Friday, October 30, 2009

Congress' Goldstone Resolution

The text is here. J Street says it cannot support the resolution in its current form, wanting (a) an acknowledgment that Judge Goldstone sought and received a change in his investigation's mandate, and (b) a call for both Israel and Palestine to investigate allegations of human rights violations committed by their respective sides (via Matt).

I agree with the second point, and I think that it could be incorporated quite easily into the clause of the report lauding Israel for having "an independent judicial system with a robust investigatory capacity [which] has already launched numerous investigations, many of which remain ongoing, of Operation Cast Lead and individual incidents therein." I find it worth noting, again, the bizarre tension I've been observing whereby some pro-Israel supporters both laud Israel for having this independent investigative capacity and find it completely appalling that they actually be asked to use it.

By contrast, I find the first objection quite banal -- particularly given the fact that the UNHRC quite clearly didn't accord any true weight to the extra-legal "permission" Judge Goldstone received to superficially investigate Palestine. There is this sense that we should be nicer to the Goldstone report because Judge Goldstone doesn't personally harbor ill-will towards Israel and Jews (something that, admittedly, does distinguish him from much of the UNHRC). But the problem is that he was a cog in a broader biased machine -- his good intentions simply weren't enough to overcome the fog of prejudice which enveloped the entire system. Which is why, despite his section on Hamas rocket attacks, that organization hasn't come under any substantive pressure; which is why the UNHRC essentially ignored that section of the report entirely; which is why none of the ensuing discussion around his report has taken into account his caveats about "nothing having been proven" and his (no doubt sincere) anger over the UNHRC's adopting resolution. This isn't about whether Judge Goldstone is or isn't a decent person. This is about a corrupt system -- a tree that has been poisoned root to branch.

Consequently, while I do support amendment to clarify our desire that Israel (and Palestine) investigate all allegations of human rights violations, by and large, the thrust of the resolution (most of which J Street agrees with -- particularly the condemnation of the UNHRC for endemic bias against Israel) I think makes it worth supporting.

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