September 21: Goldstone and Derfner: Motives and attitudes

September 21 Goldstone

Sir, - Re Larry Derfner's "A wake-up call from Judge Goldstone" (September 17) which praised and justified the Goldstone report: The fact that the thousands of missiles fired by the Palestinians - some of which fell in empty kindergartens and synagogues - did not kill as many Israelis as the Palestinians had hoped is due to incredible luck or, if one is religious, divine intervention. What motive does Goldstone have to lie? Derfner asked. Nobody is suggesting that the respected jurist lied, but the fact is that his report, based on unproven allegations by Palestinians, was tainted even before he started his investigation because it was commissioned by countries which expected Israel to be condemned, and because some members of his committee came with their minds already made up. DAVID MANDEL Savyon Sir, - Larry Derfner asks: What motive does Goldstone have to... do a hatchet job on this nation? I've been asking myself the same question about Derfner for years. What would prompt Jimmy Carter to accuse us of apartheid and print a book full of inaccuracies? The discredited UN Human Rights Council and its predecessor to single out Israel for condemnation while real crimes go unmentioned? A French reporter to manufacture a film about Muhammad al-Dura being shot by Israelis? A Swedish newspaper to suggest Israelis are body-snatchers? Human Rights Watch to hire people who think Nazi uniforms are cool? Churches to boycott Israel while "breaking bread" with genocide-threatening Iranians? Goldstone and Derfner have an agenda they regard as supreme: to get Israel out the of so-called occupied territories at all costs. Simply, the end justifies the means. GABE HARPAZ Jerusalem Sir, - Protecting one's citizens from years of indiscriminate, murderous attacks is not a war crime. Nor is surgically removing the terrorists from the densely populated centers from where they perpetrate their dastardly deeds. It is obvious to the majority of thinking Israelis that Judge Goldstone has allowed himself to be used by the forces of evil to condemn Israel for daring to stand up for its right to live and protect itself. Unfortunately, if we want to remain in the UN we must take the Goldstone report, unbalanced as it is, seriously and answer each point in the indictment in a manner that will make it clear that, again, the UN has aligned itself with the wrong side. Now that Israel has protected its citizens from the scourge of Hamas, it must protect its leaders from the scourge of the UN. PAUL BERMAN Shoham Sir, - Richard Goldstone, shame on you. Did you not choke over that report? You should have rejected the job, knowing very well that everything had been decided before any discussion began. A.R. KATZ Kfar Saba Sir, - The clear message of Larry Derfner's column seemed to be: If the thousands and thousands of bullets and rockets from Gaza had been more successful and had killed, maimed, terrorized and displaced more people, it would have been OK for us to shoot back - but only if we were careful to keep a tally to ensure we didn't go over the quota. Didn't eight years of shooting and firing of rockets tell us that Hamas was at war with us? In a war, the rules are that if someone shoots at you, you shoot back and - most important - prevent him from being able to shoot again. Rockets and bullets fired from civilian residential areas, raining down on Sderot with impunity for so long, had to be stopped. Had Israel not made heroic efforts to warn Palestinian residents, by phone and via flyers, about attacks on specific locations, many more would have been killed on account of the enemy's technique of embedding its weaponry in congested locations. As for Derfner's observations on Richard Goldstone, your Letters column of September 17 dealt with that beautifully. MARCELLA WACHTEL Jerusalem Goldstoned? Sir, - The fact that countries with such poor human rights records as Syria and Somalia commissioned a scathing report on Israel's conduct is not the only absurd contradiction in the Goldstone report controversy ("Goldstoned," Editorial, September 17). You attack the report because "the concoction" is "based heavily on unverifiable claims from avowedly non-objective sources, some of them long-since discredited," which is also the Israeli official position. But then you write: "The IDF judge-advocate general has initiated 24 (ongoing) investigations into some 100 allegations by assorted NGOs." The IDF it seems, is taking these allegations by "avowedly non-objective" sources more seriously than your newspaper or our diplomats are! Our army, and thinking Israelis like myself with sons in the military, can tell the difference between preposterous Swedish "organ-harvesting" claims and allegations that could be true. Let us not dismiss out of hand these grave accusations as "lies." Ghastly things can happen in battle. Israelis know this, and should recognize that not all that is understandable is justified, and violations of our moral principles should be investigated. MICHAEL (MICHI) LEVY Tel Aviv Sir, - Your editorial went overboard in defending the Netanyahu line in the Goldstone affair. Larry Derfner, on the other hand, went too far in the other direction. Simply put, Bibi's decision to completely ignore Judge Goldstone and his committee was like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. It's not very smart. Why not talk to Goldstone, as he requested, before the investigation even began? It couldn't have hurt, and it might have avoided some of the problems which now exist. Now Bibi is appealing to other nations to take our side. Why should they? They have a perfect right - seeing we refused to even talk to Goldstone beforehand - to assume that we had something to hide, even though it's probably not true. So where does that leave us? Will our generals and diplomats have to be wary whenever they go abroad? It's a pretty sad situation we find ourselves in now; damned if we do, damned if we don't. Oh, Bibi, why couldn't you have thought ahead a little? That would have been more clever. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Reverse drive Sir, - On the same day the UN Goldstone report was issued, Ehud Waldoks reported that Better Place had signed an agreement with Renault to import the all-electric Fluence Zero Emission car into Israel by 2011 ("Renault EV to roll into Israel 2011," September 16). In fact, Israel and Denmark will be the first countries in the world prepared to mass-market these electric cars. Charging stations and switching stations will all be in place by the time they hit Israel's roads. Better Place CEO Shai Agassi has pointed out that we are returning to the electric car for the first time in 100 years and predicted that half of all cars would be electric by 2020. The turning point is expected by 2015. This means that demand for oil and gasoline will start to decrease and become less relevant in our lives. At that time, Goldstone and friends will become irrelevant as well. MATTIAS ROTENBERG Petah Tikva Wake-up call Sir, - During these High Holydays, I would like to suggest that the Goldstone finding is like a wake-up call to remind us that we are the chosen people. However, God chose us out of love, while the world has chosen us out of hate. We can't ignore the hate, but we can continue to improve ourselves as Jews and Israelis and as a worthy democratic nation. DAVID NEMTZOV Netanya