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?
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.