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How The U.S. Has Undermined Its Own Vital Interests To Appease Israel At The UN

by on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm EDT in Middle East, World

Yesterday, the Palestinians’ bid for full membership at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was approved by a vote of 107-14, with 52 abstentions.

This move will help to prevent the Palestinians’ cultural-heritage sites and artifacts from being plundered, as Israel continues its efforts to Judaize the occupied territory. 

But what might come as a surprise to many in the United States, is that the U.S. Congress created virtual ‘UN poison pills’ in past legislation that automatically damages the U.S.’s own strategic interests the moment Palestinians gain membership at any UN agency:

Legislation dating from 1990 and 1994 mandates a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. State Department lawyers judged that there was no leeway in the legislation, and no possibility of a waiver, so the United States contribution for 2011 and future years will not be paid.

This means the U.S. (as confirmed by the State Department) will withhold its $80 million annual commitment to UNESCO’s funding (with a $60 million portion of this total being stopped immediately). The U.S. is responsible for 22% of the organization’s total funding.

The Palestinians are reported to be seeking membership in other UN organizations as well, which too would face U.S. funding cuts. These include: UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Health Organization (WHO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and others.

How will this damage U.S. strategic interests? 

President of the UN Foundation and former U.S. Senator (D-CO) Timothy Wirth writes that the U.S. will lose its leverage over these international bodies, and with it, the ability to advance America’s interests and ideals around the world. He believes some of America’s global rivals might even volunteer to cover America’s reneged financial commitments, filling its leadership void in the process.

Sen. Wirth explains the significance of UNESCO’s work:

To Americans, UNESCO is best known for designating World Heritage Sites. It also leads global efforts to bring clean water to the poor, promotes educational and curriculum building in the developing world, and manages a tsunami early warning system in the Pacific, among other important tasks. This critical work would be jeopardized if UNESCO’s top funder stops paying its bills.

UNESCO’s director general, Irena Bokova, reveals that the U.S. funding cut will directly impact America’s security interests in Afghanistan and Iraq, where UNESCO is “helping governments and communities prepare for life after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces.”

Sen. Wirth details how U.S. economic interests abroad will be negatively impacted when it cuts its funding for WIPO:

This is a lesser known UN agency that serves American businesses and brands by setting global standards for copyrights and adjudicating cross border patent disputes. In the last year alone, dozens of major American companies brought cases before WIPO — the American Automobile Association, Apple, The North Face, Costco and Facebook to name just a few. If Palestine joins WIPO, the United States will have to pull out, limiting its ability to steer policies in ways that advance American economic interests and create jobs here at home.

He explains how IAEA is critical to U.S. national security interests:

In recent years the IAEA has been a critical part of American attempts to constrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. In 2006, the Bush administration successfully lobbied other members of the IAEA executive board to refer Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council for sanctions. Should the United States stop paying membership dues to the IAEA–which it could be forced to do under current legislation if Palestine is admitted as a member — the United States would give up our vote on the executive board. It would literally lose a seat at the table during the next nuclear crisis.

And he stresses the importance of WHO:

The WHO works closely with the United States–particularly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to keep infectious diseases like the Avian Flu from reaching our shores. If the Palestinians are admitted to the WHO, that cooperation would have to stop under the current law.

Here is the irony: These legislative ‘poison pills,’ so harmful to U.S. interests, were passed entirely for the benefit of Israel, and yet Israel has no similar legislation of its own to trigger a cut in funding for UNESCO (Israel contributes 3% of the organization’s funding). In fact, while U.S. international interests have been marred by this automatic funding cut, Israel is rationally mulling over what it might do. Because, of course, only a fool would rush to action, and risk harming his own vital interests in the process.

When the U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked why the Administration felt it was even necessary to vote against this Palestinian membership bid at UNESCO, she stated that it undermines the ‘peace process.’

The peace process?

The U.S.-lead Israeli-Palestinian peace process was effectively buried in December 2010 after Benjamin Netanyahu refused Obama’s unprecedented offer of an additional $3B in military aid, plus a guarantee that the U.S. would veto any UN Security Council Resolutions against Israel for 1 year, regardless of what Israel might do; all this for a mere 3-month extension of a partial moratorium on Israel’s illegal settlement expansions. 

This rejection made it clear to the entire world that Israel has no intentions of ever ceding any part of the occupied territories to the Palestinians to foment peace. No one, outside the Obama Administration, pretends the U.S.-led Middle East peace process is still a legitimate undertaking. Yet, this is the only excuse the Administration can come up with to explain why it continues to sabotage America’s own vital interests in the name of Israel.

Just as banking lobbyists have seized control of our political establishment, making it impossible for politicians to regulate them, or to hold them to account for bringing the entire U.S. economy to its knees, the Israel Lobby has effectively hijacked our political establishment with regards to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Will it take an #OccupyAIPAC movement to ensure that U.S. politicians put the national security interests of American citizens — all 100% of us — above the interests of a foreign country? 

Israel’s Dahiya Doctrine Undermines Its ‘Collateral Damage’ Claims In Gaza

by on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 9:55 am EDT in Middle East, World

It’s been a full year since Israel unleashed ‘Operation Cast Lead’ against the people of Gaza, leaving 1,400 dead (mostly civilians).  Israel and Egypt continue to blockade the 1.5 million inhabitants confined within the war-torn ghetto, restricting the flow of food, fuel, and other essential items, and thus making reconstruction and recovery virtually impossible.

The Guardian reports:

There is no uncontaminated water [in Gaza]; of the 40,000 or so newborn babies, at least half are at immediate risk of nitrate poisoning – incidence of “blue baby syndrome”, methaemoglobinaemia, is exceptionally high; an unprecedented number of people have been exposed to nitrate poisoning over 10 years; in some places the nitrate content in water is 300 times World Health Organisation standards; the agricultural economy is dying from the contamination and salinated water; the underground aquifer is stressed to the point of collapse; and sewage and waste water flows into public spaces and the aquifer.

Israel purposely destroyed Palestinian farmlands with tank bulldozers, wrecking 17% of it, and leaving 30% of it unusable.

Virtually none of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has been rebuilt since the military escalation a year ago (as building materials have largely been denied entry from Israel’s blockade).  The Irish Times reports that:

Some 15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed during the offensive, displacing 100,000 Palestinians.

The UN estimates 3,450 homes need to be rebuilt, 2,870 homes require major reconstruction, and 52,000 need minor repairs.

The blockade has closed down 98 per cent of Gaza’s industries, while Israel’s offensive destroyed or damaged 700 private businesses, at a cost of $139 million. The war devastated agriculture, electricity and water purification and sanitation plants, health facilities and schools.

John Ging, director of operations in Gaza for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, told the Guardian at the time of the military incursion, when the IDF repeatedly shelled civilian structures (including UN facilities):

Under international law, installations such as schools, health centres and UN facilities should be protected from attack. Well before the current fighting, the UN had given to the Israeli authorities the GPS co-ordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including Asma elementary school [which was shelled].

Considering that Israel has arguably the most sophisticated weaponry in the world, why were there so many civilian casualties?  Why did so much of the civilian infrastructure get annihilated (including entire residential neighborhoods, farmlands, schools, UN facilities, health facilities, electricity, water purification and sanitation plants)?  These questions lie at the very heart of the Goldstone Report.

A tired rhetorical tactic of Goldstone Report critics (including many of our own U.S. Congressmen) has been to re-frame the argument to a simple justification: “Israel had every right to defend itself against Hamas rocket fire.”

The truth of the matter is the Goldstone Report NEVER EVER criticizes Israel for launching a military operation against Gaza in retaliation of Hamas rocket fire.  In fact, the war crimes attributed to Israel are entirely focused on its deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure (as just described above).

Here’s distinguished South African jurist Richard Goldstone making this point to Bill Moyers:

BILL MOYERS: Let me put down a few basics first. Personally, do you have any doubt about Israel’s right to self-defense?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Absolutely not. And our approach to our mission and in our report the right of Israel to defend its citizens is taken as a given.

BILL MOYERS: So the report in no way challenges Israel’s right to self-defense-

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Not at all. What we look at is how that right was used. We don’t question the right.


BILL MOYERS: What did you see with your own eyes when you went there?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, I saw the destruction of the only flour-producing factory in Gaza. I saw fields plowed up by Israeli tank bulldozers. I saw chicken farms, for egg production, completely destroyed. Tens of thousands of chickens killed. I met with families who lost their loved ones in homes in which they were seeking shelter from the Israeli ground forces. I had to have the very emotional and difficult interviews with fathers whose little daughters were killed, whose family were killed. One family, over 21 members, killed by Israeli mortars. So, it was a very difficult investigation, which will give me nightmares for the rest of my life. [..]

BILL MOYERS: What makes those acts war crimes, as you say?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, humanitarian law, really fundamentally is what’s known as the “principle of distinction.” It requires all people involved, commanders, troops, all people involved in making war, it requires them to distinguish between civilians and combatants.  […]

BILL MOYERS: You wrote, quote, the military operation, this military operation in Gaza, was a result of the disrespect for the fundamental principle of ‘distinction’ in international humanitarian law. So in layman’s language, the distinction between what and what?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Between combatants and innocent civilians.

BILL MOYERS: And you’re saying Israel did not do that, in many of these incidents.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: That’s correct.

BILL MOYERS: Did you find evidence that that is deliberate on their part?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, we did. We found evidence in statements made by present and former political and military leaders, who said, quite openly, that there’s going to be a disproportionate attack. They said that if rockets are going to continue, we’re going to hit back disproportionately. We’re going to punish you for doing it. And that’s not countenanced by the law of war.

BILL MOYERS: So they were doing, on the ground, what they had said earlier they intended to do.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: That’s correct.

BILL MOYERS: -so there was intention.

Israel’s Deliberate Intent: “The Dahiya Doctrine”

A key lesson taken away from Israel’s 2006 military escalation in Lebanon — where over 1,100 Lebanese civilians were killed, 915,762 displaced (25% of Lebanon’s entire population), and significant civil infrastructure was destroyed — became known to Israeli Officials as “The Dahiya Doctrine”.  Israeli Defense Forces’ Northern Command chief, Maj.-Gen. Eisenkot, described the doctrine to the press while actively serving in a senior command position (also transcribed into the contents of the Goldstone Report):

“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” said Gadi Eisenkot, head of the army’s northern division.  Dahiya was a Hizbullah stronghold that Israel flattened in sustained air raids during a 34-day war with the Shiite group two years ago.

“We will apply disproportionate force on it (village) and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases,” Eisenkot told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

“This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved,” Eisenkot added.

The Goldstone Report quoted Major General (Ret.) Giora Eiland as having revealed (also in October of 2008 — less than two months before the Gaza offensive) that:

In the event of another war with Hizbullah, the target must not be the defeat of Hizbullah but “the elimination of the Lebanese military, the destruction of the national infrastructure and intense suffering among the population… Serious damage to the Republic of Lebanon, the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people are consequences that can influence Hizbollah’s behaviour more than anything else”.

Israeli Leader, Col. (Ret.) Gabriel Siboni, also weeks before the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, had this to say about Israel’s military plans:

With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively,and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher. Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… In Lebanon, attacks should both aim at Hizbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centres of civilian power that support the organization. Moreover, the closer the relationship between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government, the more the elements of the Lebanese State infrastructure should be targeted. Such a response will create a lasting memory among … Lebanese decision makers, thereby increasing Israeli deterrence and reducing the likelihood of hostilities against Israel for an extended period. At the same time, it will force Syria, Hizbollah, and Lebanon to commit to lengthy and resource-intensive reconstruction programmes…

This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well. There, the IDF will be required to strike hard at Hamas and to refrain from the cat and mouse games of searching for Qassam rocket launchers. The IDF should not be expected to stop the rocket and missile fire against the Israeli home front through attacks on the launchers themselves, but by means of imposing a ceasefire on the enemy

The Goldstone Report adds this paragraph on Israeli intent:

The Mission does not have to consider whether Israeli military officials were directly influenced by these writings. It is able to conclude from a review of the facts on the ground that it witnessed for itself that what is prescribed as the best strategy appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.

The Report concludes that Palestinian civilians and their non-military infrastructure in Gaza were NOT collateral damage in Operation Cast Lead; they were intentionally and deliberately targeted for destruction.

Which begs the question:  if the UN had insisted on forming its own fact finding mission to investigate the war crimes that had been extensively reported in Lebanon, could that undertaking have deterred Israel from pursuing the Dahiya Doctrine in Gaza?  The Israeli government had instead been permitted to appoint its own commission of inquiry, the Winograd Commission — whose findings were blasted by Amnesty International and other human rights groups for completely disregarding Israeli actions that could implicate its officials in war crimes.  The Independent said of the Commission’s findings:

The commission’s statement last night omitted any mention of civilian casualties in Lebanon – for which Israel faced widespread criticism during the war. Instead it contained a strong, if hawkish, message to the Israeli political and military establishment that its only hope of “peace or non-war” is if Israeli society and others in the region believe “Israel has the political and military capabilities… to deter… its neighbours.”

Israel obviously interpreted the Winograd findings along with the international community’s reluctance to pursue war crimes investigations as something of a green light for pursuing the Dahiya Doctrine in Gaza.  Let us hope that the Goldstone Report — which was resoundingly endorsed in October in a UN Human Rights Council Resolution — will help to serve as a deterrent against future crimes against humanity.

U.S. Efforts To Undermine Goldstone Report Diminishes Its Own Standing In World

by on Friday, October 23, 2009 at 10:51 am EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Richard Goldstone

Richard Goldstone, a Jewish South African and a champion for human rights, gave a speech in 2000 at Jerusalem’s Yakar in Israel where he revealed that his motivations for bringing war criminals to justice stemmed from the lessons he’d learned of the Holocaust:

Goldstone said the Holocaust has shaped legal protocol on war, adding that it was “the worst war crime in the world.”  He also said the perception of war crimes against humanity should resonate differently to Jewish ears, in light of how the Holocaust shaped conventions relevant to the subject.

Goldstone added that as a jurist, he viewed the Holocaust as a unique occurrence because of how it affected judicial protocol on war, as well as international and humanitarian judicial approaches. […]

These crimes were so great, he explained, they went beyond their direct victims or the countries in which they were perpetrated, to harm humanity as a whole. This definition, he said, meant that perpetrators were to be prosecuted anywhere, by any country … This rational, he went on to say, constituted the basis for the concept of universal jurisdiction. […]

Israel, he added, was one of the first countries to support the formation of permanent court of law for crimes against humanity — a proposal that came up following the successful performance of the special tribunals on Bosnia.  However, that changed, he said, after Egypt insisted at the Rome conference that the mandate of this permanent court include occupied territories.  This prompted Israel to join the six other countries that voted against the formation of the International Court of Justice, including the United States, China and Libya.

Goldstone has made his life mission fighting for human rights across the globe.  He was instrumental in the fight against South African Apartheid by leading what later became known as the ‘Goldstone Commission’ — a body which exposed grave injustices committed by the Apartheid-era South African security forces.  He went on to serve as chief prosecutor in both the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and as chairperson of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo.  He’s been directly involved in investigating some of the most horrific crimes against humanity over the last quarter century, and has been awarded some of the world’s most prestigious awards for his efforts.

His stellar reputation for honesty, fairness, and compassion, his impeccable credentials, and his love of Israel (a self-proclaimed Zionist) made him the perfect candidate to preside over a fact-finding mission commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s military assault on Gaza, where all international human rights groups were reporting mass violations of human rights and possible war crimes.

The Israel government immediately refused to cooperate with the Goldstone’s Fact Finding Mission, thereby denying the group access to Israeli military sources and to Israeli victims of Hamas rocket fire inside Israel.  They furthermore, denied the group entry into the Gaza Strip via Israel.  The UN mission proceeded without Israel’s cooperation, and on September 15, 2009 — after a long investigation throughout the Gaza ruins — they  issued a scathing indictment:

The United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict at the start of this year has found evidence that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law, which may amount to crimes against humanity.

“We came to the conclusion, on the basis of the facts we found, that there was strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law, both humanitarian law and human rights law, were committed by Israel during the military operations in Gaza,” the head of the mission, Justice Richard Goldstone, told a press briefing today.

“The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF).”

“There’s no question that the firing of rockets and mortars [by armed groups from Gaza] was deliberate and calculated to cause loss of life and injury to civilians and damage to civilian structures. The mission found that these actions also amount to serious war crimes and also possibly crimes against humanity,” he said.

The 575-page report by the four-person mission was released today, ahead of its presentation to the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 September.

“The mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility,” the report’s executive summary said. “It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.”

It went on to criticize the “deliberate and systematic policy on the part of the Israeli armed forces to target industrial sites and water installations,” and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields.

On the objectives and strategy of Israel’s military operation, the mission concluded that military planners deliberately followed a doctrine which involved “the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.

On the firing of mortars from Gaza, the mission concluded that they were indiscriminate and deliberate attacks against a civilian population and “would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.” It added that their apparent intention of spreading terror among the Israeli civilian population was a violation of international law.

The full 574 page report can be found here:  “Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” and the conclusions of the report will be forwarded to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague if the two sides fail to conduct credible investigations into the conflict within six months.

The reactions were fairly predictable from Israel and some of its hard-line pro-Israel ideologues in America:  Distortions, outright lies, and defamation of the messenger:

The Goldstone report should be rejected on its demerits. The added fact that it was authored by a self-aggrandizing Jew — selected precisely because he is a Jew with aspirations to be honored by the international community–should diminish, rather than increase, its credibility.

I see, so if a non-Zionist gentile had lead the fact-finding mission — or, God forbid, a Muslim — then somehow that would have made the report more credible to you?  Give me a break!

Roger Cohen, of the New York Times, responds to some of the Goldstone back-lash by cautioning Israel to refrain from always viewing its mistakes through the distorted lens of ‘Israeli exceptionalism‘.

Cut the posturing and deal with reality. This can be painful — as with Justice Richard Goldstone’s recent U.N. report finding that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed possible crimes against humanity during Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

But it’s also instructive. Goldstone is a measured man — I’ve known him a long time. The Israeli response to his findings strikes me as an example of the blinding effect of exceptionalism unbound. Ordinary nations have failings.

The Obama Administration’s reaction to the report consisted of the usual “bias against poor Israel” song and dance performed by previous administrations:

Although the report addresses all sides of the conflict, its overwhelming focus is on the actions of Israel. While the report makes overly sweeping conclusions of fact and law with respect to Israel, its conclusions regarding Hamas’s deplorable conduct and its failure to comply with international humanitarian law during the conflict are more general and tentative.

The fallacy of the Administration’s assessment is obvious:

Israel refused to cooperate with the UN Fact Finding Mission, thereby denying them access to see or speak to any Israeli victims of Hamas rocket fire.  Israel also denied the mission access to Israel military personnel to better understand their reasoning for targeting what they did.  In other words, both Israel and the U.S. are using Israel’s refusal to cooperate, as a way to tarnish the legitimacy of the Goldstone Report.

And let’s be serious here, the IDF killed over 1,400 people (most of which were Palestinian women and children), destroyed nearly the entire infrastructure of Gaza, used white phosphorous, targeted U.N. facilities, and  destroyed 4,000 buildings (20,000 severely damaged) leaving 10,000 Palestinians homeless.

Compare that with Israel’s losses:  13 Israelis killed  (10 of which were soldiers — four of these were the result of ‘friendly fire’).  It’s blatantly obvious why the Goldstone Report had much more to say about Israel’s atrocities — their crimes against humanity dwarfed those committed by Hamas by a factor of 100 to 1.  Yet, even despite the disproportionate death and destruction inflicted by Israel, the Goldstone Report DID assert there was evidence that Hamas committed war crimes — something Hamas adamantly denies.  The only thing blatantly biased regarding the report’s release has been the responses by Israeli apologists — which includes, to my dismay, the Obama Administration — who is selectively undermining international law.  And they’re doing it with the same pathetic rhetoric they use to undermine justice at home.

Here’s U.S. envoy to the UN Rice’s response when questioned about the Goldstone findings:

“In this, as in many other respects, the US focus, and I think constructively the focus of many other countries, is to try to look not to the past but to the future. The best way to end suffering and abuses is for there to be a long term solution and peace based on two states living side by side in peace and security.

Sound familiar?  The ‘ole “Don’t focus on holding criminals to account.  Let’s look forward, not backwards …” spiel?

All the new-found goodwill that Obama’s Cairo speech had so effectively generated in that part of the world — winning the hearts,  minds and hopes of the people — UP IN SMOKE!  The neo-cons would be proud, Mr.President.  By choosing to turn a blind eye to the findings of the Goldstone report, and therefore shunning the rule of law, all hopes of a new, fair-minded, justice-promoting United States evaporated in the Arab world in an instant.

On Wednesday, Rice “promised [President Shimon Peres] that the United States will continue to stand by Israel as a loyal friend in the fight against the Goldstone report.”

Yesterday, Richard Goldstone decided to address directly the U.S. Administration’s convoluted rhetoric on his report:

“I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are. I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are,” Goldstone said.  “The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza [by Hamas], but said that the report was flawed.”

He then proceeded to respond to those who’ve attempted to assassinate his character, in hopes it would help to undercut his report:

Goldstone said the attacks on him had become personal and that he believed most critics had not even read the report.  “I’ve no doubt, many of the critics – the overwhelmingly majority of critics – have not read the report,” he said.  “And, you know, what proves that, I think, is that the level of criticism does not go to the substance of the report.  There still have not been responses to the really serious allegations that are made. People generally don’t like to be accused of criminal activity.”

Goldstone was asked about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent attempts to change international law (so as to exempt Israel’s alleged war crimes in Gaza), and Goldstone responded:

“I think it’s sad… Israel is clutching at straws. International law can’t be changed just because one side doesn’t like the laws of war,” Goldstone said.  “I think it’s wrong, very unfortunate and inappropriate.”

Any impartial observer, upon reviewing the evidence, will see that the U.S. is now attempting to impede justice, not promote it.  In his Cairo speech, President Obama asked for a new beginning between the United States and the Arab world:

I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

Mr. President, it’s now time to make good on your commitment, and demonstrate that the United States does respect the principles of justice, tolerance, and dignity of all human beings.  Unless the rule of law applies to all of mankind equally, then there is no such thing as justice.