his hand at this endeavor.

There are two superb critiques of this latest fashion from a left-wing political perspective: one is an article by David Hirsh published in April in the Jewish Chronicle, the other is a post by Shalom Lappin published on normblog in May. Lappin describes the "psychologizing discourse" as "a vintage case of pseudo-science in the service of prejudice" and emphasizes that it is used to lend respectability to "attitudes and assumptions that would be inadmissible if expressed in traditional terms."

But it's perhaps also time to let the "psychologizers" have a taste of their own medicine. A recent article written by some of the members of the "psychoactive" group whose work inspired the Birkbeck conference throws some light on their own "psychoactivity." In an article published in September, members of the group describe their emotions during and after Israel's military campaign against Gaza. They note that due to their opposition to the Gaza campaign, they felt "a sense of deep disconnection from the Israeli collective." At the same time, it seems that the efforts of the group members to remain engaged in a mutually supportive dialogue with their colleagues in Gaza, the West Bank and Israeli Arab communities were not all that rewarding:

The fact that we were activists speaking out against the attack did not really count in our favour: we were perceived as part of the attacking entity and hence as an address for expressions of frustration and outrage. […] From time to time the Jewish participants came up with calls for Palestinians to express their disavowal of Hamas or their recognition of the suffering of the Jewish citizens of Sderot or the Gaza area. Such demands were perceived as non-legitimate by most Palestinians [!!!!!] - at a time when Israel was carrying out, in their words, war crimes against their brethren in Gaza. […] our need to feel moral and humane was linked to Palestinians' recognition of our morality and humanity.

Whether consciously or not, we expected to receive recognition and acknowledgement in our activities, and to assert the difference between ourselves and the Jewish majority. We needed to confirm our humanity and morality through its appreciation by the Palestinian participants. When this did not quite happen, we found ourselves, again, coping with a sense of isolation and loneliness.

When the bar for the sought-after "recognition" is set so high, some real effort is required - like talk about a "full-blown Palestinian Holocaust being part of an unconscious Israeli itinerary" during a conference in London. That should do the trick and get the Jewish group members the desperately sought "recognition and acknowledgement," and help them "to assert the difference between ourselves and the Jewish majority" by confirming their "humanity and morality through its appreciation by the Palestinian participants."

Obviously, this is the perfect description of what is usually meant by "self-hatred." But this example also provides a perfect illustration why this concept is problematic: the "psychoactivity" described here has nothing to do with self-hatred; to the contrary, it reveals a sense of superiority that sets a small self-appointed "elite" apart from an inferior majority that is unable and unwilling to live up to the lofty standards this elite holds dear.

But what can you do: in Israel, it just isn't everybody's thing to hold out for a pat on the back and a heart-felt "well done" from people who see no reason to disavow Hamas.

Iran Refuses to Endorse U.N. Nuclear Deal

From The New York Times,October 23, 2009:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran declined Friday to endorse proposals by the U.N. nuclear watchdog to help reduce Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

...The U.N. nuclear watchdog Wednesday presented a draft deal to Iran and three world powers for approval within two days to reduce Tehran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium, seen by the West as a nuclear weapons risk.

The three powers -- Russia, the United States and France -- have all signalled approval of the draft.

Western diplomats said the plan would require Tehran to send 1.2 tonnes of its known 1.5-tonne reserve of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and France by the end of the year.

The material would be converted into fuel for the Tehran medical reactor.

More libel from "friends of Palestine"

From an email despatch from Dr. Martin Sherman*, Visiting Schusterman Israel Scholar – USC/HUC:

Omar Bargouti, a student at tel Aviv University is visiting Los Angeles. Among other things he will attempt to make the claim that Israel is depriving the Palestinians of water as a measure of ethnic cleansing – see the excerpts from the advertisement reproduced below

Palestine: Thirsting for Justice - Israel’s Control of Water as Tool of Apartheid and Means of Ethnic Cleansing
Loyola Law School November 1

Speaker: Omar Barghouti... a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
“This is our South Africa Moment”

This attempt must be countered vigorously and rebuffed assertively. The truth is that the Palestinians' situation in relation to water improved dramatically -indeed beyond all recognition - under Israeli administration.

The overall area under cultivation increased by 160%, while agricultural output increased 12-fold in the period 1967-1989 (just prior to the Oslo process). This was facilitated by the adoption of modern water-efficient irrigation techniques such as sprinklers and drip irrigation by Palestinian farmers, instead of open channel or rain-fed irrigation that were prevalent before Israeli administration in these areas.

Water experts such as Daniel Hillel, underscore this reality. In his wide-ranging study of the Middle East water resources, Rivers of Eden: The Struggle for Water and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 1994), a book generally empathetic toward the Arab world, Hillel makes the following observation:

The Israeli occupation changed local agriculture profoundly. It introduced modern technology, including mechanization, precision tillage, pest control, plastic covering of crops for temperature control, high yielding varieties, postharvest processing of produce, marketing, and export outlets. It also introduced efficient methods of irrigation, including sprinkler and especially drip irrigation. Consequently, output increased greatly, and farming was transformed from a subsistence enterprise to a commercial industry.

Moreover, of the roughly 450 towns and villages in Judea and Samaria only 50 were connected to a running water system in June 1967, whereas the number rose to 260 by October 1991. The overall per capita consumption of fresh water by the Palestinians rose by almost 17% in the period 1967-2009 (from 86 Million Cubic Meter [MCM] to 100 MCM) while Israeli per capita consumption fell by almost 300% (!) from % 508 MCM to 170 MCM - with much of agricultural cultivation being converted to use of recycled waste water.

*Dr. Martin Sherman acted as a ministerial advisor in the 1991-2 Shamir government. He also served for seven years in various defense related capacities and now teaches political science at Tel Aviv University. His works have been published in academic journals such as Journal of Strategic Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics, International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence and Nations and Nationalism. He is the author of two books on international conflicts (Macmillan UK). Dr. Sherman is also a member of the advisory board of the Nativ journal in which he has published frequently.

A moral atrocity

From The Guardian, Tuesday 20 October 2009, by Harold Evans:

Judge Goldstone has been suckered into letting war criminals use his name to pillory Israel

Aren't the British sickened by the moral confusions of their government? First, we have the weasel words to justify the unjustifiable release of the Lockerbie bomber. Now we have the sickening spectacle of Britain failing to stand by Israel, the only democracy with an independent judiciary in the entire region.

It was to be expected that the usual suspects of the risible UN human rights council would be eager to condemn Israel for war crimes in defending itself against Hamas. If you treat people as the Chinese do the Tibetans or Uighurs ("Off with their heads!"); or as the Russians eliminate Chechen dissidents; or as the Nigerians tolerate extrajudicial killings, the evictions of 800,000, rape and cruel treatment of prisoners; or as the Egyptians get prisoners to talk (torture) and the Saudis suppress half their population … well, go through the practices of all 25 states voting to refer Israel to the security council for the Gaza war, and you have to acknowledge they know a lot about the abuse of humans. Anything to divert attention from their own atrocities.

Only six refused to join the farce – Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Ukraine and the US.

Britain didn't just abstain. It shirked voting at all (along with those beacons of civilisation Angola, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, and surprisingly, France).

Of course, here the fig leaf for being scared of dictators, especially oil-rich abusers, is the report by the South African judge Richard Goldstone. Poor Judge Goldstone now regrets how his good name has been used to single out Israel. The Swiss paper Le Temps reports him complaining that "This draft [UN human rights council] resolution saddens me … there is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope the council can modify the text." Fat hope.

The truth is he was suckered into lending his good name to a half-baked report – read its 575 pages and see. He said that, as a Jew himself, he was surprised to be invited. He shouldn't have been, and should never have accepted leadership of a commission whose terms of reference were designed to excuse the aggressor, Hamas, and punish the defender, Israel. The council's decision was to "dispatch an urgent, independent, international fact-finding mission … to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and [it] calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully co-operate with the mission".
Israel is not an "occupying power" in Gaza in either fact or international law. Four years ago it voluntarily pulled out all its soldiers and uprooted all its settlers. Here was a wonderful chance for Gaza to be the building block of a Palestinian state, and for Hamas to do what the Israelis did – take a piece of land and build a model state. They didn't. Instead of helping the desperate Palestinians, they conducted a religious war.

In signing on for the UN mission – with others who had already condemned Israel – it seems to have escaped the judge that Hamas is committed not just to fight Israeli soldiers; it is a terrorist organisation hellbent on the destruction of the state of Israel. The terms of reference he accepted validate the torment of Israeli civilians. Hamas launched 7,000 rockets – every one intended to kill as many people as possible – then contemptuously dismissed repeated warnings from Israel to stop or face the consequences.

The rockets were war crimes and ought to have been universally condemned as such. While new rockets hit Israel over many months there was no rush by the world's moralisers – including Britain – to censure Hamas, no urgency as there was in "world opinion" when Israel finally responded. Then Israel was immediately accused of a "disproportionate" response without anyone thinking: "What is a 'proportionate' attack against an enemy dedicated to exterminating your people?" A dedication to exterminating all of his?

Israel risked its own forces by imposing unprecedented restraint. In testimony volunteered to the human rights council (and ignored), Colonel Richard Kemp, a British commander in Bosnia and Afghanistan, stated: "The Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare." The "collateral damage" was less than the Nato allies inflicted on the Bosnians in the conflict with Yugoslavia.
No doubt there were blunders. A defensive war is still a war with all its suffering and destruction. But Hamas compounded its original war crime with another. It held its own people hostage. It used them as human shields. It regarded every (accidental) death as another bullet in the propaganda war. The Goldstone report won the gold standard of moral equivalence between the killer and the victim. Now Britain wins the silver. Who's cheering?