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Firing Back

Eitan Haber Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
Eitan Haber Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
 
 

Israel must fight back

In wake of Goldstone Report, Israel must launch battle for its image

Eitan Haber
Published: 09.17.09, 19:20 / Israel Opinion

The immediate, almost instinctive, response to the Goldstone Report on the IDF’s war crimes is something along the lines of “go to hell,” or alternately, a polite invitation to kiss our rear-end.

 

Come on: We see a UN commission comprising half a dozen gentiles headed by a South African Jew charging IDF troops with a series of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. As if this was the first war ever and as if IDF troops are cruel thugs who pinned several Palestinian scalps on their belts every day – and the more the merrier.

 

Under different circumstances we would not hesitate to characterize this report as a document with anti-Semitic aims, and the fact that a Jew is one of its authors does not undermine the severity of this charge. The opposite may be true.

 

We did not need Goldstone and his colleagues to know that Operation Cast Lead included difficult incidents that are not befitting of the Israeli army. Mr. Goldstone did not need to bother himself to reprimand us for deviations from the rules of war. However, without knowing him personally, we assume that the man never experienced war in his life.

 

Well, war is not a game of bridge at the club. In many situations in life, actions have unintended consequences. In war, this means people die.

 

Matter of life or death

We already noted that the report is disgraceful, one-sided, and does not merit a decent response, and we already invited its authors to go to hell – but nonetheless, it would be a big mistake to ignore this report.

This report has been covered by thousands of newspapers, radio stations, and TV shows.

 

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have been exposed to it, and these people don’t read in detail (and in this case, the details are bad too.) Rather, they buy into the headlines. And in their view we are war criminals, scoundrels, and child killers. At this moment, this is the image of Israel being created worldwide– evil, wicked, cruel and murderous.

 

We should not underestimate this image. This is, first and foremost, the Foreign Ministry’s job: Finding and malady, if and when the foreign minister will finish his trips to Zambia, Gambia, and Mambia.

We can propose that the UN, its institutions, and the committee in question go ahead and “kiss our…,” and move on.

 

Why should we care about the report? But we should deeply care about it. Slowly, the terrible image will overcome us in the international arena. And then, not only senior IDF officers will be banned from entering London. We also won’t be able to travel anywhere. This will be something the Israeli public will not put up with.

 

It would be very easy to disparage and ignore the report. Yet it would be much wiser to successfully overcome this mess. The State of Israel would do well to immediately launch a global campaign on the diplomatic and public relations front. We need to enlist all the good minds in the State of Israel for this cause. As we used to say in the past: This is a matter of life or death.

 

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