Compelling perspective on the Goldstone report--and the foolishness of "hawks"
As most who follow the Arab-Israeli Hundred Years War know, the Goldstone report was a UN Commission report on the conduct of Hamas and the Israeli government concerning the area known as the Gaza Strip. Goldstone is a South African jurist who is also...Jewish...and was known as a man who strongly supports the state of Israel.
In Haaretz, Bradley Burston, who is one of the more conservative writers at that august newspaper, has read the report and concluded it had..."a marked degree of fairness." In his article, Burston provides an extended metaphor about the Golem story from the 16th Century and torwards the end, tells me something I simply did not know before:
Israel's decision not to cooperate with the Goldstone Mission, and, in many respects, to actively hamper its work, was calamitous. In revealing correspondence pointedly reproduced in the report, Justice Goldstone all but gets down on hands and knees to beg Israel to allow it to balance the report with on-site visits to rocket-torn Sderot, extensive direct testimony from victims of Qassam attacks, and first-person accounts and explanations of soldiers accused of violations of international law. Israel says no. Benjamin Netanyahu won't even go so far as to answer Goldstone's letter.
Now the report is out, alive and ticking, and Israel - in its desperation to deflect the monster, no matter the consequences - has already managed to hand it as a stick to Hamas, to beat and perhaps eventually defeat Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian Authority.
It is striking how often we see this scenario of right wing yahoo leaders whose belligerence ends up hurting the very nation they claim they love. Think of the Bush-Cheney administration and its removing troops from Afghanistan to destabilize Iraq just for starters. And if you think Reagan undermined the Soviet Union with harsh rhetoric and hawkish policies, think again.
What we should really be asking ourselves is whether "hawks" are simply people who love war and violence--as opposed to giving them the prefix "pro-" as in "pro-American" or "pro-Israel." They are too often incompetent in reading international opinion, incapable of swaying international opinion, and utterly reckless in their execution of policies. Netanyahu, who I initially hoped (a weak hope, I will say) was interested in a "Nixon goes to China" scenario upon becoming prime minister, is revealing himself to be better known as "Nutty-yahoo."
The other aspect of Burston's article I found interesting is that Burston recognizes how Hamas and other Islamic fundamentalists became so powerful among their Palestinian constituencies in Gaza: Through Israeli covert funding that was designed to undermine the secular, "Marxist" Arafat and his allies. Burston states:
The direct outcome of success (he said this sarcastically in the context of his article--MF Blog ed.) in grooming Islamic fundamentalist charities and prayer groups to counter ostensibly Marxist Palestinian armed groups in Gaza in the 70s and 80s, was the creation in 1987 of the Islamic Resistance Movement - for short, Hamas.
For those who don't know, Israeli intelligence played a significant role in promoting Islamic fundamentalist groups in the 1970s and 1980s as a counterweight, they thought, to Arafat and Fatah, which was of course secular oriented. You know, kind of like the way Carter, Reagan and Bush the Elder funded the folks who gave us Al Queda.
These days, whenever I hear the word "hawk" to describe some political figure or opinion writer or speaker, I think of someone who is reckless, naive and ultimately a tool of the very enemy the person claims our nation needs to oppose. That is a more accurate way of describing such people.