Israeli Ambassador Explodes: Gaza War Critics Are Calling Us Nazis

Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, writing in The New Republic, says that the Goldstone Report "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."

This is crazy stuff, especially because it comes not from some rightwing crank but from Israel's highest ranking diplomat who serves in its most significant diplomatic post. Oren is also an intellectual, an author who is American born and educated.

Oren's take on the Goldstone report is ridiculous. In fact, nowhere in his piece does he dispute the report's finding that Israel (and Hamas) committed war crimes during the Gaza war.

Reading Oren, one would never know that 1,387 Palestinians (including 320 children) were killed compared to nine Israeli soldiers. Nowhere does he discuss the testimony of the Israeli soldiers who have told Goldstone, as well as Israeli groups investigating the conduct of the war, that the Israeli army repeatedly made no distinction between combatants and innocents.

No, all Oren wants to do is shoot the messenger - the distinguished South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, himself Jewish - for having produced a report that "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."

What, in heaven's name, does Goldstone have to do with Ahmadinejad? Nothing.

But Oren conflates them and then throws in anyone who advocates Israeli territorial compromise:

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. ... 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.

Someone needs to tell the overwrought diplomat that invoking the Nazis regardless of the provocation is quickly becoming the last refuge of scoundrels. It is also ineffective (look at the US health care debate where the memory of Holocaust victims is debased by its use to prove or disprove almost any argument about anything).

Richard Goldstone would not strip Israel of its right, its obligation, to defend its citizens. Hardly. He has been involved in pro-Israel activities during his entire life. As for those who support the two-state solution, they are trying not to "compel Israel onto a course of self-destruction" but to help Israel avoid straying on to that course.

Doesn't Oren remember the late Yizhak Rabin? What would he think of this diatribe by an Israeli diplomat?

Stick to the facts, Ambassador.