Confessions of an ethical cretin

When you are criticized by someone you respect, it hurts. But when you are called names by someone who is an ignorant buffoon, it can be a badge of honor. So I may get a t-shirt inscribed “Another Ethical Cretin for Israel”.

I’m referring, of course, to the buffoonish Michael Lerner:

I recently met a leading representative of the foreign ministry of Israel who acknowledged to me “off the record” that Israel had made a tremendous blunder in refusing to cooperate with the UN Commission led by Judge Richard Goldstone, which investigated the charges of Israeli and Palestinian war crimes in the invasion of Gaza last December and January. Judge Goldstone, an internationally respected jurist whose Zionist credentials include being a member of the governing board of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wanted to hear Israel’s account of what happened, but Israel blocked that inquiry so Goldstone could only report what the victims of Israel’s attacks sought to convey.

Unfortunately, Israel’s predictable choir of ethical cretins around the world have joined in condemning Goldstone and the UN instead of urging Israel to investigate the charges by creating an impartial, objective and open process in which the victims can testify and the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

Lerner’s assertion that Israel’s refusal to cooperate with Goldstone was the cause of the report’s bias is laughable. First of all, the original mandate of the commission, as specified in UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution S-9/1, was for

…an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission;

Only the ‘occupying power’ (see my note on postcolonialism) was to be investigated. Even Goldstone himself found this a bit much, and the report does suggest that Hamas ‘may have’ committed war crimes by firing rockets at Israeli civilians — although the UNHRC resolution that adopted the report does not even mention Hamas (it does accuse Israel of various invented ‘crimes’ in East Jerusalem)!

Goldstone did have the opportunity to hear evidence favorable to Israel, but chose not to. In particular, it was suggested that he invite Col. Richard Kemp, who gave an interview to the BBC in January in which he said

…I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.

He chose not to do so, as well as to ignore other relevant material that was submitted to him. The report’s bias is overwhelming, but even worse than its treatment of unverified Palestinian stories of specific incidents as fact is the accusation that “disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy,” something which the report does not — and cannot — prove.

Should Israel take seriously every wild charge and libel? Should there be an ‘investigation’ of alleged organ-stealing by the IDF? What about the suggestion that Jews caused the Plague by poisoning wells? If I spread a rumor that Michael Lerner habitually has sex with chickens, should he appoint a blue-ribbon commission to investigate this? Would that help or hurt him?

Would Israel have been better off by cooperating with the Goldstone Commission in the first place? I don’t know for sure but I doubt it, given the stacked deck presented by resolution S-9/1.

Does Michael Lerner habitually have sex with chickens? Ah, that’s the question. I’m looking forward to “an impartial, objective and open process in which the victims can testify and the perpetrators can be brought to justice.”

Ignorant buffoon Michael Lerner looking the part. Chickens?

Ignorant buffoon Michael Lerner looking the part. Chickens?

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