The Jewish News this week (September 25 2009): Can you say flip flop?
Okay, I’ll get to the Goldstone thing.
First though, consider other things in this week’s Jewish News. Julia Irwin has a big article about her – it leads with saying she was “One of Parliament’s most rabid Middle East activists”. Yes, Irwin is “rabid”. Perhaps unlike Michael Danby, who is well known for his sober and thoughtful commentary on Palestine.
They note her speech in 2002 about creating a Palestinian state:
At the end of her short speech she added: “I would like to thank the many people, including members of both the Jewish and Palestinian communities, who have offered me support with this motion.”
It was an underhand criticism of the Jewish community, a community that she and others accused of trying to stifle debate.
This criticism has since been, and was at the time, robustly denied.
Okay, now think about this seriously. Naomi Levin – the author – says that because Irwin thanked the Jewish community, she was in an underhanded way criticising it. I’m quoting this article exactly as it reads.
Not only this: Irwin is not accused of criticising the Zionist lobbies or anything like that. She is accused of criticising THE COMMUNITY. Okay? That is, anti-Semitism. Because she THANKED the Jewish community for supporting her.
That is probably about all that needs to be said. There’s more – that she accused the Jewish lobby of hijacking ALP policy and preventing debate on Palestine: ECAJ’s Jeremy Jones said her bogeyman of a powerful Jewish lboby would appeal to anti-Semites, not reasonable observers. Philip Mendes, as is typical for him, strove to outperform this jingoist extremism, saying that only her “fanatical” views would be remembered. “The more she spoke, the more extreme she became… She could have been a moderate, sensible advocate for the Palestinians, along the lines of Bob Brown, who is clearly sympathetic to their cause, but hasn’t go into conspiracy theories or analogies of the Holocaust.”
Douglas Kirsner says the PA leadership is more moderate than Irwin. Well yes, this is probably likely true.
They also run a very mild op ed by Justice Goldstone, contrasted with Dershowitz’s usual hysterical and dishonest fit. (like the report summary “never criticises Hamas”. Yes, okay).
The Editorial though, is the big thing. The front page of the AJN has a picture of Goldstone, and a big red word: DISGRACE. The editorial says
“The reality-bending qulaities of the UN do not stop there, of course. Case in point: the UN Human Rights Commission’s Goldstone reports on the Middle East released last week. The report essentially damns Israel for its actions during the Gaza war while slapping Hamas on the wrist for the sake of appearances, not to mention its establishment of implicit moral equivalence. The premise for the inquiry, which was ordered to scrounge up “evidence” to validate the foregone hypothesis that Israel had committed “war crimes”, was rejected as inherently biased from the outset by a collection of western powers.
That’s not a problem for the UN, which has never let facts of objectivity stand in the way of its politicised and often discredited reports over the years.”
Okay? Now last week, I noted what the same paper said in its editorial (reproducing my spelling errors from last week):
The AJN editorial is actually really incredible.
They say that “The biolerplate argument that the report should not be taken seriously because the UN has a historic bias against Israel – charge that is not unfounded – will not be enough to counter this particular report, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Justice Richard Goldstone, in accepting the UN’s request to lead the inquest, lent credibility to the process that it would not otherwise have had. A highly regarded figure on the international human rights scene with experience in the prosecution of war crimes, Goldstone commands respect. Goldstone’s presence also deflects criticism for the report by the fact that he is Jewish and has had a good relationship with Israel in the past.”
The other thing is the US has joined the HRC. Taking it seriously because the US is in it is indicative of how shocking the AJN is. But anyway. However, the AJN says it would be a “mistake” to simply dismiss the report. “The Israeli government must keep its emotions in check and take this report very seriously – refute what it can refute, and continue to work towards vigorously prosecuting the rest. The consequences of misplaying its hand on this would be grave.”
Okay, so one week, the AJN says we must take the report seriously. The next week, it’s a joke, we shouldn’t take it seriously. One week, the boilerplate argument about UN bias won’t hold. This week, UN bias is why we should dismiss it.Obviously, something’s happening at the AJN. I wonder if anyone else even notices this. It’s pretty incredible.