Friday, October 16, 2009

Proportionate Response a la UN Human Rights Council

This morning the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), with a predictability not exceeded by forecasting solar eclipses, endorsed Justice Richard Goldstone's report on civilian abuse during the 2008 Gaza war. Whatever the merits and content of the report itself, this was a foregone conclusion, in part because the same Council commissioned the inquiry but more so because of this dubious body's track record of Israel-bashing.

Isn't this in the same world where Sudan encourages the ongoing massive butchery in Darfur? Wherein Mugabe has destroyed civil life and innumerable opponents? Where North Korea and Iran continue to suppress, jail and disappear even mild critics? Where the tyrants of Burma silence and stomp Nobel peace laureates? And where the People's Republic of China continually murders off ethnic and other opposition? But in this world, there is one Nation that has garnered 6 times the number of UNHRC condemnatory resolutions than any other: yup, Israel.

Here's a screen-shot that compiles the number of such resolutions between 2003 and 2009.

(apologies for the small image size but the scaling of the bar graph is thrown off by the preponderance of resolutions directed at Israel! - if you click on it, some magnification happens)

The Report talks about Israel's disproportionate military response but might one also think about "disproportion" in the way that that nation itself is assaulted by the luminaries of Human Rights of the UN?

No surprise here that Goldstone's findings would be music to the largish ears of this "impartial" agglomeration of UNHRC kangaroos. The report certainly is extensive and delves scrupulously into what, in an earlier less enlightened era, would have been the expected outcomes of an invasion into an unavoidably densely populated area - a place where the quarry quite intentionally attempts to hide and blend in.

Figuring out what specific abuses the Israeli forces perpetrated versus inadvertent and unavoidable casualties - given Hamas's conscious strategy to embed among its own vulnerable civilians - was a task of enormous complexity. In order to appear a little balanced the Goldstone report rapped Hamas's knuckles too but failed anywhere to point out just how easy that claque of terrorists qua elected government made the learned investigation: for they were indiscriminately attacking Israeli civilians on a daily basis long before open military action began. In simple terms, had they heeded multiple warnings to put a stop to the daily barrage of missiles peppering its communities, Israel would have no reason or justification for the horrors that followed.

It is somewhat to Goldstone's credit that his panel documents the Palestinians' atrocities but, of course, in keeping with the culture of the institution who commissioned this analysis, and now endorse it, the lion's share of blame continues to rain down on Israel - you know, the side that was being attacked first.