Dershowitz: Israel’s New Goldstone
Sometimes I think the Israeli government’s deliberations are so ludicrous they’re meant to be comic. Take Israel’s so-called answer to the Goldstone Report. The UN investigative body gave the parties to the Gaza war three months to respond by opening a credible investigation of the charges in the report. Israel has dithered the entire time and for most of it absolutely refused to consider doing so. The thinking clearly was that wind would die out of the sails of the Report and Israel could get away with doing nothing.
Instead, just the opposite has happened. The world has taken Goldstone seriously and now it appears Israel will have to–not take Goldstone seriously–but figure out a way to appear to be taking it seriously. Haaretz reports that the government is contemplating establishing a limited investigation which would have none of the trappings of a formal commission of inquiry. It would not have subpoena power. It could not question IDF operational commanders. It could not examine specific incidents in the way Goldstone did. All it could do would be to examine IDF investigations of those incidents. It could also interview politicians and generals responsible for creating the military doctrine on which Cast Lead was fought. The goal is to limit any inquiry to the specific question: did Israel systematically target Gaza civilian infrastructure for destruction.
In effect, what the government is doing shrewdly is taking the hardest element of the Goldstone Report to prove conclusively and saying: OK, we’ll agree to examine this one limited question. We won’t examine specific incidents to determine whether they are war crimes. We won’t ask specific commanders how they and their troops behaved in the field.
But I’m saving the best for last–and this is where the real comedy creeps in: Bibi wants a real swell cast of characters to sit on this committee. They would be Israeli jurists and an “international jurist” of renown. No, silly they’re not talking about Richard Falk! Who else but Alan Dershowitz!! I kid you not. Now do you get the joke?
Sometimes I get to feeling sorry for poor ol’ Holocaust: he’s beaten and battered by certain Israeli opportunists attempting to guilt the world into never criticizing that country for anything it does. So comes news that senior government ministers will be blanketing world capitals for Yom HaShoah which happens to coincide closely with the three month deadline mentioned above. Here’s Ynetnews’ subheadline:
Peres in Berlin, Netanyahu in Auschwitz, Lieberman in Budapest and Edelstein at UN headquarters in New York all plan attack UN report into Gaza war on International Holocaust Day.
The clear message: We suffered, baby. Don’t you dare think you can lay Goldstone on us. We won’t take it. After losing six million don’t you think you’ve taken enough from us? Can’t they let old Holocaust be? Can’t it just be a historical event and not a Rorschach test for Jewish identity?
24 thoughts on “Dershowitz: Israel’s New Goldstone – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Unfortunately this won’t be the first time the holocaust has been misused to launch an attack on the Goldstone report. Israel’s US ambassador, Michael Oren, did just after the report first came out, claiming the Goldstone report ‘goes further than ahmedinejad’.
I wrote about it here http://theedgeofwhere.blogspot.com/2009/11/actually-reading-goldstone-report.html
Incidentally, how do you think the international community will respond to a Dershowitz led invstigation?
I think you might be surprised about Dershowitz. If the job he is given is defined as any sincere inquiry, I expect that a part of his professional identity will be taken up in doing the job thoroughly.
After the fact, he will take the position that the task was done sincerely, but if he does inquire sincerely (meaning skeptically), he will see things that confict with his sense of pride in Israel. He will have to judge for himself, rather than rationalize.
I agree with you that Israel should have, and should, take the Goldstone report seriously, if only to improve its performance, to remove any public doubt about IDF future performance.
I wish you had commented on the request of human rights organizations last week, to insist that Hamas similarly conduct a sincere inquiry into its policy formation and practices.
That was artful on the part of the human rights organizations, as it removed a rationalization of the IDF from looking into improving its performance of international humanitarian law.
“I think you might be surprised about Dershowitz. If the job he is given is defined as any sincere inquiry, I expect that a part of his professional identity will be taken up in doing the job thoroughly. ”
This sounds more like a trial run of the defense you will make of whatever abomination Dersh puts his name to. Nothing in his record suggests he is going to be sincerely inquisitive–we had someone like that in Richard Goldstone and Israel refused to cooperate. They knew they had something to hide–with Dersh they know they don’t have to hide.
“insist that Hamas similarly conduct a sincere inquiry into its policy formation and practices.
That was artful on the part of the human rights organizations, as it removed a rationalization of the IDF from looking into improving its performance of international humanitarian law.”
It was artful and I agree with that. Hamas should investigate itself seriously, but won’t, any more than Israel will.
The IDF, like all armies and the military wings of organisations like Hamas, has inherently no business to “perform international humanitarian law”. International humanitarian law was invented to rein in armies and those who command them, to restrict warfare. Just like to a soldier the “other” is necessarily the enemy – that’s his job description after all – int’l humanitarian law and the military are natural enemies. That’s also why most democratic states bar the army from performing domestic policing tasks.
The application of humanitarian law is always the domain of the civilian leadership, if necessary against their own military. The international community comes in only because we don’t live in an ideal world, and in war the military tends to cease to be a mere tool in the hands of civilians, like taxes or traffic rules, but becomes an end unto itself. Israel is to some extent not a state that has an army but instead an army that has a state, they say, and I can see why.
Witty, you regularly make me spit out my mouthful of coffee with yr Pollyannish perversions like this one. This truly is comedy disguised as analysis.
I have said the same thing multiple times here. I don’t feel the need to repeat myself yet again on the subject esp. not for yr sake.
“I think you might be surprised about Dershowitz.”
Bet I won’t. However, if God or someone of like power should smite a rock and bring forth a non-Likudnik Dershowitz, I’ll not only apologize, I’ll rush to do so.
Appointing Dershowitz is the equivalent of appointing Karl Rove to investigate Dick Cheney.
Mr. Dershowitz has already posted a 45-page criticism of the Report’s methodological failings, so I’m not sure whether they would appoint him or not. That can be found here: http://www.goldstonereport.org/pro-and-con/critics/517-alan-dershowitz-the-case-against-the-goldstone-report-a-study-in-evidentiary-bias-270110
I personally think his analysis is convincing. Obviously he couldn’t investigate individual instances, but his criticism of the Report’s faulty methodology is fairly sound to me.
As for your dismissal of the Holocaust, I’m a goy (admittedly, one with family from Eastern Europe) and even I think you’re being a little too flippant about it.
That tells us a good deal about yrself. Der Dersh hasn’t written anything convincing since his closing argument that saved Klaus von Bulow fr. the electric chair.
Nor would he need to. Dersh dispenses w. niceties like evidence & facts. That makes things convenient for him.
I have no idea what this means but I assure you no Jew dismisses the Holocaust, ever. Nor do I.
I’m not sure why you call him “Der Dersh” until you’re trying to make him sound Germanic and, therefore, evil or dastardly or somesuch, because being German is allegedly bad. Is that what you’re trying to do?
Mr. Dershowitz links to plenty of evidence in the analysis I linked to. In fact, he cites evidence that Goldstone himself had access to and clearly ignored.
My comment about the Holocaust had to do with the last two sentences of your last paragraph: “Can’t they let old Holocaust be? Can’t it just be a historical event and not a Rorschach test for Jewish identity?” To me, that was a bit distastefully flippant. That’s just my opinion. By “dismissing” the Holocaust, I didn’t mean Holocaust denial, just dismissive use of a solemn subject. Admittedly poor diction on my part, so I apologize for the misunderstanding.
I call him Der Dersh because I think he’s a lying, insufferable, pompous twit.
Dershowitz uses ‘evidence’ in the same way Tokyo Rose did & they’re both useless propagandists for their respective causes.
Not at all. You think my calling the Holocaust a historical event is somehow dismissive? Wrong. It is a very important historical event. But the emphasis is on HISTORICAL. It happened. But it is not happening or about to happen as the Bibists would have you believe. The Holocaust is abused and it shouldn’t be. If you have a problem w. people being dismissive of it I’d suggest you’re barking at the wrong door. Take it up with the Likudists. They’re the ones who are cheapening the Holocaust & its meaning.
Did you even read the article I linked to? Or did you dismiss it offhand because Dershowitz wrote it? Because you accuse others–including myself–of only reading one side of the story and this would be an excellent opportunity to read what it is that Dershowitz has to say.
If Dershowitz is as big a liar as you claim, it shouldn’t be difficult to find some atrocious errors in his analysis and deconstruct them for us, should it?
As for Likud, I would probably be a Likudnik if I lived in Israel, so I’m not particularly phased by your use of the term as if it were an epithet. Like the people who use “Republican” as an epithet in liberal circles, it just makes people look unwilling to compromise or have a public debate.
The people who actually exploit the Holocaust are the people who claim there’s a Holocaust being perpetrated against the Palestinians, because that accusation is disgusting, libelous, and factually baseless. Those are the real exploiters of the Holocaust.
If you Google Dersh’s name here you’ll find many statements & articles of his which I’ve critiqued. I find him & his mind repulsive so it’s hard for me to take overlarge doses of him. But if you insist I’ll look at the article.
There are some Israelis who feel that way. Are they abusing the Holocaust as well? And do you, a non-Jew & non-Israeli have a right to make such judgments? I don’t particularly think using the Holocaust in connection w. the Occupation is helpful. But if you think the few on the extreme left who use this term are nearly as dangerous as Israeli leaders who abuse the Holocaust then you’ve lost all sense of proportion.
Well, I started reading it–so far it’s crap. There was this, for instance–“The reality is that the report’s central conclusions—that Israel’s policy was to maximize the deaths of civilians”
Where does Goldstone say that? Nobody thinks Israel tried to maximize the deaths of civilians. There would be hundreds of thousands of dead civilians if they had. There’s a difference between using indiscriminate firepower in an urban setting, perhaps with the intent of killing some civilians to strike terror and teach them a lesson or simply not caring whether they live or die, and deliberately killing as many as is technologically possible. Dersh deliberately ignores the difference so that he can shoot down the more extreme and clearly incorrect charge that nobody makes.
The dismissal of the quotes by various Israeli officials was also weak.
Basically Dersh’s approach on the civilian killing is to erect a strawman and burn it down.
Agree about the strawman approach. I’ve managed to read about half of it so far, and this comes up again and again, Dersh spends a significant amount of time convincingly disproving the allegation-that-no-one-made.
I think you’re excessively charitable calling his dismissal of various quotes by Israeli officials “weak”. Those quotes, from Gadi Eisenkot, Giora Eiland, Gabriel Siboni, and Eli Yishai, advocate nothing less than Israeli state terrorism, and to dismiss them on the grounds that they don’t explicitly call for the “maximization of Palestinian civilian deaths” is pure sophistry (as is most of the rest of the text).
His interpretation of the GC IV is rather peculiar, too:
That’s utter humbug. The quoted announcement was made on Jan 1, five days after the assault on the police academy. According to this logic, not a single Israeli off-duty soldier or reservist enjoys protected status, because they certainly can be expected to be ordered to “face the enemy” in case of an invasion of Israel in the future. Dersh also conveniently omits the rest of the quote, which, alas, conclusively disproves his “evidence”:
(Goldstone Report, 414)
That’s a civilian assignment, if there ever was one.
The problem with so blatantly exploiting the Holocaust is that everyone is wise to it. The victim card is quite dog-eared, having gotten that way by being passed around by so many Zionists of the type who have exploited their own people’s tragedy for the sake of achieving a political goal. This is abominable, especially when the people who have the courage to call attention to it are called anti-Semites.
I just could’t stop laughing when I read the headline of this post, and I suspect this is the case with many people. What would the title of Dershowitz’s investigation be: “The case against Israel”?
Richard’s comment about Dershowitz winning Claus von Bulow’s acquittal had me in hysterics.
Thank God there are people out there who appreciate my sense of humor. I liked that one too.
There’s just something about The Dershowitz, he’s purely joke fodder.
I guess that must be way back in the archives Mary, or maybe I missed it. I only stumbled upon this blog about a year ago, one night when I was crying my eyes out over Gaza and couldn’t sleep. (Oh yes, Gaza…)
Here ya go, sweetie:
Der Dersh hasn’t written anything convincing since his closing argument that saved Klaus von Bulow fr. the electric chair.
As for Gaza, I’m still crying. I’m talking daily with a young man who is on the edge of despair. And in case no one here knows it, they’re on only 8 hours of electricity each day and most homes have no heat, and the Gaza power plant is set to close by the end of the week because you-know-who won’t allow any more fuel in. It’s damned cold there now, raining, and snowing in the West Bank.
Thanks! (It was in the comments….) Some things just pass me by, not being American and having no idea as to who on earth Claus von Bulow is. (Looked it up on Wikipedia just now, though.)
One more thing about Gaza though: I was at a linguistic conference last year and throughout the conference there was this name tag for a participant from Gaza laying there at the registration desk waiting for someone who never came. A number of us asked the organizers about it, but all they knew was that he just somehow never showed up. We guessed why though: He was probably detained for endless questioning and pressure to become an informant.
Either that, or he couldn’t get a travel permit to get out of Gaza.
There are students in Gaza with scholarships to foreign universities, also, and they are not able to travel. It’s outrageous.
And meanwhile, Israel smiles for the cameras and presents its image as perpetual victim, and the exploitation of the Holocaust makes it all the more sickening.