Is the Goldstone Report 'anti-Semitic'?

J'lem officials slam Edelstein for linking document with Holocaust Day.

January 26, 2010 02:46
3 minute read.

Edelstein. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Senior diplomatic officials took sharp issue on Monday with Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein for referring to the Goldstone Commission report as "anti-Semitic," and for saying a connection should be drawn between the document and International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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"The connection between the Goldstone Report and the international Holocaust memorial day is not an easy thing," Edelstein said in an interview with Ynet news before leaving for a United Nations meeting marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday.

"On the other hand, however, we must learn the lessons from what happened. Then, too, those who called out were told that Hitler is a clown and that all the gloomy predictions of the 1930s were nonsense.

"On the Holocaust memorial day of all days, which also marks the battle against global anti-Semitism, we must discuss this connection, because today the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces are accused of harvesting organs, murdering children and raping women."

According to Edelstein, "After World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel, anti-Semitism is not directed at Jews but at Israel and the Israelis. The Goldstone Report, the publications [in Sweden] about organ harvesting and similar reports, are simply a type of anti-Semitism."

Senior government officials, however, warned that drawing connections between the Goldstone Commission report and the Holocaust diminishes the Holocaust and provides Israel's enemies right-of-way to use Holocaust imagery to bash Israel.

"Not everything is connected," one official said. "If you make any comparison between Goldstone and the Holocaust, you will lose the argument; no one will want to hear anymore. You free the other side from having to deal with your legitimate arguments."

Furthermore, he said, it would be counterproductive in the long-term to use the Holocaust in a political argument because then legitimacy would be given to Israel's enemies to use Holocaust imagery against Israel, as when they say the IDF employs "Nazi tactics" against Gaza.

Another senior official said that it was one thing to say that efforts to delegitimize Israel were anti-Semitic, but quite another to draw analogies with the Holocaust.

It was not clear on Monday to what extent, if any, Israel's leaders - President Shimon Peres, who will be speaking at the Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who will speak at a ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, or Foreign Ministry Avigdor Lieberman, who will attend a ceremony in Budapest - would make reference to the Goldstone Report.

Nevertheless, one source in the Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu has been careful since the release of the report on September 15 not to call South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who is Jewish, an anti-Semite.

Likewise, the Foreign Ministry, whose various spokesmen have said over the past few months that the document could lead to a rise in anti-Semitism, have not hurled the anti-Semite epithet at Goldstone or his committee.

However, at Sunday's cabinet meeting Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky defined anti-Israel criticism as anti-Semitic, if it met what he called the "3-D" criteria: demonization, deligitimization and a double standard.

According to that criteria, one senior source in the Prime Minister's Office said, there were undoubtedly anti-Semitic elements in the Goldstone Report.

Edelstein was quoted by Ynet news as saying the report was anti-Semitic, and was expected to bring up the matter in talks on Monday in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Even though Edelstein holds the tile of "public diplomacy minister," Foreign Ministry officials made clear they have neither received, nor given, directives to begin referring to the Goldstone Report as anti-Semitic, or to draw any kind of parallels between it and acts that lead up to the Holocaust.

In a related matter, Netanyahu, in an apparent reference to Iran, said at a ceremony at Yad Vashem on Monday that there was "a new Jew hatred in our midst. "There are new calls for the extermination of the Jewish state," he said, adding that the international community was being tested now "as seldom before" since the end of the Holocaust.

"It is tested today whether it will stand up to the truth, to the evidence of evil, to the design of mass murder," the prime minister said. "This is a test of humanity. This is a test of mankind and we shall see in the coming weeks and months how the international community lives up to its responsibility to stop evil before it spreads further."

Netanyahu was at Yad Vashem for the opening of an exhibit that includes the original blueprints for the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, blueprints he received on visit to Germany last year.

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