Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Me and Mister Goldstone

I recently saw an excellent film called American
, a true story about an honest
 single African-American mother wrongly accused and
arrested for dealing drugs in a small town in Texas.  Basically the local
sheriff would go into the African-American neighbourhood once a year
or so with a huge array of armed police and arrest a large chunk of the local
population.  A local informant would be found who would 'finger' people
who broke the law - in return for being exempt - and then using his list, lots
of people would be arrested and quickly tried.  They would be given the
choice of a plea bargain or an extrenely draconian sentence, so most pleaded
guilty: especially single mothers facing loss of their children like our

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) was looking to put an end to this
racist method of keeping the peace but couldn't do anything because most people
were pleading guilty or were involved in illegal acts. In this case they found
a woman who had been falsely accused (the snitch was influenced by her
ex-husband) and willing to fight so their (Jewish) lawyer took the case to
court. Its a great story.

How does this relate to the Goldstone report? Well, the UNHRC  (United Nations Human Rights
Committee) which appointed Goldstone, was created in 2006 and is
dominated by African and Arab countries. It mostly just discusses anything
Israel does and has worked to downgrade monitoring of human rights abuses in
Congo and Sudan, countries where Genocide and mass-rape are currently taking place.  The UNHRC employs a full time investigator for the Palestinian territories (but for nowhere else), a man who believes the 9/11 was a US government conspiracy.

To prevent the report on the Gaza conflict from being ignored, the UNHRC found a radical Jewish
human rights advocate (Goldstone), who is genuinely interested in human rights but tends to
assume the worst where Israel is concerned. 

So the UNHRC acted
like the racist district attorney in American Violet.  They assumed that
Israel was guilty and sent in a big team.  The jury inevitably agrees. The
Jewish state looks to the UN like a large black man with an afro in a Texas court
room.  The sentencing is draconian and Israel has the option to plead
guilty or get involved in a difficult fight.  Were crimes committed?
 Possibly.  Would anybody else be investigated for them?  No.

in Israel we have many organizations and decent people - like Goldstone - dedicated to ensuring we
respect human rights.  That is the way things should be. Problem is that in
their anxiousness to ensure that Israel adhere to human rights they have aided the UNHRC whose
members are not interested in human rights: that is to say they are concerned
with Palestinian human rights: but not 
universal human
rights.  Certainly not Israeli human rights.


Needless to say by the time I have something to say about 
the Goldstone report, it is old news. Even so, and despite the fact that I haven't read the report, I thought I would put my thoughts down on paper the screen, perhaps also to explain why I haven't read it.


My feeling is that organizations who wish to ensure that Israel adhere to human rights should take into account the nature of those they are working with.  Human rights are universal and all humans are entitled to them, but either you protect them universally or you only protect those who share a commitment to universal human rights. To only protect those who do not share that belief is to undermine human rights.

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