Even B’Tselem now criticizes Goldstone (& Saudi Arabia’s interfaith Nazi)

October 01, 2009

* Latest Saudi-sponsored interfaith conference “includes a neo-Nazi”
* Even Israeli far-left human rights group B’Tselem now criticizes Goldstone report
* Netanyahu: If tomorrow’s UN vote favors Goldstone report, Israel will no longer be able to take territorial risks for peace if its right to self-defense afterwards is denied
* Ford Foundation, European governments among those funding organization seeking Ehud Barak’s arrest
* Latest Microsoft product about to be released worldwide was developed in Israel, as were Apple products. (British academics and others who campaign for an anti-Israeli boycott had better stop using Microsoft and Apple computers)



1. Olmert outlines Palestinian rejection of his offer to create a Palestinian state
2. Latest Saudi-sponsored interfaith conference “includes a neo-Nazi”
3. Even Israeli human rights groups now criticize UN and Goldstone
4. Netanyahu: If UN vote favors Goldstone, it will be disastrous for the peace process
5. British lawyers seek arrest of visiting Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak
6. Ford Foundation, Euro governments among those funding organization seeking Barak’s arrest
7. “Israel won’t see point of taking extraordinary measures to protect civilians, as it did in past”
8. Israel to free Palestinian security prisoners in order to obtain video of Israeli hostage
9. Israel Prison Service’s list of female security prisoners to be released
10. Hamas website: “Breakthrough in prisoner exchange”
11. Israel supports Qatari plan for additional Gaza hospital
12. Israeli patents to be automatically accepted worldwide
13. Microsoft’s new free antivirus developed in Israel
14. Mubarak-controlled Egypt media group agrees on “total Israel boycott”
15. “B’Tselem: Goldstone report is wrong” (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 30, 2009)

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, in an interview on the BBC, again said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turned down his offer last year to create an independent Palestinian state.

Olmert offered Abbas 94 percent of the West Bank and another 6 percent of land inside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel to compensate for the 6 percent of the West Bank Israel would keep. He also proposed dividing Jerusalem so that the Jewish neighborhoods would remain part of Israel and the Palestinian ones would form the capital of a Palestinian state. The so-called “holy basin” – including the Temple Mount – would be under the joint administration of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinians, the United States and Israel.

Olmert’s successor as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made it clear that he is not committed to these positions.



Among those taking part in the latest Saudi-sponsored interfaith conference is William Baker, whom Wikipedia describes as a neo-Nazi.

Arab News writes: Delegates from 35 countries are taking part in the conference, which opened Wednesday. They include William Baker, president of Christians and Muslims for Peace in the U.S.; David Rosen, director of inter-religious affairs at the American Jewish Committee; Pramjeet Singh Sarna, president of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib; Kuniaki Kuni, president of the Association of Shinto Temples in Japan; and Xue Cheng, vice chairman of the Buddhist Association of China.

Wikipedia: William Baker ... was expelled from Robert H. Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral mission after exposure of his affiliations with extremist far-right racist, anti-Semitic and Neo-Nazi groups, including his chairmanship of the Neo-Nazi Populist Party.



Even B’Tselem, the far-left Israeli group cited regularly by The Guardian, The New York Times and others about how terrible Israel is, has voiced criticism of the UN’s Goldstone report.

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday:

The UN Human Rights Council and the Goldstone Report are either biased or mistaken in some of their fundamental accusations against Israel, according to B’Tselem human rights group director Jessica Montell. She said the council was wrong in its gravest accusations against Israel. These include the claim that Israel intentionally targeted the civilian population rather than Hamas, and the “weak, hesitant way that the report mentions Hamas’s strategy of using civilians [in combat].”


The full article from The Jerusalem Post (in which I am quoted) is at the end of this dispatch. For more background on the UN report, please see: “Goldstone’s crime against human rights”.


Following publication of her comments to The Jerusalem Post, B’Tselem director Jessica Montell has been attacked by non-Israeli human rights groups as having become “a vehement Zionist and apologist for war crimes”. As a result, she has sought to distance herself from the interview she had given the day before, by reverting to her customary attacks on Israel (though still distancing herself from Goldstone) in an op-ed in today’s Jerusalem Post.


Goldstone himself continues to make grotesque and totally untrue allegations against Israel in TV interviews. And in one such interview, with Christiane Amanpour on CNN earlier today, he even suggested to viewers that Hamas has a reliable court system.

This is the Hamas court system in action as described by The New York Times:

On Monday, Dr. Ashour was not the only official in charge. Armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roamed the hospital halls. Asked their function, they said it was to provide security. But there was internal bloodletting under way.

In the fourth-floor orthopedic section, a woman in her late 20s asked a militant to let her see Saleh Hajoj, her 32-year-old husband. She was turned away and left the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Hajoj was carried out by young men pretending to transfer him to another ward. As he lay on the stretcher, he was shot in the left side of the head.

Mr. Hajoj, like five others killed at the hospital this way in 24 hours, was accused of collaboration with Israel. He had been in the central prison awaiting trial by Hamas judges; when Israel destroyed the prison on Sunday he and the others were transferred to the hospital. But their trials were short-circuited.

(Tom Gross adds: Mr. Hajoj, and the five others murdered by Hamas in the Gaza hospital, together with many other Palestinians killed by Hamas, have had their names included in lists drawn up by “human rights” groups suggesting they were Palestinian civilians that Israel had killed. Not that Goldstone and the UN care about this.)



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks today:

“In the next 24 hours, a vote will take place in Geneva by the United Nations Human Rights Council. I remind you that in recent years, this council has made more decisions against Israel than against all other counties in the world combined.

Today, if it should decide to forward what is known as the Goldstone report, it will strike a severe blow to three things:

First of all, it will strike a severe blow to the war against terrorism since it will afford total legitimization to terrorists who fire upon civilians and who hide behind civilians.

Secondly, it will strike a mortal blow to the stature of the United Nations. It will return it to its darkest days, in which it could make the most absurd decisions, which would empty it of all substance and significance.

Thirdly, and perhaps the most immediate and obvious of all, forwarding the decision of what is known as the Goldstone report, would deal a fatal blow to the peace process. Because Israel will no longer be able to take additional steps and take risks for peace if its right to self-defense is denied.”



Following what was described as “massive American pressure,” the Palestinian delegation to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday night abruptly delayed its efforts to forward the Goldstone report to the Security Council. The Palestinians said they would withdraw their draft resolution on the Goldstone report prior to voting today at the UN Human Rights Council.

The position of the U.S. since the Goldstone report was released has been that the Human Rights Council alone should deal with it and it should not be referred to the UN Security Council or to the International Criminal Court. But in a compromise, the body is expected to pass a resolution today (Friday, October 2) presented by the bloc of Arab and Muslim states that any action will be delayed until their next meeting in March.

“There was a tremendous amount of pressure on all members by the Americans,” said an Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to The New York Times. “The Americans wanted something to finish it; the compromise is to defer it, which means it is still alive.”

With the matter still hanging over Israel until March, it will be difficult for Israel to continue with full confidence in the peace process for the reasons outlined by Benjamin Netanyahu in the item above.


The latest person to criticize the Goldstone report is retired Australian Major General Jim Molan who was chief of operations of the multinational force in Iraq, in this article in today’s Australian.



(This item was first published on National Review Online earlier this week.)

British lawyers seek arrest of visiting Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak
By Tom Gross
National Review Online
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Now that the Bush administration isn’t there to actively lobby for Israel, the situation for the Jewish state at the hands of the assorted Israel bashers and anti-Semites of the world is growing more and more grave.

Currently, the top-of-the-page headline on the home page of the influential left-wing British newspaper The Guardian is “Lawyers seek arrest of Israeli defence minister in UK for alleged war crimes”.

Ehud Barak, who is the leader of Israel’s Labor Party, is due to speak at a meeting at the British Labour party conference in the Southern English town of Brighton today. Barak is also scheduled to meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and David Miliband, the foreign secretary, for talks on the Middle East and Iran.

The Guardian notes that “The accusations against Barak are based, in part, on a United Nations investigation conducted by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone. It concluded earlier this month that Israel had committed war crimes.”

And indeed the UN is meeting in Geneva today to discuss Goldstone’s report. Reuters reports from the hearings in Geneva that: “The United States called on its close ally Israel on Tuesday to conduct credible investigations into allegations of war crimes committed by its forces in Gaza, saying it would help the Middle East peace process.”

Is the Obama administration saying that Israel’s very thorough investigations up until now have not been credible? Previous American presidents would not have played the UN’s “Lets beat up on Israel” game, but would have walked out (which is what countries like Canada and Australia have done).

I had been hoping we might be seeing a wiser Obama foreign policy after the president’s fairly tough press conference on Iran last week. But it seems not.


(This item was first published on National Review Online earlier this week.)


Ford Foundation, European governments among those funding organization seeking to arrest Israeli Defense minister
By Tom Gross
National Review Online
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Following up my earlier item, Westminster Magistrates court in central London on Tuesday evening rejected a petition to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the grounds that he committed “war crimes” by defending Israel from Hamas attack. The British government intervened on Barak’s behalf, submitting legal briefs to the court, and thus avoiding what would have been the most serious clash between Britain and Israel since 1948.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Al Mezan is the organization behind the British arrest efforts. Al Mezan had instructed expensive London law firms to carry them out.

As noted by NGO Monitor, Al Mezan is funded by Sweden (1.1 million SEK), Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Ford Foundation, the International Commission of Jurists, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Netherlands Representative Office, the International Human Rights Funders Group/co Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Open Society Institute, Medico International and the European Commission, among others.

It seems that these NGOs and European governments are responsible for this latest attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel and to aid those who would seek to destroy it.



Political commentator Yossi Klein Halevi, a subscriber to this email list, adds:

If a large part of the international community endorses the Goldstone report’s conclusions and opts to put Israel on trial – symbolically or literally – the clear message to Israel will be the rescinding of its right to self-defense against Hizbullah and Hamas, both of which are embedded in civilian populations. That will require a basic rethinking of Israel’s current strategic policy of containing the terrorist enclaves on its northern and southern borders.

In the decades following the Six Day War, Israeli policy, upheld by successive Labor and Likud governments, was to deny terrorists a foothold along any Israeli border. That was, in part, the rationale behind Moshe Dayan’s open bridges policy between Israel and Jordan in the 1970s, as well as Ariel Sharon’s West Bank settlement drive and the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. When that war soured, so did the appeal of the policy that inspired it.

Israel’s two unilateral withdrawals – from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005 – both resulted in the creation of terror enclaves on its borders, negating long-standing strategy. The policy of prevention was replaced by a policy of containment.

… The Goldstone report may well mark the end of Israel’s limited wars against terrorist groups. Israel cannot afford to continue to be drawn into mini-wars against terrorists hiding behind their own civilians to attack Israeli civilians, given that each such conflict inexorably draws the Jewish state one step closer toward pariah status. Limited victories on the battlefield are being turned into major defeats in the arena of world opinion.

That untenable situation may well leave Israel no choice but to return to the post-1967 policy of preventing altogether the presence of terror enclaves on its borders. Better, Israelis will argue, to deal decisively with the terror threat and brace for temporary international outrage than subject our legitimacy to constant attrition, even as the terrorist threat remains intact.

Israelis will be keenly watching the pace of Qassam rocket fire from Gaza for signs of an emboldened Hamas. If attacks do intensify – as they have in recent days – and the quiet achieved by the Gaza offensive is forfeited, the Israeli public will blame the Goldstone report. And Israelis’ operative conclusions will likely lead to a less restrained response next time – the opposite result Judge Richard Goldstone sought to achieve in his attempt to deny Israel the right to self-defense.



Israel is to release 20 Palestinian women imprisoned for security and terrorism offenses, in exchange for a two-minute videotape of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit proving that he is alive.

Shalit, then a teenager, was seized while he slept in a cross-border raid into Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian groups in 2006, and then taken into Gaza.

Israeli and Palestinian officials said the exchange was expected to take place tomorrow, although one of the women has already been released today.

“Israel will receive updated and unequivocal proof of Gilad Shalit’s well-being and status,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, but the negotiations for his release were “still expected to be long and arduous.”

Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, said the prisoners included four from Hamas, five from Fatah, three from Islamic Jihad, and one from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He said the others were not affiliated with any group. Only one of the women is from Gaza; the rest are from the West Bank.

All are prisoners held on security or terrorist-related offenses, but none have been convicted of murder.

Shalit, now 23, was last seen being dragged alive into Gaza in 2006. A year later, Hamas released an audiotape of him believed to be authentic; his family has also received two letters written in what family members said was his handwriting. A videotape would be the first sign of life in over a year.

German intelligence officials are believed to have negotiated the deal. German experts also played a role in the exchange of Lebanese and Palestinian terrorists for the bodies of the two Israeli soldiers killed by Hizbullah in the attack which triggered the 2006 Lebanon war.

Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, has repeatedly but vainly called for the Red Cross to be allowed access to his son.

Among past dispatches on this subject, please see: While Hamas terrorists celebrate their 100th Israeli university degree, how many degrees does Gilad Shalit have?



The Israel Prison Service has provided the following list of those to be released here.

Attached below are the date each was originally schedule for release (where known) and the crimes for which they were sentenced.

In my view there is something very unsettling, to say the least, about the early release of convicted terrorists, who might again turn to violence, in return for a video of a hostage.

18.11.09 Attempt to cause death
09.06.11 Attempt to cause death, conspiracy to carry out a crime
13.11.09 Member in and provision of help to illegal group
04.03.11 Attempt to cause death
15.12.09 Violence towards soldier, possession of knife for improper purpose
Detained Attempt to cause death, possession of knife for improper purpose
24.05.10 Attempt to cause death, possession of knife for improper purpose
01.11.09 Attempt to cause death, attack police fulfilling his duty
31.10.10 Attempt to cause death
Detained Attempt to cause death, illegal military training, possession of weapons
04.01.10 Attempt to cause death
02.07.10 Violence towards soldiers
08.09.10 Attempt to cause death, weapons carrying
04.04.10 Attempt to cause death
05.08.10 Attempt to cause death, possession of knife for improper purpose
19.11.10 Attempt to cause death, conspiracy, member in legal group
12.05.11 Attempt to cause death
07.05.10 Member in and holding a position in illegal group
Detained Violence towards soldiers, possession of knife for improper purpose
Detained Member in and holding a position in illegal group, violations against the public order



The following is from the official Hamas website:

30-09-2009, 11:38

Al Qassam Website - Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, confirmed that in the framework of the Egyptian & the German efforts to release the Palestinian prisoners from all the Palestinian factions, an agreement was done to release 20 Palestinian female prisoners from the Zionist jails in the next few days in exchange to clarify the status of Shalit.

The Brigades indicated at a press conference for Abu Obeida, the spokesman of Al Qassam Brigades, on Wednesday in the courtyard of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City that the prisoners will be as the following:

Four prisoners from Hamas
Five prisoners from Fatah
Three prisoners from the Islamic Jihad
One prisoner of the Popular Front

According to the geographical distribution, they are:
Three prisoners from Hebron
Eight prisoners from Nablus
Four prisoners from Ramallah
Three prisoners from Bethlehem
A captive from Jenin
Seven independent prisoners
A captive and her child from the Gaza Strip

Abu Obaida said “The Palestinian factions which completed this step is confirming the steadfastness of its position and its commitment to make its best effort to complete the deal to release our prisoners from the Zionist jails.”

“Al Qassam Brigades and other Palestinian factions captured the Zionist soldier Gilad Shalit almost three years ago in an operation as a response to the Zionist aggression on the Palestinian civilians in Gaza strip and the West Bank.”



Israel has approved a French request to allow Qatar to build a new hospital in the Gaza Strip, government officials said yesterday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the request when he met with Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly last week in New York. The two leaders spoke again by phone on Tuesday, and Netanyahu said he would instruct the IDF to approve the construction, which would entail allowing concrete and other building materials into the Strip, something Israel has been hesitant to do, fearing the material would be used to make weapons, as has been the case in the past.



The World Intellectual Property Organization, a UN-sponsored organization ensuring order in the intellectual property sphere, has named Israel as one of only 15 countries issuing patents that are automatically recognized and accepted by all countries around the world. Israeli officials said the decision was recognition of “Israel’s technological prowess and capabilities in innovation and invention.”



The latest Microsoft product set to sweep the world was (like so much technology connected with the internet, mobile phones, and computers in the last two decades), developed in Israel.

The development of “Microsoft Security Essentials” began in the Israeli coastal town of Herzliya Pituach. The software will be free to download for registered Microsoft customers.

However, British academics, Egyptian journalists, and others boycotting Israel had better not use it. They should also stop using their Apple iphones and iPods since part of the technology behind those was also developed in Israel.



The board of directors of the powerful Egyptian media group Al-Ahram have decided to boycott Israel and “all Israelis”, Arab media report.

The Al-Ahram group is the most powerful media body in Egypt. Al-Ahram, whose head is appointed directly by Egyptian President Mubarak, publishes newspapers considered to be the official mouthpiece of the Egyptian regime.

The boycott includes a ban on meeting with and interviewing Israelis, and a ban on participation in seminars, conferences and lectures in which Israelis are taking part.

It was also announced that disciplinary action would be taken against Dr. Hala Moustafa, the editor of Al-Ahram’s Democracy magazine, after her recent meeting with Israeli ambassador Shalom Cohen. An investigation against her will begin on Tuesday. Moustafa said that she will defend her stance and argue that Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty and as such, a meeting with Israel’s ambassador is not a violation of Egyptian law.

Commentators said the move by Al-Ahram was linked to the failure of Egyptian culture minister Farouk Hosny to be elected head of UNESCO last week. Bulgarian diplomat Irina Bokova was elected UNESCO chair by a narrow margin.

Following his defeat, Hosny blamed “the world’s Jews” for his failure to win. In spite of his “blaming the Jews” argument, many Jews had publically voiced support for Hosny to become head of what is supposed to be the world’s top cultural post. For example, the anti-Israeli Roger Cohen, former foreign editor of The New York Times and now a New York Times columnist, had written last month that Hosny should be appointed, even though Hosny had said he would personally burn any Israeli book he found in Egypt’s famed Library of Alexandria. After his failure to win the post, Hosny said “I swear I will settle accounts with the Jews.” The Al-Ahram move appears to be part of this revenge against his imagined enemy.

As I mentioned in a previous dispatch, Hosny also admitted recently that when he was the Egyptian cultural attaché in Rome, he helped to organize the escape from Italy in 1985 of the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. In that hijacking, a retired American Jewish tourist in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and pushed into the sea where he drowned.

[All notes above by Tom Gross]



B’Tselem: Goldstone report is wrong
By Haviv Rettig Gur
Jerusalem Post
September 30, 2009

The UN Human Rights Council and its recent Goldstone Report are either biased or mistaken respectively in some of their fundamental accusations against Israel, according to the director of one of Israel’s main rights groups.

Even so, “Israel has only itself to blame” for its failure to investigate the accusations of abuses during January’s Operation Cast Lead that led to the report, according to B’Tselem executive director Jessica Montell.

“There’s no question that the HRC, which mandated the Goldstone [fact-finding mission into the Gaza fighting], has an inappropriate, disproportionate fixation with Israel,” she said, adding that the Council was “a political body made up of diplomats, not human rights experts, which means that the powerful states are never going to come under scrutiny the way the powerless will. So China, Russia and the US will never have commission of inquiry, regardless of how their crimes rank relative to Israeli crimes.”

Furthermore, the Goldstone Report itself, which was presented in its final version to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, is “disagreeable” and mistaken in some of its gravest accusations against Israel, she believes. These include the claim that Israel intentionally targeted the civilian population rather than Hamas, and the “weak, hesitant way that the report mentions Hamas’s strategy of using civilians [in combat].”

But, she added, Israel could have avoided such a report had it conducted “a thorough investigation” of Cast Lead itself, something which B’Tselem continues to urge on Israel’s leaders.

The report, she says, bears “the message of the new international legal system: Justice has to be done at home, or else. Israel has only itself to blame that it took the Human Rights Council to tell [Israel] what it should have done eight months ago.”

“Before 2000, you had a Military Police investigation every time a Palestinian was killed,” Montell related. “You could argue that the Palestinian’s word may not have carried the same weight as the soldier’s, but the fact that there was an investigation placed limits on [behavior] at roadblocks, etc.”

With the outbreak of the Second Intifada, however, IDF and government lawyers “said the situation is now an armed conflict, and you don’t have to open [so many] criminal investigations in an armed conflict. They’ll [still] open an investigation on theft complaints or beatings at a checkpoint – things that have no operational connection. But when it comes to gunfire, there are no automatic investigations.”

This is a mistake, Montell believes, since “the laws of war are laws. We are asking the IDF to investigate Cast Lead according to the laws of war.”

Montell’s call for an Israeli investigation is aimed at an Israeli audience, but reflects deep unease both in Israel and abroad over the report’s conclusions.

Even the international magazine The Economist, which has stridently criticized Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza in the past, said the report’s conclusions were unfairly critical of Israel.

“The report takes the very thing it is investigating as its central organising premise,” the magazine opined just days after the mid-September publication of the report. “Israeli policy in Gaza, it argues, was deliberately and systematically to inflict suffering on civilians, rather than Hamas fighters. Israel’s assertions that, in the difficult circumstances of densely populated Gaza, it planned its military operations carefully and with constant legal advice are taken by the report as evidence not of a concern to uphold international law but of a culpable determination to flout it.”

Meanwhile, political commentators such as Tom Gross have blasted the Human Rights Council itself in the wake of the Goldstone report, saying the Council shows little concern for human rights abuses “unless they can blame them on Israel.”

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the least bloody of the dozens of conflicts ongoing around the world. More Palestinian civilians have been killed by Fatah, Hamas, and the Lebanese army in recent years than by Israel. Not that the UN Human Rights Council cares about casualties unless they can blame them on Israel. The Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all the other 191 UN member states combined. In three years, it has issued 25 resolutions against individual states: 20 of them targeted Israel,” he told The Jerusalem Post this week.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.