Oct 8, 2009 1:21 pm


Historian and Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren writes:

Where Ahmadinejad leaves off, the Goldstone Report, or, as it is officially called, the “United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” persists. The U.N. mission purports to have investigated Israel's military action in Gaza last winter, an operation launched in response to the firing of more than 7,000 Hamas missiles at Israeli towns since Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Strip. But instead of probing Hamas's deliberate effort to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and its doctrine of hiding behind Palestinian human shields, the judges interviewed handpicked Hamas witnesses, several of them senior commanders disguised as civilians, and uncritically accepted their testimony. Inexorably, the report, which presumed Israel's guilt, condemned the Jewish state for crimes against humanity and for mounting a premeditated campaign against Gaza civilians.

The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves. If a country can be pummeled by thousands of rockets and still not be justified in protecting its inhabitants, then at issue is not the methods by which that country survives but whether it can survive at all. But more insidiously, the report does not only hamstring Israel; it portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents--as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed.

Ahmadinejad's genocidal rhetoric and the iniquity of the Goldstone Report notwithstanding, Israel will, of course, continue to defend its citizens. No amount of vitriol will compel Israel onto a course of self-destruction. But what will be destroyed is any chance for peace. Having twice withdrawn unilaterally to recognized borders and received only onslaughts in return, and having suffered censure for protecting themselves from that aggression, Israelis will understandably recoil from additional retreats that will leave them vulnerable. Israelis, moreover, will not withdraw from any territory liable to become staging grounds for terrorist groups empowered by international agencies and convinced of their ability to murder Israelis with impunity.

Israel will pursue policies with or without firgun. But by making the connection between the Holocaust and its denial, the Iranian nuclear program, and the Goldstone Report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has exposed the venal narrative that concludes with Israel's paralysis. By reaffirming Israel's right to safeguard its citizens, he has demarcated the only path to peace.

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