The House, as predicted, ran over the Goldstone Report. The automatic pro-Israel majority, working without any scruples or decency, or concern with truth, much less the destruction of Gaza, showed once again how irrelevant it is to US foreign policy. Goldstone's objections presented here last Friday had some effect; the resolution was slightly reworded as a result of them. But it was clear that the US Congress, which doesn't seem to care about the United States' own human rights violations, would care even less about Israel's.
The original resolution seemed like the hatchet job of some staffer who didn't know what he (or she) was doing. Berman's response to Goldstone had lawyerly fingerprints all over it and reeked of bad faith.
For example, after the Berman resolution repeatedly criticized the report for one-sidedness, without mentioning that Israel refused to provide any information to Goldstone, despite Goldstone's entreaties, or to let Goldstone set foot in the country, the judge wrote in response:
Finally, I note that there is not a word to record that notwithstanding repeated pleas to the Government of Israel, it refused all cooperation with the Mission. Amongst others, I requested the views of Israel with regard to the implementation of the mandate and details of any issues that the Government of Israel might wish us to investigate.
Justice Goldstone is correct. The Government of Israel decided not to cooperate with the Mission, based on its biased mandate, as well as the UNHRC's long history of anti-Israel bias. I find that position, at the least, understandable.
But Justice Goldstone's "correct" point was not that the Government of Israel decided not to cooperate with the Mission (duh!), but that the resolution did not mention Israel's refusal to cooperate, whether that refusal was "understandable" or not. That's the level of intellectual dishonesty that is rampant in the Berman's response to Judge Goldstone.
And about that "original biased mandate" -- Would Israel have cooperated with the UN had the original mandate mentioned investigating Hamas war crimes?
I don't think so….
I can't resist another example:
[Goldstone:] "12. Paragraph 17: That Hamas was able to shape the findings or that it pre-screened the witnesses is devoid of truth and I challenge anyone to produce evidence in support of it."
The evidence is within the Report itself. Page 111 of the Report reads as follows: "In its efforts to gather more direct information on the subject, during its investigations in Gaza and in interviews with victims and witnesses of incidents and other informed individuals, the Mission raised questions regarding the conduct of Palestinian armed groups during the hostilities in Gaza. The Mission notes that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups. Whatever the reasons for their reluctance, the Mission does not discount that the interviewees' reluctance may have stemmed from a fear of reprisals."
How can a speculation of the Mission regarding the reluctance of the witnesses to testify from fear of reprisals be cited as evidence that Hamas was able to shape the findings of the Mission or that it pre-screened the witnesses? The speculation is just that – a speculation without evidence. And the other "evidence" provided by Berman – that Hamas intimidates opponents, is also irrelevant to the Goldstone report, which reported that it found no evidence. And neither did Berman.
What is peculiarly ironic is that when groups like Breaking the Silence produce testimony, it is rejected by the pro-Israel crowd as unsubstantiated, hearsay, and fabricated – precisely the sort of testimony that the the pro-Israel crowd produces, if it produces testimony as well.
Barukh ha-Shem that the Congressional know-nothings like Berman don't set foreign policy. For the record, here is a list of the tzaddikim in Sedom. J-Street take note.
Johnson, E. B.