Israel/Palestine

Congress condemns the Goldstone report

Last night, the House of Representatives voted a whopping 344-36 (with 22 voting “present”) to condemn the report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza by renowned human rights investigator Judge Richard Goldstone as “irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.” Goldstone, a self-described Zionist, led investigations into human rights abuses in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and his home country of South Africa. Goldstone turned down the original mandate to investigate Israel and only agreed to participate when he was given a mandate to scrutinize both Israel and Hamas. He found possible war crimes on both sides of the conflict and recommended internal investigations by both parties.

Judge Goldstone has been attacked, but as he himself has pointed out, critics in the US and elsewhere have not been able to point to specific substantive flaws in his findings. Watching interview with Bill Moyers, it’s hard to see how such a reasonable person could be demonized by so many.

You can find subsequent segments of the interview here.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), one of the few principled representatives who voted no on the resolution, explained in a Politico piece before the vote why Congress should read the Goldstone report rather than just dismissing it:

 

Instead, Congress is poised to oppose the Goldstone report without holding a single hearing on a document that few members of Congress, if any, have read.

This is a mistake. The stance of this Congress will erode U.S. credibility in the post-Obama world, and it will tarnish our commitment to the principle that all nations must be held to the same standards. Rather than undermine the report or Goldstone, we are at risk of undermining Congress’s and President Barack Obama’s reputation as honest brokers.

Israel can still pursue its own investigation, and critics of the Goldstone report should recognize that Israel is strong enough to withstand inquiry. Self-reflection is one of the hallmarks of a strong democracy. In fact, Israel has investigated itself in the past in connection with the Sabra and Shatila incidents. When nations like the United States, Israel, South Africa and others have pursued the truth through investigations — however uncomfortable — their people and politics have emerged stronger.

We stand for the values of democracy, truth and justice. There is no reason for Congress, Israel or any other party to fear an honest judge. Richard Goldstone is such a judge, and his report should be studied, not dismissed.

 

What does it say about our Congress that nearly 80% of the House would vote to condemn an even-handed report that so few have them have probably even read? Click here to see how your representative voted.

 

1 reply »

  1. All 390 members of congress who voted for the resolution to support the incursion into Gaza in December 08 should also be charged with a ‘war crime.’

    I would like to share the comment made by Alice Walker on C-SPAN (1-09) about Israel’s assault on Gaza as she described the bodies of five little girls in a row, appearing to be asleep, but dead, their grandmother wailing over their bodies; while in another frame, Nancy Pelosi saying that Hamas, elected by the Palestinians people, are thugs. She wondered if Rep. Pelosi had seen the bodies of the children? Five sisters killed by our tax dollars, their mother critically injured. “What are we to do with this assault on a people that has been forced into a space too small for them, refugees consisting mostly of women and children, deprived of water, food, medicine and mobility, of fathers, brothers and husbands, five sisters on whom a 1,000 pound bomb was dropped. How are we to live with this? This tragedy to the human race is unbearable. How are we to raise children in this atmosphere of savagery? Every child on the planet realizes that he or she is in danger from grownups gone mad. When I think of children left alone with images of bloody corps of children just like themselves, it is hard to sleep.”

    Ms. Walker continues a portrayal of fear of the terrorization of the planet by the United States and Israel. “Yes, African, India and smaller armies are imitating the big guys as best they can. I happen, however, to be attached to the United States and Israel through the strongest possible bonds, BIRTH and TAXES! These overly armed countries are attacking people who cannot possible put up an equal fight which makes attacking them sadistic! Where is the glory, the freedom, the bravery, the wisdom, even the profit in this. All the oil in the world will not wipe away the bomb scars now seared on the hearts of billions of earthlings, cowering in their beds.”

    Those brave, courageous, hubristic Israeli solders murdering little girls! Over three hundred children killed in this terrorist assault on Gaza. Israel has subjected the Palestinians to a Holocaust. Has Israel not shame? At long last, has Israel no decency?

    America is deeply ashamed of our congress’s obsequious support of Israel, much to the chagrin of the American people, much to the sadness of the American people, much to the embarrassment of the American people!