Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gold ... Stoned

The moment that the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council decided to push a report about the Gaza war, I expected what Israelis have come to expect from any UN deliberation on Israel. Bias? You bet. False allegations? You bet. Barely a few pages on the 'other side'? You bet. I was just rather disappointed that the man leading the charade was Richard Goldstone, a South African Jew. The report has been out for a while now, and while I've read bits of it, I decided to wait before I posted anything on it. So here are my thoughts (& I won't go into any inaccuracies I've found within the report itself):

1) The moment the war ended, I thought Israel made a serious mistake by not conducting her OWN investigation of the Gaza war. Mistakes were obviously made, and we needed an internal investigation into the matter to ensure that our army did fight in an ethical a way as possible. Where we didn't, we could push changes within the IDF to ensure the mistakes were not repeated. By waiting, and then allowing the UN to get their own report done without any interaction from us, we've forced ourselves into a corner where instead of improving the army's rules of engagement, we're stuck defending allegations, many of which are hyped up.

2) While Goldstone was in Gaza, I wondered if there was any pressure applied to the mission by Hamas. Well, Goldstone admits there were always around him in Ma'an on September 6th, "There were also problems in collecting information in Gaza, he said, explaining that Hamas-allied security forces accompanied his 15-member team during their five-day working visit to Gaza last week, potentially inhibiting the ability of witnesses to speak freely, according to AP." A few days later however, he decided to change his tune, "'Hamas didn't follow us at all,' much less 'at every stage" of the visit.'" Surely he knows what really happened. Why two different stories?

3) I think Yaacov Lozowick makes an excellent point in his blog, "The moment they allowed themselves to make statements about Israel's intentions, as against Israel's actions, they demonstrated their biases and intellectual shoddiness." How can Goldstone, or any member of that team, write about Israel's intentions without a single testimony from an Israeli?

4) I think Goldstone, himself, has woken up to what a biased report he's written. In a few moments of honesty to the Forward, Goldstone admits to many issues with the report, "We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven." Alan Dershowitz has written an interesting piece about Goldstone seemingly backing away from the report.

5) I think the UN endorsement of this report will sadly bury any potential peace process opportunities for the next year (or perhaps longer).

6) Does anyone else wonder why a UN commission of inquiry is not being set up investigate war crimes by NATO nations fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Cherubim

"And having driven out the man, He stationed at the east of the Garden of Eden the Cherubim and the flame of the ever-turning sword, to guard the way of the Tree of Life"
Genesis 3:24

This is the first time in the Torah that the term 'Cherubim' is mentioned. Here they mean destructive angels, whose job is to prevent man from re-entering the garden.

However, when mentioned later in the Torah, the definition of the same term switches to sacred, angel-like children.

Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky makes an interesting analysis based on the above, "Here they are destructive, and there they represent the life-giving powers of the Torah. This alludes to the paramount importance of education. Children can become holy or destructive, depending on how they are reared."


An interesting piece in the Jerusalem Post about Isabelle Fhima