Friday, December 31, 2010

[The following, by Vic Rosenthal, is crossposted from FresnoZionism.]

One of my earliest memories was of my grandfather sitting in his armchair, smoking his Camels and reading his Yiddish newspaper, the Forward (פֿאָרװערטס). It was a big deal in our neighborhood one day when he was elected to a post in The Union, and a tiny picture of him (with Camel, of course) appeared in its columns.

The Forward was always a socialist paper, but that was before this necessarily implied anti-Zionism. Today the Forward rarely misses an opportunity to dump on Israel. But I'm still shocked when what is supposed to be a responsible newspaper prints something which is obviously, demonstrably false:

From the moment the Goldstone Report was released in September 2009, its lead author has been subjected to fierce, well-orchestrated attacks by Israeli and American Jews who purport to be defending the legitimacy of the Jewish state and the safety of the Jewish people. Rather than discuss the contents of the report -- which concluded that during the 2008-2009 Gaza war, Israel (as well as Hamas) may have committed war crimes -- Israel's defenders launched an all-points campaign to bury it. -- Letty Cotton Pogrebin, "The Un-Jewish Assault on Richard Goldstone"

I don't know what Ms Pogrebin was smoking when she wrote this, but it was definitely not my grandfather's Camels!

The Goldstone report was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, a UN body dominated by countries belonging to the Islamic bloc. It was based on reports from hostile non-governmental organizations financed to a great extent by the European Union and left-wing foundations, and accompanied by Hamas representatives during their 'fact-finding'. Hamas inventions were uncritically accepted as true reports, and casualty figures -- especially civilians and children -- were massively inflated. Worse, a vicious lie -- the accusation that it was official IDF policy to harm civilians in order to 'punish' them for supporting Hamas was promulgated.

Pogrebin is correct that the Goldstone report was immediately attacked by Jews and others who were outraged at the slander, reminiscent of medieval blood libels. But she is clearly flying beyond the orbit of Pluto when she says that they did not discuss the contents of the report.

One of many pro-Israel bloggers who attacked the contents of the report is the one called 'Elder of Ziyon', who wrote more than 25 in-depth articles detailing factual and legal errors in the report, articles totaling more than 21,000 words. In addition. he and several others performed an exhaustive analysis of claimed civilian casualties, and showed that the great majority were indeed combatants (see here and here).

A great deal of the research carried out by these writers appears on the Understanding the Goldstone Report site.

True, there is criticism of Judge Goldstone himself. How could there not be, given the profound dishonesty of the report that bears his name? And yes, it matters that he is a Jew, just as it matters that Pogrebin is, because both of them trade on their Jewishness as a qualification for their anti-Zionism.

But please don't tell us that Goldstone's critics ignored the contents of the report and attacked him ad hominem, while you do precisely that to them!

And to the Forward's editors: whatever happened to editorial judgment and fact-checking?

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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