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Commentary & Opinion

Herbert London: The Latest UN Report

It is axiomatic to suggest that if the UN issues a report it will be anti-Israel. Last week a report was issued drawing a false moral equivalence between a terror group – Hamas – and a democracy in which Arabs are represented in the Knesset - Israel.

This libel that any Israeli response to violence, any retaliation for unprovoked rocket attacks, is reprehensible belongs in the book of shame. Nevertheless, the U.N is shameless. The report blames Israel for war crimes despite a statement from military leaders from four continents that “Israel not only met a reasonable standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard” during last summer’s war.

It was clear from the outset that Hamas was the aggressor having launched thousands of rockets into Israel before there was any military response. But that is merely part of the story.

Hamas broke eleven separate cease fire agreements during the war. It used civilians as human shields, a tactic employed in previous Middle East conflicts. And it fired rockets from schools, mosques and hospitals knowing that any retaliation at these sites would lead to casualties and international condemnation.

Israel is the only nation on the globe routinely criticized for defending itself. It is instructive that the UN charter specifically mentions self defense as a necessity against aggression, but 57 Arab states, voting as a bloc, ignores the regulations in the body they personally sanction. Israel is by any measure, an outlier – a nation with a set of conditions unmet and unneeded by any other nation.

There will be other wars fought in the Middle East and like those in the past, reports will be written. The notorious Goldstone report from the prior war, was ultimately repudiated by Goldstone himself. But it doesn’t matter. Recollection is selective. Those seeking to destroy the state of Israel will employ military and propagandistic tactics.

It is not surprising that the pressure now exerted on Israel for a negotiated settlement with Palestinians is coming from France, German, Sweden, and other European nations. Rather than discuss terms directly with Israel, Hams and PLO leaders will engage in forums in Europe to demonize Israel amid unsavory diplomatic and student audiences.

The latest UN report is in the arsenal of contemporary rhetoric. It is a useful and handy service that will aid in the public debate, however wrongheaded it may be. On the streets of Paris are protestors arguing that Israel must be censored, isolated, condemned. This echo returns to the corridors of the UN General Assembly. And this is what Israel is obliged to redress.

Some would argue – and I am among them – that truth will set you free. Needless to say, there is truth amid the miasmic propaganda. The question is how to release it and who will listen. So many minds have been made up about the Palestinian question that truth is a casualty of continued lies and those lies become thought of as truth.

I have tried to debate detractors of Israel who are unwilling to hear evidence that challenges a mind set. This is not merely a closed mind; it is an environment intent on destruction of Israel. Hence any tactic is acceptable, any lie dismissed. Emotion rules.

The latest UN report that advertises itself as “even handed” is anything but fair. There is a moral gap between those that want to protect their people and those who intentionally put noncombatants in harms way. For those who need additional fuel for their flame of indignation this report delivers. For those who care about truth, this UN report is another in a long line of provocative and false allegations against the state of Israel.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

  The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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