Radical Extremists Jump On the Goldstone Op-ed

Not surprisingly, the radical extremists at NGO Monitor and many others are jumping on the op-ed by Richard Goldstone to “prove” that human rights groups, and others, who have been calling for investigations into Israel’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead should retract their claims.

Goldstone essentially said two things of substance in his op-ed: that Israel has done a lot more than Hamas, which has done nothing, to investigate Cast Lead, and this is certainly true, though it might be damning with faint praise; and that Israel did not target civilians as a matter of policy.

Goldstone gets in more trouble the more he talks

To be sure, there are those who did take the Goldstone Report as conclusive proof that Israel targeted civilians intentionally. But here is what I wrote on November 16, 2009:

More overreaching can be seen in Goldstone’s flat statement that Israel, as a matter of policy, targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. Indeed, it is true that the pattern of destruction he cites in his report raises this very disturbing question. But that’s all it does—raise it. Goldstone makes a flat judgment without proving his case, or even substantially supporting it. He’s a prosecutor by trade; he has to know better than that.

B’Tselem, referring to that same accusation, said, on October 19, 2009:

…the mission’s conclusions regarding Israel’s overall objectives in carrying out the operation were not sufficiently supported by facts arising from the mission’s research.

Human Rights Watch also reiterated that the original Report did not support a conclusion of Israel intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Not surprisingly, the fanatics at NGO Monitor chose not to name a single instance of an NGO leveling the accusation of intentionality that was alluded to in the Goldstone Report. Continue reading

EU Ambassador in Jerusalem Post: Gerald Steinberg is a Liar

The following letter appeared in the Jerusalem Post of January 19. Please share with anyone gullible enough to believe that NGO Monitor has even the slightest shred of credibility.

Sir, – Gerald Steinberg, in “Europe needs a parliamentary inquiry on NGO funding” (Comment & Features, January 10), claimed that the European Union “blatantly violates the basic rules of funding transparency” and talked of “an impenetrable shroud of secrecy” obscuring its funding procedures.

In fact, as Prof. Steinberg is fully aware from the various conversations we have had with him, funding of projects by the European Union worldwide is carried out by open and public calls for proposals published on EU websites, including the website of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel. This is the link to where they are published: http://ec.europa.eu/delegations/ israel/funding_opportunities/ grants/index_en.htm.

The guidelines for project applicants clearly state the aims and objectives of the programs and are open for all to see. After a proposal has been selected it is included in the list of accepted projects, and remains on line throughout the entire length of the project. Here you will find the precise size of the grant, the name of the implementing organization, the duration of the project and a description of the project.

Moreover, all recipients of EU funding are contractually obligated to make publicly known the source of this funding.

A list of projects currently being funded by the European Union in Israel can be found via the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/delegations/ israel/projects/list_of_p rojects/projects_en.htm.

This list does not include the hundreds of projects funded in the field of scientific research, which are published separately.

Respect for and promotion of human rights are fundamental values shared by Israel and the European Union. This is enshrined in the Israel-EU Association Agreement that forms the basis of our relations.

AMB. ANDREW STANDLEY
Tel Aviv
The writer heads the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel

Is Lieberman the New Israeli Mainstream?

(Note: This was cross-posted at Meretz USA’s blog.)

In an interview given to Newsweek, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the following, quite chilling statement: “I am the mainstream. When I started with my vision, I was really a small minority. Today we’re the third [largest] party in Israel.”

Lieberman is certainly no stranger to bluster, so it’s easy to dismiss this as more of Yvet’s (as he is called) hubris. But is that really the case? There’s a good deal of evidence to suggest that Lieberman is absolutely right.

Avigdor Lieberman

Each piece of that evidence is another massive blow to the teetering ship that is Israeli democracy. The latest was a proposal introduced this past week by Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, to set up a Knesset committee to investigate the funding sources of progressive, and only left-wing, NGOs.

Israeli journalist and blogger Yossi Gurvitz likened the event to the burning of the Reichstag, implying that this was the point where Israel slipped from democracy to fascism. Gurvitz may be overstating the case (I’d certainly say he is), but he is not exaggerating how anti-democratic this action and this Knesset are. Nor can it be reasonably denied that, whether Gurvitz is right or not today, if Israel continues on its present course, there is no doubt he will be someday and probably not in all that distant a future. Continue reading