Friday, October 30, 2009

Six Questions for Desmond Travers on the Goldstone Report

by Ken Silverstein, published in Harper's Magazine

Desmond Travers was one of the four members of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which produced the controversial Goldstone Report. Travers is a retired Colonel of the Army of the Irish Defence Forces. His last appointment was as Commandant of its Military College. He also served in command of troops with various UN and EU peace support missions. I recently spoke to Travers by phone about the report. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
1. Were you surprised by the criticism of the report?

There was a lot of criticism even before the report came out, primarily against individuals, especially Justice Richard Goldstone. So we were not unduly surprised by the whinging when the report was released, except for the intensity and viciousness of the personal attacks. Justice Goldstone has publicly invited the critics, especially within the U.S. government, to come forward with substantive evidence of incorrect or inaccurate statements. But there has been no credible criticism of the report itself or of the information elucidated in it.

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Gaza Report Author Asks U.S. to Clarify Concerns

by Sharon Otterman, published in The New York Times

Richard Goldstone, the lead author of a United Nations report that found evidence of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas during last winter’s Gaza war, challenged the Obama administration in an interview broadcast Thursday to explain what it has called serious concerns about his report.
In the interview on Al Jazeera, Mr. Goldstone, a South African jurist, said that the official American response to the 575-page report had been ambivalent. The Obama administration, he said, “joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith” domestic investigations of the alleged crimes in both Israel and Gaza, “but said that the report was flawed.”
“But I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are,” Mr. Goldstone said. “I mean, I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are.”

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Article: Disillusioning interview with founder of J Street

J Street, purporting to be the leftist answer to AIPAC, is a relatively new lobbying group in Washington. However, this interview with its founder shows that the lobby group espouses many of the same values as AIPAC, values which result in US policies that prolong the dispossession of Palestinians.

J Street's Ben-Ami On Zionism and Military Aid to Israel
by Jeffrey Goldberg, published in the Atlantic

Jeremy Ben-Ami of the liberal lobbying group J Street is the man of the moment: The group's upcoming conference in Washington has become a source of great controversy for many reasons. I interviewed Ben-Ami yesterday by telephone, and here is an edited transcript of our conversation. In our talk, he showed that he learned a bit about triangulation during his years in the Clinton White House.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Article: Israel's attacks will lead to its isolation

by Gideon Levy, published in Ha'aretz

Israel has been dealing one blow after another to the rest of the world. While China has still not recovered from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's absence from the reception at its Tel Aviv embassy - a serious punishment for China's support for the Goldstone report - France is licking its wounds after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "vetoed" a visit by the French foreign minister to Gaza. And Israel has dealt another blow: Its ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, will boycott the conference next week of the new Israel lobby J Street.

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Article: Goldstone dares US on Gaza report

The January-December war on Gaza left about 1,400 Palestinians dead and prompted a UN-led investigation.

Goldstone dares US on Gaza report
Published by Al Jazeera English

Richard Goldstone, the jurist who authored a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity during its war on Gaza, has challenged the US to justify its claims that his findings are flawed and biased.

Goldstone told Al Jazeera on Thursday that he had not heard from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, about the flaws Washington claims to have identified in the report.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Article: Goldstone on the Goldstone Report

My mission - and motivation
by Richard Goldstone, published in the Jerusalem Post

Five weeks after the release of the Report of the Fact Finding Mission on Gaza, there has been no attempt by any of its critics to come to grips with its substance. It has been fulsomely approved by those whose interests it is thought to serve and rejected by those of the opposite view. Those who attack it do so too often by making personal attacks on its authors' motives and those who approve it rely on its authors' reputations.

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Article: Our exclusive right to self-defense

by Larry Derfner, published in the Jerusalem Post

Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza. We've honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's performance at the UN, we're delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:

How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!

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Article: Last Straw for the Palestinian "Authority"?

by Saree Makdisi, published in the Huffington Post

If there were any lingering doubts concerning the status and integrity of the Palestinian National Authority -- and its so-called President, Mahmoud Abbas ("so-called" because his term of office, such as it was, expired almost a year ago) -- they were surely dispelled once and for all by its decision to drop its support for a UN resolution that would have referred the Goldstone Report on Israel's post-Christmas 2008 attack on Gaza to the UN Security Council.

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Article: Warmonger Wins Peace Prize

by Paul Craig Roberts, published in Counterpunch

It took 25 years longer than George Orwell thought for the slogans of 1984 to become reality.

“War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength.”

I would add, “Lie is Truth.”

The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to President Obama, the person who started a new war in Pakistan, upped the war in Afghanistan, and continues to threaten Iran with attack unless Iran does what the US government demands and relinquishes its rights as a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty.

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Article: Seeking Solutions in Palestine

by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, published in the Michigan Daily

Since his address to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt, President Barack Obama has called on Israel to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, rightfully identifying the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements as one of the primary roadblocks to peace. But under the leadership of right-wing politician Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has rebuffed Obama’s request, claiming a “fundamental right” to expand existing settlements and, in some instances, grant new building permits to Jewish settlers.

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Article: Israeli official: No peace deal for many years news services

JERUSALEM - Israel's powerful foreign minister Thursday said he would tell a visiting U.S. Middle East envoy that there was no chance of reaching a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians for many years.

Peacemaking policy in Israel is decided by the prime minister's office, and not the foreign ministry. But Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman carries significant weight in Israeli decision-making, and his is a sentiment common among confidants of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Article: The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics

by David Theo Goldberg and Saree Makdisi

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most visible political issues on campuses around the nation. A rising level of concern about the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory (now in its fifth decade), as well as the precarious position of Israel's beleaguered Palestinian minority, have been countered by increasingly strident, even furious, attempts to silence or stifle criticism of Israeli policy on American college campuses.

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