Should Israel Be Worried About the Goldstone Report?

Commentators wonder whether the U.N. war crimes report is a sign that Israel may be losing its special status

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Friday morning, the U.N. Human Rights Council voted to endorse the so-called Goldstone report, the U.N. report finding evidence of Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The report will now be sent to the Security Council. Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren loudly objected to this report earlier, accusing the international community and the U.N. in particular of siding with Holocaust-deniers. At the time, he was ridiculed. But now, with the Goldstone report gaining traction amid other Israeli foreign policy losses, commentators are beginning to wonder: Is big change ahead for Israel?

  • Beset on All Sides "What has happened?" Asks Yoel Marcus in Haaretz regarding the Goldstone Report and what he perceives as other foreign policy snubs. "Is the whole world really against us once again?" Marcus certainly seems to think so, and he knows the culprit: "In my opinion, only one thing has changed. It is the emergence of the 'Obama effect.'"
  • Time for Israel to Face Reality, argues the New York Times' Roger Cohen. Currently, "Israel does not see itself as normal. Rather it lives in a perpetual state of exceptionalism." But it's time to cut the talk of "civilization" vs. "barbarism," good vs. evil, argues Cohen. "There's another way of looking at the ongoing struggle in the Middle East--less dramatic and more accurate. That is to see it as a fight for a different balance of power." Cohen points out that accepting this reality can be "painful, as with Justice Richard Goldstone's recent U.N. report." But "[t]he Israeli response to his findings strikes me," he says, "as an example of the blinding effect of exceptionalism unbound. Ordinary nations have failings."
  • Israel Lacks Legitimacy--But That's Its Own Fault Ari Shavit offers an alternative Haaretz view. Looking at the Goldstone report, indifference over nuclearization, and other trends, he comes to the following conclusion: "The Jewish people's right to sovereignty and self-defense is now controversial. Paradoxically, as Israel gets stronger, its legitimacy is melting away." He blames Israeli domestic politics: "The right sinned by contaminating Zionism with the occupation, and the left sinned by abandoning the campaign over Zionism's justice." So now it's time, he argues, for a "daring diplomatic initiative that would prove that Israel is truly and genuinely striving to end the occupation."
  • Use Goldstone to Force Israeli Capitulation Foreign Policy's Marc Lynch has "found the level and heat of rhetoric surrounding the [Goldstone] report to be bafflingly over the top." But he thinks there might be a way to use the UN vote on it to force a peace settlement: "given how much importance the Israeli government has given to the Goldstone Report, [a U.S. Security Council] veto might actually be used as a form of leverage."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.