There are two issues I'm inclined to post about at the moment. I couldn't decide between them, so I've decided to post about both.
People all over the world who condemn Israel are familiar with the Goldstone Report. This report was issued by the UN concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. It claimed that Israel was guilty of killing Palestinian civilians deliberately and that Hamas was guilty of killing Israeli civilians deliberately. The Israelis were furious about the report given the amount of effort they devote to avoiding the killling of civilians, something they commit more resources to than any other government I know of ever has, though they regarded it as typical of the way they are treated by the UN, which is why they didn't cooperate with Richard Goldstone while he was writing it.
This weekend, Richard Goldstone wrote a remarkable article in the Washington Post. In it, he says that subsequent information has indicated to him that it is unlikely that the Israelis deliberately killed civilians. The Israelis have researched in depth every event he alluded to and he has been given access to their work. In spite of repeated requests, Hamas has not given him any information at all, not surprising given that Hamas is proud of killing Israeli civilians and has no reason to investigate any episode.
I forwarded this to my rabbi and to my father, among others. My rabbi sent me an article from the Jerusalem Post which said, in essence, exactly what my father said:
Everyone cared about the report. Only Jews will care about the retraction.
My guess, unfortunately, is that many will allude to the Goldstone Report during the upcoming movement in the UN to recognize Palestine as a state. While I think that Palestinian statehood in the long run is both inevitable and desirable, I think that the discredited claims made in the original report will color the debate involved pretty heavily. The damage is done and may very well be irreversable.
Thanks to Old New Lefty for bringing this article to my attention.
Do you remember the Rev. Terry Jones, head of a small church in Florida who threatened to burn a Quran last year, then said he wouldn't? Well, on March 20, he held a mock trial for the Quran at his church, it was found "guilty" and the Quran was indeed burned.
As you can imagine, this has led to quite a reaction. A number of Afghans were furious with America about this; however, there were no Americans handy, so they attacked a UN compound in Northern Afghanistan and killed seven people, including four Nepalese guards and three Europeans. The Afghan police have been investigating. There have been other deaths in Afghanistan at protests over the burning. (There were initial reports of beheadings at the UN compound but they are apparently not true.)
I notice two things about this event. The first is the sheer extremity of the acts themselves; I have nothing further to say about that because it's self-evident. The second is the logic used to justify the acts. It is the logic that concerns me here.
Who in their right mind would hold all the citizens of a highly diverse nation of over 300 million people responsible for the actions of a few intolerant zealots on the fringe? In this case, even this logic wasn't flimsy enough: In the end, any foreigner would do.
What kind of fundamentally unreasonable crazies use such logic? Well, if the protests surrounding the Ground Zero Mosque are any indication, we do. I am NOT saying that the scale of how we have conducted our protests and how they have conducted theirs is in any way comparable; however, I am saying that the logic behind who they targeted to protest and who we targeted to protest is more than comparable.
It is identical.
Imam Rauf (of the Ground Zero Mosque) basically asks: Who in their right mind would hold all the adherents of a highly diverse faith of over a billion and a half people responsible for the actions of a few intolerant zealots on the fringe?
No one in their right mind would.