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Marmur's murmurs

November 24, 2016 22:54

I got this from the Progressive and sensible Zionist organisation, ProZion

Deficient in statesmanship - made more obvious each day by Israel's foreign minister whom the prime minister seems unable, or unwilling, to tame - the Government of Israel has clearly erred by not cooperating with Judge Richard Goldstone when he was compiling his now notorious report. One of the authors of the code of ethics of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Moshe Halbertal, said so in an oft-quoted penetrating essay.

Now the principal author of that code, Professor Assa Kasher, is saying something similar, I think, in a paper published by the Institute of Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem. Though he staunchly and properly defends the overall conduct of the IDF, he also asks, “Were some soldiers trigger-happy in Gaza?” And answers: “Perhaps.” Without explicitly calling for a public enquiry, Kasher adds: “When claims are made with respect to IDF conduct during the Gaza operation, no matter by whom, the IDF should investigate them, even if they appear to be fabricated.”

If you're so inclined, you can read into the above that the IDF has done precisely that. But you can also conclude that, if it has done so, Goldstone should or would have been told about it when he was compiling his brief. It might have prevented the charge that what has now been submitted by Israel to the United Nations is too little too late.

I surmise that government supporters are embarrassed and want to divert attention by finding scapegoats “on the left.” Perhaps that's why an obscure group, described as Zionist and rumored to have been financed by American evangelicals (!), has turned on the New Israel Fund (NIF) and its president Naomi Chazan because the NIF supports agencies that may have cooperated with Goldstone and/or now favors his findings.

The intention may have been that, as the NIF is on the margin of pro-Israel philanthropy in the Diaspora, Jews would turn against it to “explain” why Goldstone went wrong, whitewash government ineptitude, and celebrate why they don't support the NIF. In some instances it may have worked; e.g., Chazan's visit to Australia has been cancelled. In general, however, it has been the other way around: the NIF has gained new, almost unprecedented, far and wide recognition and encouragement.

Not only have many and diverse Jewish organizations in the Diaspora - including the American Reform movement - issued strongly worded statements in favour of NIF, but Israeli papers carry full-page ads signed by many of the country's writers, artists, actors, academics, some business people, and the chair of the Israeli Reform rabbis condemning the vilification of Chazan and praising the NIF. The attacks have been vicious. One cartoon, for example, in a lame attempt to exploit the double meaning of keren, both “fund” and “horn” in Hebrew, depicts her in a way reminiscent of Der Sturmer. But they've misfired. A lot of people have come to pledge renewed support for the NIF, which should probably now be grateful to the group that attacked it, and perhaps even make a contribution to its budget.

There're reasons to be upset about the forces of darkness that appear at the slightest provocation in Jewish life in general and Israeli society in particular. But there's no reason for despair, because there're many good people around. They've been alerted to the new and compelling arguments for doing more for - and with - all groups that reflect the noblest values of Judaism, many of which the NIF encourages and supports.

November 24, 2016 22:54

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