September 30, 2009

B'Tselem the zionist "human rights" group

I've been happy enough to run with B'Tselem's criticisms of Israel in the past but I have had doubts about them. It was never anything I could actually put my finger on so I suppose I should be grateful for the fact that B'Tselem's group director, Jessica Montell, has decided to run with the zionist pack over the Goldstone report on Israel's bout of war crimes against the civilian population of Gaza at the end of last year and the beginning of this one.

Here's the Jerusalem Post:
The UN Human Rights Council and its recent Goldstone Report are either biased or mistaken respectively in some of their fundamental accusations against Israel, according to the director of one of Israel's main rights groups.

Even so, "Israel has only itself to blame" for its failure to investigate the accusations of abuses during January's Operation Cast Lead that led to the report, according to B'Tselem executive director Jessica Montell.

"There's no question that the HRC, which mandated the Goldstone [fact-finding mission into the Gaza fighting], has an inappropriate, disproportionate fixation with Israel," she said, adding that the Council was "a political body made up of diplomats, not human rights experts, which means that the powerful states are never going to come under scrutiny the way the powerless will. So China, Russia and the US will never have commission of inquiry, regardless of how their crimes rank relative to Israeli crimes."

Furthermore, the Goldstone Report itself, which was presented in its final version to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, is "disagreeable" and mistaken in some of its gravest accusations against Israel, she believes. These include the claim that Israel intentionally targeted the civilian population rather than Hamas, and the "weak, hesitant way that the report mentions Hamas's strategy of using civilians [in combat]."

And that is the leading human rights group in Israel. Well I should say that it styles itself the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Is comment necessary here? Oh alright then, here goes:

First up, how can she say that the report is wrong to say that Israel targeted civilians? This was well known during the operation and many Israeli soldiers blew the whistle on it.

Second, she says that Hamas should have been criticised. Why should any Palestinian group be criticised by a body that is supposed to regulate the behaviour of states? Israel has done all in its power to thwart Palestinian aspirations to statehood or participation in statehood. How can an Israeli "human rights" activist demand of a UN body that it treat Hamas like a state. That is without getting into the fact that the Goldstone report did criticise Hamas.

Finally, the idea that the HRC has a disproportionate fixation with Israel is at best irrelevant. If Israel is breaching human rights, and its very existence is predicated on the on-going breach of the human rights of the Palestinians, then that should stand alone. If B'Tselem is concerned about Israeli human rights abuses then it shouldn't be calling for the HRC to look elsewhere instead of Israel.

B'Tselem could have called for international human rights groups to take a look at other states as well as Israel but since they have a serious lack of credibility, what would be the point?

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