Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I haven't said anything about the infamous Goldstone Report to the UN on the Gaza War, first, because I believed it was too big a topic to cover, and second, because it's so unfair and infuriating it's hard to remain rational when discussing it.

Good thing I didn't say anything myself, because here is someone -- Prof. David Altman -- who said it far better than I ever could.

Read it, pass it along.

September 17, 2009
To: The Honourable Justice Richard Goldstone

Your Honour,

Through your conduct you remind all of us of the divine words in the book of Genesis, when God says to Cain, “The blood of Abel thy brother cries unto Me from the ground.”

Haunted by hatred and eaten up by a sense of inferiority, Cain put an end to Abel’s life because of jealousy and resentment. He was convinced that this action would avenge his sense of being spurned and forgotten. But then he heard a voice reverberating, a voice that henceforth he will always hear, wherever he goes, saying: “The blood of Abel thy brother cries from the ground.”

What was in your mind, Justice Goldstone, when you became the emissary of the world’s most intractable states? What were you thinking of when you became the representative of Sudan, Syria and Libya? Sudan – a country that on a daily basis commits genocide as the world stands by, silent. Libya – a country that has no democracy and no human rights, a country that sentences innocent people to death on trumped-up charges, that sends terrorists to blow up a plane carrying hundreds of passengers, that sends terrorist ships to attack cities and innocent people in Israel. And Syria, where people have been butchered extra-judicially and without trial, a state that supports terror and the murder of individuals, joins these two in an unholy alliance.

What was in your mind, when there is a deafening silence in the face of the slaughter in Darfur, in the face of the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Sri Lanka, in the face of those killing their brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq, without any reaction from the world? What were you thinking of when they gave you a remit to investigate crimes committed by a life-affirming democratic state?

What we wish to say to you, sir, is that you are a rebellious son of a great people. We are a life-affirming nation. We are people who love peace and hates war. We are a people who have proven that we are ready to do much for the sake of peace and to pay a heavy price, unlike all those who surround us and desire war.
Wars have always been imposed upon us, and when we have taken up arms, it has always been with tears in our eyes and out of concern for ourselves and our fellow man.
We respect the rules of war – both those that have been laid down by mankind, and those that have been dictated to us by the Creator.

Who is it that we are confronting? A Jihadist terrorist organization, that sanctifies death, that calls for the destruction of your brothers’ homeland, who massacre us, who fire their bombs at our homes and targets our children, our wives and our elderly, and celebrates when its bombs hit their targets.

Whom are you defending Your Honour when you point a falsely accusing finger at us, when an army goes out to defend homes and towns, and informs and asks its neighbours to move away, in order to prevent loss and anguish? We do not make use of human rights for public and international propaganda purposes. We believe in human rights and democracy.

Your job – to destroy the image of the State of Israel and each and every one of us – resembles those who collaborated with the Nazis, because they believed the Nazi propaganda that the Jews are guilty and hence must be dealt with through the Final Solution.

We despise you, Your Honour. Not because of your repudiation of your people, of your homeland and of your father’s home, but because of the evil and the absence of justice that you are serving beneath your judicial robes, when you lend a hand to baseless and unfounded blood libels.

This selfsame State of Israel, which withdrew at a heavy, heart-rending price from every single square inch of the Gaza area, which has no border disputes with this terrorist entity, an entity that has disengaged itself from its brothers in the West Bank and killed its opponents from its own ranks in cold blood – this selfsame authority has openly committed the war crime of abducting a soldier and isolating him from international institutions and his family. Not only that you defend these people – you have become their official spokesman and you try presenting us, who are fighting for our lives, in a light of evil and wickedness – completely unjustified in fact and in truth.

You were chosen to do a cover-up job, in order to prove that even one of our own sees our actions and our defence as a crime.

I must say: you are not one of our own. Go and graze in foreign pastures, join those ultra-Orthodox extremists who have joined forces with Ahmadinejad, who has declared a jihad on Israel and the Jewish people and needs such partners, who in the past were called kapos.

You are far from us, you do not belong to us, and you are not welcome among us. The blood of our brothers, who died because they fought with clean hands, who died because they were not prepared to put innocents at risk, the blood of my relatives who died when they turned their back on a woman who was breastfeeding, behind whom terrorists were hiding, who took them out as they used the woman and her baby as cover – the blood of these people cries out to you from the ground and calls you a modern Cain.

I am a proud Israeli, I love my homeland, and I long for peace.

The only democratic country in the Middle East – a country that is called Israel – represents our national collective. We believe in justice, in human rights, in humaneness, in love of one’s fellow man, and in the Jewish belief that says: every individual that was created in His image is important.

We are not killers, we are not blood-thirsty murderers, we do not wish to punish those who hate us, but to extend to them our hands in peace, in friendship, and in understanding.

You did not hear such words in the Hamas countries. They are not even prepared to recognize us. They desire our destruction. These people, who fire from inside schools, mosques, and ambulances, they need you in order to prove that we are harming their human rights.

I was a partner to those who devoted their lives during the operation to working in the humanitarian operations room which was involved with saving lives, providing food and fuel, caring for the other, and dealing with any breach, even an inadvertent one, of any human right, the sort of thing that can take place during wartime. Regrettably, our foes do not have such an operations room.

But you knowingly and deliberately ignored this, and became part of the well-oiled machinery that is designed to deprive us of any legitimacy. Some of this well-oiled machinery seeks to portray us as monsters, out of a desire ultimately to make possible the destruction of us and the State of Israel.

Cain is cursed, and those who follow his path shall be cursed too, since their crime reverberates ad infinitum, and because of them the blood of Abel, their brother, continues to cry out from the ground.

And I – from this beloved country, I cry out like this blood, and as I cry out, so I say, “Cry, the beloved country, cry out against the traitors, who have pounced on you like birds of prey and desecrated your honour.”

Sincerely, but not with kind regards,

Dr. David Altman
Senior Vice-President
Netanya Academic College

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