36 thoughts on “Congress Denounces Goldstone, Baird Courageously Dissents – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Do Representatives actually read all the stuff they vote on? Unlikely. One hopes at least that they read the important legislation, but it’s a rather forlorn hope.

    How many of them read the Goldstone report? Neither of us knows. I wrote yesterday about the detailled rebuttal Congressman Berman sent to Richard Goldstone: clearly someone in his vicinity read the report closely.

    A more interesting question is if Richard Goldstone himself read the report. As any reasonable person who has actually read it can tell you, it is intellectually shoddy, methodologically shabby, empirically unconvincing, and above all, bears all the hallmarks of a document that was put together so as to prove pre-determined findings. If anything, a careful reading of the report will convince you how profoundly unserious it is. If Goldstone actually read it and agrees with its content, he’s a much lesser man than his (previously) good name would have led us to expect.

    1. 1.

      “a document that was put together so as to prove pre-determined findings”

      : that’s exactly how academic research should be: FIRST you produce findings (as in: “fact finding”), THEN you prove something with it.

      “intellectually shoddy, methodologically shabby, empirically unconvincing”

      : even the hasbaros did not notice this. Not “any reasonable person” in Israel available to read the Goldstone report?

        1. Lots of people of no particular quality or standing can say whatever they want about anything.

          BTW, the website you’re quoting was established by a confessed felon & mortgage fraudster guilty of cheating investors and the feds out of tens of millions of dollars. If you read my blog more closely you’d have seen the post I wrote about Richard Maize, the felon behind this exercise in duplicity.

          1. Thank you, Richard. I knew there was something fishy about that website but I couldn’t remember what it was. The point of it was to collect criticism of the report, and it doesn’t qualify those criticisms; anyone can post there. It drew the pro-zionist crowd.

    2. No, they don’t read it. They didn’t read the Patriot Act, either, they just took Bush’s word that it would protect us from terrorists. Hah.

    3. clearly someone in his vicinity read the report closely.

      Likely a lawyer in the Israeli foreign ministry or an Aipac consultant schooled in international law. But the rebuttal was all bullshit. About as cogent as the original language of HR 867.

      if Richard Goldstone himself read the report.

      Don’t be such a moron. He WROTE most of the report. I know this because he himself said so & I heard him with my own ears. I know that the Israeli gov’t is cynical. But must you share their vices?

      it is intellectually shoddy, methodologically shabby, empirically unconvincing, and above all, bears all the hallmarks of a document that was put together so as to prove pre-determined findings.

      Hasbaraniks like you spout these judgments w/o ever presenting any evidence to support yr claim, which makes them worthless. I’ve read sections of the Report & find it everything you don’t. Goldstone is one of the finest legal minds of his generation. To say that he reached pre-determined conclusions only displays yr own cynicism & has absolutely no bearing on the quality of Goldstone’s work which is largely impeccable.

      If Goldstone actually read it and agrees with its content, he’s a much lesser man than his (previously) good name would have led us to expect.

      It’s actually laughable that anyone would attribute any value or concern to the opinion in which you hold Justice Goldstone.

      I have a rule about comments when someone posts large numbers in a short interval. Pls. do not post more than 3 comments in any 24 hr interval. I don’t want to have to spend hrs. responding ea. day to multiple comments fr. a single commenter. It gets to be a drag.

  2. Please explain “intellectually shoddy” and “empirically unconvincing”. Do you yourself have any idea what you mean in concrete terms with these expensive phrases?

  3. Of course I do. I don’t just invent things and throw them out. Had I wanted to do that I wouldn’t have spent all those hours reading the report.

    I’m thinking of writting an essay that will document the many things wrong with the report; if I do, I’ll send a link to Richard here, and who know – maybe he’ll even call it to the attention of his readers, so you’ll know about it. Though I’m not banking on it.

    Intellectually shoddy means carefully cherry picking the facts so as to fit a pre-conceived conclusion, and it means repeatedly contradicting the evidence you do let in. Methodologically shabby means asking the wrong questions of the wrong people, while not asking lots of obvious questions, and then pretending you’ve documented a reality when in fact you have no relevant facts to make your assertions. Empirically unconvincing means the facts you’ve marshalled don’t lead to the conclusions you’ve reached.

    Ah, and then of course there are the other problems with the report, such as wandering into terrain well beyond what can be plausibly defended, and making fanciful recommendations that quite overlook reality.

    All in all, it’s a document which at best can serve as a litmus test: anyone who reads it seriously and comes away convinced must be of an ideological slant so extreme as to be irrelevant to any practical discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    1. If you plan on writing a report, learn how to write and to spell first.

      Goldstone’s report concurred with previous reports issued by the ICRC and Amnesty International. There is nothing shoddy about it.

      The condemnation of the report is nothing more than AIPAC money doing what it always does – dictating US middle eastern policy. It is shameful that our Congress is so busy whoring for the zionists that it completely loses its moral compass.

    2. anyone who reads it seriously and comes away convinced must be of an ideological slant so extreme as to be irrelevant to any practical discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      Actually, that’s what I was thinking of your own contributions on this matter. Quite weak & irrelevant unless you want to read what a hasbaranik has to say about any particular subject.

    3. Just say ‘biased’ and ‘unconvincing’ then next time. Posing as an intellectual does not make you sound any more convincing. And I don’t remember asking you about ‘methodologically shabby’ but I guess you could not resist putting in an extra bit of propaganda.

      But as to that: The problem with you seems to be that you dismiss Palestinian eyewitness evidence out of hand, simply because it does not suit you. (And of course, these Arabs can’t be trusted: Goldstone has been asking “the wrong people”….)

      Tell me, have you ever seen “Shoah”? How about that as an example of the power of eyewitness testimony? How would you feel if someone like Ahmadinejad would say that “anyone who comes away convinced after seeing that must be of an ideological slant so extreme as to be irrelevant to any practical discussion”.

    1. Kucinich is the only honest Congressman on the hill. I wish they could clone him. Kudos also to Keith Emerson, who actually went to Gaza last winter about 2 weeks after Cast Lead ended. Passing this resolution has made the US look like an accomplice to murder, which actually it already does. Israel used US made ordnance and military equipment to kill the Gazans, which (surprise!) is also a violation of IHL and the Geneva Conventions.

        1. Believe it or not, I’ve contributed to his campaign even though I don’t live in his congressional district. I consider Kucinich to be a gem, indeed. He’s a voice in the wilderness, and the people of Ohio know it because he is re-elected again and again. If we had him as our president, the world would be a better place.

          If you go to Kucinich’s website you can read his statement to Congress on why they should vote no on the resolution. Unfortunately, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I still have to thank him for doing what is right, which is what he always does. May Allah bless him and his family.

  4. Perhaps Yacov could come up with a catchy phrase for Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Goldstone inspection in the first place then getting to denounce it when it is reported. Of COURSE it’s “one sided” (Lol at the sleight of hand) because they refused to cooperate with it!

    Poor “defendant” Israel, you refuse to cooperate, what are you standing on, the Fifth Amendment? At least if that was admitted their audacity in stating the report is “one sided” would have more honesty. Continuing to behave in a manner above the law just doesn’t cut it any more

    (Mary-it’s Keith Ellison)

  5. Well, I called this one a mile off (see my verbal dress-down of Congress several posts back). When it comes to our predictable lackey Congress, we can just start phoning it in well ahead of time, kind of like Tom Friedman, except cogent. Now if SNL and other American comedy truly had balls, they could make brilliant dark comedy out of this stuff. But no, so much easier to go after the easy, uncontroversial targets.

    What’s remarkable to me, however, is not Congress’s mere corruption, but how they seem to have this pathological need to advertise it to the whole world, as well as the American people. It’s like something out of Stalin’s show trials. This goes beyond the McCarthyite loyalty oath (and not even to one’s own nation/system but to a foreign country at that!). It’s the shiny-eyed gleefulness of their servility that’s truly scary, is this a mutated variation on the Stockholm syndrome?

    Despite the predictable fact HR 867 passed, I was pleasantly suprised by the number of courageous dissenters, even if they constituted a very small minority. They need all our warm-hearted support and gratitude, not just the ones who braved the gauntlet and voted “no”, but even those who voted “present” (you know both these groups are going to feel the heat and AIPAC won’t forget). To the “present-ers”, we can encourage them to go the full distance next time. These brave few showed that some members of the House do indeed have a conscience. (since J Street refused to encourage Congressmembers to vote no, they really have no bearing on any of this, and deserve no credit for those who stood up against the lackeys.)

    1. Congress stopped caring how it appeared to the people a long, long time ago. Remember “impeachment is off the table”? The important thing is not to let this issue die and to push for more, and more fair, coverage of the Israel-Palestine matter in the press. I feel a large part of why this resolution passed is because the American people didn’t care enough about it to stop it. For them, it involves a place they’ve never been, won’t visit, and probably don’t even know where it is, and they don’t understand how crucial the whole thing is to our standing in the world and our security. The news coverage here has always been so pro-Israel as to stifle any healthy debate, and this results in Aipac being able to effectively work its will.

  6. Mr. Silverstein,

    In regards to the website dedicated to fisking the Goldstone Report–“Understanding The Goldstone Report (http://www.goldstonereport.org/ )–you claim that:

    Lots of people of no particular quality or standing can say whatever they want about anything. [let’s put aside the implications of that]

    BTW, the website you’re quoting was established by a confessed felon & mortgage fraudster guilty of cheating investors and the feds out of tens of millions of dollars. If you read my blog more closely you’d have seen the post I wrote about Richard Maize, the felon behind this exercise in duplicity.

    As a blogger who contributes to that website, I would be interested in hearing how you know that Mr. Maize established that site.

    I assume you can respond with better than “it’s obvious”–after all, as you yourself point out: “Lots of people of no particular quality or standing can say whatever they want about anything.”

    1. You’re right. There’s a website set up by Maize with almost the same name, http://www.ungoldstonereport.com/ which I confused w. the other website.

      Why would you waste yr time creating a site dedicated to “fisking” the Goldstone Report? Don’t you have anything better to do w yr time? But now that I think of it one of yr partners is the notorious Aussie Dave & he REALLY doesn’t have anything better to do w. his time. So I take that question back.

      BTW, who paid for that snappy graphic design for yr site? The foreign ministry perhaps?

  7. As I mentioned earlier, this may be an obstacle in any efforts to put pressure on Israeli in the negotiating process. If necessary, Congress could literally pass aid assistance to Israel right over the President’s veto.

    1. Campaigning. Did you forget the NY mayoral race?

      He was a co-sponsor of HR 867 I understand. So his heart was, for you at least, in the right place. He figured w. 300 ayes he didn’t need to be on the floor.

  8. The country of my birth, Holland, has to my distress also voted in Geneva against the Goldstone report (unlike neighbor land Belgium that abstained). The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Maxine Verhagen, “explained” that vote last week, after having mentioned his pro-Israel credentials (grandfather in Buchenwald etc.), in a meeting of the B’nai Brith Lodge Hollandia.

    It was not because he disagreed with the report, which he said contained serious allegations and came from a jurist of international renown and impeccable repute. So what was it? This is what he said:

    “Understand me well. The Netherlands is against any form of impunity. If human rights have been violated … the alleged culprits have to be put on trial … human rights have an important place in Dutch foreign policy … it is true that for me human rights are incredibly important. Because I am convinced that respect for human rights contributes to world stability and prosperity, and it is thus a Dutch interest as well to promote respect for human rights worldwide. And this is of course also a moral duty: each person in this world is entitled to an existence worthy of a human being. Human rights hold for each and everyone, always and everywhere. It is not so that they are more valid for an Israeli than for a Palestinian. No way, I maintain no double standard in this matter. So the Netherlands appeals to both parties to start a thorough inquiry, and I note that Israel has already started this on its own initiative, the thing you can expect from a democratic state based on the rule of law. Hamas however has thus far done nothing in this regard.

    However, I find the politization of the Goldstone report, and of the Goldstone commission, right from the start, quite repugnant. And not only that, I find it quite counter productive. The only thing that it achieves is that both parties are set against each other even more and that Israel is even pushed deeper into the international dock that can be found alternatively in the corridors of the United Nations building in New York or Geneva. So the predictable reaction has been: digging in. The peace process is not served with that. Therefore I appeal for moderation.

    The Goldstone report, coming from a well-respected jurist of international renown and impeccable repute, contains very serious allegations. These have to be dealt with quite carefully. It behoves both parties to, in the first place, start and complete their own inquiries, if need be with assistance from outside.

    But inter alia because I find that too many countries use this report to shout again all kinds of things, also about matters that go far beyond the ambit of this report, the Netherlands has voted last week against the resolution concerning the Goldstone report”

    The former Dutch Prime Minister, Dries van Agt, who came to see late in life the justice of the Palestinian cause, commented on this in Holland’s quality paper NRC Handelsblad as follows:

    “The position of the Dutch government is based on the unholy juxtaposition of justice and peace. It is absurd to believe that inquiring into war crimes and prosecuting those who committed these would be an impediment to peace. The problem is the violation of law, not the effort to find justice for the victims. Resistance against the Commission Goldstone is a slap in the face of the Gazan population that, according to the Commission, was exposed to “a deliberately disproportional attack, aimed at punishing, humiliating and terrorizing citizens”. Because we should understand that the UN-debate of tomorrow … is in its essence about the core message of the Commission Goldstone: that there should be an end to the impunity of war crimes.

    One would, considering the declared policy of the Dutch government, have expected that the Commission Goldstone would have a faithful ally in the Netherlands. Our government that is subject to the constitutional imperative to promote the international rule of law, does not forego any opportunity to present The Hague as the legal capital of the world. It is proud of the presence of international legal institutions.

    The Minister has been quite clear about the relation between peace and justice: a lasting peace is not possible without justice. It is clear that the Dutch vote of the 16th October was against this policy … it has undermined the credibility of our policy on human rights.”

    1. Amen to that.

      How can the country that houses The Hague and the home of the International Court of Justice hold such a repulsive view on such an important matter of justice and human rights? And the fact that his grandfather was in Buchenwald makes his stand even more pathetic & shameful.

    2. Maxime Verhagen takes the simple solution: He sticks to the group that needed defending during the Nazi occupation, without taking changes in circumstances into account.

      Others try to the defend the principles that needed defending during the Nazi occupation in the world that we live in today. That needs some thinking, which is too much for Maxime.

      (Bedankt voor de vertalingen, Arie.)

  9. That Brian Baird joined 35 other members of Congress in voting against the resolution is evidence to me of why we don’t really need a J Street lobby. Quite apart from whether J Street will actually make a contribution to peace and human rights when you consider its stand, or lack thereof, on the Goldstone report and its apparent pro-Kadima orientation, the whole idea that we need a counterlobby to AIPAC takes us in the wrong direction.

    Baird is a good example of why a counterlobby focused on campaign contributions is not needed. Baird’s district includes Olympia, where Rachel Corrie lived. Much to his credit, Baird has been willing to listen to his constituents and open his mind to the Palestinian struggle. Undoubtedly, the Rachel Corrie Foundation and the Rachel Corrie chapter of Veterans for Peace have played a role in Baird’s transformation. Visiting Gaza clearly had a huge impact on him. In other words he changed his position because some of his constituents helped educate him and because he showed enough concern to actually do some investigation, not because a counterlobby was willing to give him a lot of money.

    The idea that we need to play the lobbying game and bribe our members of Congress is both unsustainable (since ordinary people will never have the money of the corporations or the wealthy) and repugnant. What we need to do is build a progressive movement that helps elect representatives who themselves understand the necessity for a foreign policy based on human rights and against hegemony, who understand we will never achieve any of the domestic reforms so badly needed, like universal health care, as long as we’re spending trillions to support an empire abroad, an empire that allies with human rights abusers and militaristic states like Israel. Until we build that kind of movement, Congress will remain a bedrock of reaction in the grip of moneyed interests.

    1. I also sent follow-up emails today to my Congressional representatives expressing my disgust at their cowardice, and I assured them that I would not be voting for their re-election. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but imagine the impact if everyone did this. It is also important to write to magazines and newspapers asking them to publish more articles describing the Palestinian side of the question. And in a time where they’re all steadily losing money, don’t be afraid to tell them you’ll stop reading their publication unless they give a more balanced perspective.

      It’s a start, and it’s something.

    2. Brian Baird didn’t need to be transformed or change his position. He represents a liberal district & his views have been sympathetic from the beginning. J St. had nothing to do w. Baird’s opposition to HR 867. But J St. serves an extremely important role in encouraging those who are already supportive of a progressive viewpt. in Congress to continue their support; and it encourages those who are on the fence to move over to the progressive side on these issues. Members need cover & lobby groups can provide that if that helps them. Had there been no J St. HR 867 likely would have had only 10 No votes or less.

      I resent the implication that J St. is bribing anyone. Unlike Aipac, J St. actually espouses a progressive line & its views represent a pragmatic U.S. policy. You may think politics in this country are based on the principle that people always vote the right way for purely altruistic reasons, but that’s not the way most of the rest of us understand our politics.

  10. This is how the vote on the issue in the UN General Assembly turned out:

    The draft resolution on follow-up to the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (document A/64/L.11) was adopted by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 18 against, with 44 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Poland, Slovakia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United States.

    Abstain: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

    Absent: Bhutan, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

    It is a matter of embarrassment for “the West” that so few of its representatives voted in favor of this resolution. On the other hand “Europe” largely abstained with Germany, Poland, Holland and Italy as notable exceptions. And let us also be grateful that the country where the Geneva Conventions were signed voted in favor.

    * *** *

    1. I haven’t read the resolution but I understand there had been an attempt to come up w. compromise language that would allow some of the European states to sign. But that attempt failed and a fairly harsh resolution resulted.

      But I note that the resolution DOES call for the Palestinians to set up their own independent investigation of their own violations of international law.

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