Monday, September 21, 2009

Blame the Israelis - The Goldstone Report

The results of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, published in what is being called the Goldstone Report, were unsurprising to say the least. The report, under the auspices of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, a notoriously biased institution, predictably slams Israel. It places undue blame on the Jewish state for the conflict, accusing the nation of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The report, which essentially claims that Israel used disproportioned force and directly targeted civilians, is another entry in a long list of systematic anti-Israel bias propagated by the UN and other international bodies. According to the press release announcing the report,
The report underlines that in most of the incidents investigated by it, and described in the report, loss of life and destruction caused by Israeli forces during the military operation was a result of disrespect for the fundamental principle of “distinction” in international humanitarian law that requires military forces to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects at all times.
While the report does cite war crimes committed by Palestinian terrorists, it largely focuses on the alleged Israeli actions. The anti-Israel sentiment is deep-seeded and unlikely to go away. It is relatively clear that the Human Rights Council has little interest in promoting human rights, but has a predisposed agenda to target the tiny nation. This is exemplified by the fact that the Council recently congratulated the Sri Lankan regime after a war to rout the insurgent Tamil Tigers left thousands of civilians dead. The fact that the Council has such inconsistent standards is stark evidence of their inbuilt biases.

Israel, which refused from the beginning to participate in the prejudiced ‘fact-finding’ that led to the report, lashed out at the publication. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu claimed “[The report] put Israel in a kangaroo court and was a prize for terrorism…” The report’s central conclusion of Israeli aggression is a gross misstatement of reality and a complete avoidance of the facts that surrounded the conflict. The Israelis operated one of the most civilian friendly attacks- particularly given the high propensity of Hamas to hide fighters and military targets alongside or within civilian facilities. The Israeli army consistently warned civilians to leave areas that were to be attacked and avoided attacking targets that would severely harm civilians. While civilians were unfortunately killed, the culpability lies with Hamas, not Israel. Hamas routinely tries to inflate civilian injury and death counts- both through manipulation of statistics and by directly putting the people they supposedly lead into harms way. The report does little justice to this fact.

The fact of the matter is that, as The Economist points out, Israel has overwhelming military superiority. If Israel’s aim was to cause civilian suffering they certainly would have inflicted much greater damage. The imbalance between the strength of the Palestinian forces and the Israeli military only speaks to the restraint exercised by Israel. Israel’s sole goal is to prevent Palestinian attacks and protect its citizens. To assert otherwise is simply an act in self-delusion motivated by anti-Israel sentiments.

The Human Rights Council’s report only serves to obfuscate the facts of the conflict and prolong unnecessary hardship in the region. Israel is already reluctant to engage with the biased international community. If the UN aims to find a solution for the crisis in the Middle East, it is better served by toning down its prejudiced attacks on Israel and allowing the tiny nation to feel that it can turn to the international community for assistance with its grievances. The current international approach only serves to push Israel away, feed the nation’s insecurity and solitude, and increase the likelihood that Israel will take defensive actions (read: attack Iran) on its own.


  1. This is not about blaming Israelis. The leftists would just as gladly drag the UC to the ICC. As for the report, we posted a long rebuttal at

  2. Thanks for the comment. While I haven't gone through the report with as fine-toothed comb as you, it seems like you've done your homework. I think you raise a lot of really interesting points. Overall though the inherent bias is clear. It is unfortunate that the report was so prejudiced. The saving-grace is that it was expected and I don't think it will have any huge ramifications.


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