Israel’s Uncivil War

Naomi Chazan
It all began with enough reports to fill the average Ph.D. candidate’s reading list for weeks.
In the months following the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, medical governments, more about civil society groups and human rights organizations issued dozens of reports, some of them well over 100 pages long, on the legality, operation and effects of the war.

Some of the reports accused Israel of war crimes, some accused Israeli soldiers of mistreating prisoners of war, some explored the damage caused to Gaza’s infrastructure during the war. Most, it’s fair to say, were in some way or another scathing indictments of the behavior of the Israeli army.

Israeli politicians began blaming one another for allowing such a public diplomacy train wreck to take place while others turned to the various Israeli organizations that helped Goldstone, accusing them of using human rights discourse to malign and weaken their own country.

The quarrel came to a head last week with the publication of an advertisement in Israel’s leading newspapers accusing Israeli organizations of being the principal suppliers of the critical testimonies contained in the Goldstone report.

“Without the New Israel Fund, there would be no Goldstone Report, and Israel would not be facing international accusations of war crimes,” read the advertisement, making reference to a an Israeli philanthropic organization that funds a number of Israeli rights and progressive social change organizations.

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