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November 4, 2009

Israeli war criminals get away with murder

Dr. Mohamed Bakr

Dr. Mohamed BakrMost Western leaders refer in their speeches to their countries' efforts to promote human rights. This message is repeated over and over, but it merely serves to emphasize two myths about the Western psyche. The first myth is that Western governments adhere to moral values. The second is that these governments are willing to fight for them.

The reality is that the human rights card is played only when it is necessary to pressure other countries to behave in a certain way. Otherwise, Western governments are prepared to tolerate even the grossest of human rights violations. The stance of the West toward The Goldstone Report proves the latter point beyond any doubt.

The report was prepared by a committee headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, a well-respected Zionist Jew from South Africa.

The committee investigated war crimes committed during the Israeli attack on Gaza in January.

The report cited evidence of Israeli war crimes against the civilian Palestinian population including: the intentional killing of Palestinian women and children waving white flags; and the bombing of civilian targets such as schools, hospitals, and mosques.

The report also cited Israel’s use of Palestinian civilians as human shields and bombing heavily populated areas with prohibited weapons. Committee member Col. Desmond Travers was quoted as saying: “Israel committed crimes over crimes over crimes.”

In response, Israel’s lobbies worldwide and its mighty propaganda machine were fully mobilized to discredit Goldstone and the report in the eyes of the Western public.

In a recent TV interview, Travers mentioned that some South African Jews even threatened Goldstone. He also mentioned that Goldstone’s daughter Nicole, who currently lives in Canada, also received threats.

The report, with its balanced tone and well-documented facts, should have been sufficient to condemn any country.

If it were about Iran, Sudan or Syria, Western politicians would have issued a frenzy of statements calling for sanctions and trials of the war criminals. But because this report is about Israel, the reactions have been completely different.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn’t utter a single word. Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who is known for his frequent speeches to pro-Israel lobbies, acted as if these war crimes happened on another planet.

Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon decided to take a strong “principled” action, so he headed to Israel to express his solidarity and attend a conference about its future!

When it comes to Israeli war crimes, our government could not care less about human rights!

The reaction of our neighbors to the south has not been much different.

President Barack Obama, the winner of a surprising and unjustified Nobel Peace Prize, actively pushed all parties to bury the report.

Extreme pressure was put on Mahmoud Abbas, the American-supported president of the Palestinian Authority, to ask for a five-month delay in discussing the report. This action resulted in serious reactions against Abbas across the entire spectrum of Palestinian society.

He was literally accused of treason. To defuse the anger against him, Abbas asked the UN Human Rights Council a week later to reconvene to discuss the report.

France tried unsuccessfully to delay discussion, and a number of Western countries voted against the report based on silly pretexts.

The report was approved through the support of 25 countries including Russia, China, and India. It should now be referred to the UN Security Council where it is expected the U.S. will use its veto to kill it.

Soon after the report was issued, NATO rewarded Israel by allowing it to join the NATO patrols in the Mediterranean Sea. Germany also decided to sell Israel more of its Dolphin submarines with nuclear capabilities.

War crimes are not only ignored, but its culprits are rewarded!

The most interesting reactions, I believe, came from Israel itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would never allow anyone to put its leaders or IDF officers on trial.

Ultra right-wing foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, often referred to as the Mussolini of Israel for his fascist ideas about expelling non-Jews, said the report aims at destroying Israel’s image!

Another Israeli official said that Israel would delegitimize any organization that attempts to delegitimize Israel. A third one said that the UN Human Rights Council is saying that Israel cannot do in Gaza what the Russians did in Chechnya or what the Americans did in Iraq.

In other words, if some countries committed war crimes in the past, then Israel should be given that right, too.

All Israeli reactions had the same tone: “We are above any international law. How dare you people question our actions!”

The Goldstone Report poses a tough challenge to the West.

Can it continue to apply one standard to a country like Sudan and apply a completely different one to Israel?

Can it continue to brag about its support for human rights at the same time it ignores documented massacres of defenseless civilians?

The German thinker and academician Jürgen Todenhöfer said when talking about Western policies: “We created a great lie to live with. Our lie was we are the good ones. We are the idols. We are the ones who help others. But that is not the case.”

The Western reaction to The Goldstone Report is living proof of that statement.

Dr. Mohamed Bakr is a freelance writer based in Burlington, Ontario.

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