Here we go again as the United Nation pursues its unique "verdict first--trial afterwards," treatment of the State of Israel. This week, not one but two UN agencies, the UN Security Council in New York, and over in Geneva--in its 6th 'special session' on Israel in 3 years--the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) are heeding calls led by the newly sanitized terrorist Libyan regime to consider Judge Richard Goldstone's UN "fact-finding report" about Israel's three-week military operation to end the hellish barrage of 8,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip. (See www.wiesenthal.com/Goldstone).
Not surprisingly, the Israelis are outraged that the prepackaged conclusions of the 600-page hatchet job--still calls Israel the "occupying power in Gaza" (!), gives Hamas a slap on the wrist, and condemns Israel for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" inflicted on Palestinians used as human shields by Hamas fighters.
Never mind that Goldstone's commission refused to view available video evidence showing that Hamas openly boasts of using Gazan civilians as human shields (some on YouTube!), or that Judge Goldstone stood by while Hamas officials impudently lied to him about their responsibility for kidnapping Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and missile attacks on civilian centers.
Goldstone's report, in effect, equates Israel with Nazis and other tyrants of history by accusing the Jewish State of deliberately targeting civilians-- a potent but patently false accusation, easily debunked by confirming with residents in Gaza or checking open sources on the Internet, that prior to attacks aimed at terrorist installations purposely implanted by Hamas within the civilian centers, that Israel Defense Forces dropped leaflets, contacted cell phones and interrupted Palestinian TV and Radio Broadcasts.
Oh, and did I mention that Judge Goldstone now denies his was an investigation at all?
Just last week, Goldstone admitted during an interview with The Forward that his findings came not from a full-blown investigation, but from what he called 'fact finding'. Goldstone is quoted as saying, "If this was a court of law, there would be nothing proven."
Whatever his intentions--Goldstone's folly has already unintentionally damaged President Obama's Mideast game plan.
It is discouraging average Israelis from going along with the risky step of withdrawal from West Bank strategic real estate adjacent to every major population center in the Jewish state. Back in 2005, Prime Minister Sharon said it was OK to withdraw from Gaza because--if Hamas tried to make it into a launching pad for terrorist attacks--the IDF would respond decisively with the support of a sympathetic international community. But in wake of Goldstone's attack, what sane Israeli would cede the West Bank? No democratically elected leader could afford to be blamed for opening Israel to more terror even as it would suffer another round of condemnations as "an occupying power" by the next Judge Goldstone. Jerusalem has enough threats from Tehran and Hezbollah to deal with without worrying that its soldiers and leaders will face arrest and trial by the International Criminal Court if they dare respond to attacks against Tel Aviv and Haifa--not from Gaza-- but from Ramallah and Jenin.
Meanwhile, Team Obama is discovering that it's impossible to keep any anti-Israel Genie bottled up in the UN. First, UN Ambassador Susan Rice said the U.S. had "serious concerns" about many recommendations in the Goldstone Report whose mandate the State Department labeled "unbalanced and one-sided." But then, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner declared in Geneva in Judge Goldstone's presence that--despite unproven "negative inferences about the intentions of Israeli officials"--the U.S. was "seriously" ready to "engage in discussion of this Report" at a future meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. For U.S. diplomacy in Geneva, the future is now--as it only recently rejoined the serially anti-Israel UNHRC on President Obama's instructions.
And here's another consequence of the Goldstone Follies: His report demands that everyone treat any new terrorist attack organized by a non-state player as a job for the NYPD--not the Marines. The U.S. must preemptively veto any discussion of the Goldstone Report by the UN Security Council unless we are prepared for it to come back and bite America. Do we really want to risk Judge Goldstone's meddling, not only derailing the Mideast peace process, but further unraveling NATO's counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan as well as U.S. unmanned drone attacks on Al Qaeda in Pakistan?
What goes around comes around. This year, it may be Jerusalem that's the target of international kangaroo courts designed to strip it of the inalienable right to "the individual and collective inherent right of self-defense" guaranteed to every member state by Article 51 of the UN Charter: a minor detail to seems to have slipped Judge Goldstone's mind. Next year, it may be Washington that is forced to defend its actions in Afghanistan--not behind closed White House doors--but at an arraignment at the Hague of our Generals and political leaders for "crimes against humanity" as well as "war crimes" during anti-terrorist operations in the Af-Pak region. In this Kafkaesque court, not even President Obama's unexpected Nobel Peace Prize would provide him with a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Mr. President and Madam Secretary of State: deep six the Goldstone Report before it buries every democracy confronted by terrorists. We cannot afford to respond to the threat of the next 9/11 by agreeing to the perverse notion that international law suddenly means signing on to a suicide pact.
Historian Dr. Harold Brackman, a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center co-authored this essay.