The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

Ger­ald Stein­berg, pres­i­dent of NGO Mon­i­tor, dis­misses Judge Richard Gold­stone’s UN Re­port on Gaza as “based on fic­ti­tious Pales­tinian and NGO tes­ti­mony” ( JC, Septem­ber 25). Since NGO Mon­i­tor’s own fun­der, the Jerusalem Cen­tre for Pub­lic Af­fairs, is listed among those tes­ti­fy­ing (Gold­stone Re­port p 574) is there any rea­son why we should we treat Stein­berg’s ver­dict as more re­li­able than Gold­stone’s?

Should we not also ex­pect a more bal­anced ed­i­to­rial anal­y­sis from the JC than the three ar­ti­cles all equally dis­mis­sive of the re­port?

Set­ting up an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion of in­quiry, such as the then Is­raeli gov­ern­ment did in 1982 fol­low­ing Sabra and Shatilla, and the UK gov­ern­ment has done fol­low­ing the Iraq war, would im­prove Is­rael’s stand­ing im­mea­sur­ably, and val­i­date its oft-re­peated claim to be a strong and open democ­racy. Mark Gold­berg

It is with some in­ter­est that we noted the news item ( JC, Septem­ber 25) on the Board of Deputies’ joint sub­mis­sion to the Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment in­quiry into Pre- vent, in which it asks that “any fu­ture en­gage­ment with um­brella groups such as the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Bri­tain must be con­tin­gent on them… firmly re­ject­ing vi­o­lence in all cir­cum­stances, in­clud­ing in over­seas con­flicts”.

The de­mand for en­gage­ment to be made con­tin­gent on “re­ject­ing vi­o­lence in all cir­cum­stances, in­clud­ing in over­seas con­flicts” is a sur­pris­ing one given the Board’s own vo­cal sup­port for Is­rael as demon­strated by the rally it sup­ported in Trafal­gar Square dur­ing Is­rael’s crim­i­nal bom­bard­ment of the Gaza Strip in De­cem­ber 2008–Jan­uary 2009. You will no doubt be aware that there are very cred­i­ble re­ports from the UN, the Is­raeli cam­paign group Break­ing the Si­lence and Amnesty In­ter­na­tional that Is­rael com­mit­ted war crimes in Gaza dur­ing that time.

Should the gov­ern­ment be asked to boy­cott the Board of Deputies we won­der? It would seem, from the Board’s own ac­tions, that “re­ject­ing vi­o­lence in all cir­cum­stances” is not a po­si­tion adopted by any but the most com­mit­ted of paci­fists. Inayat Bunglawala EN­GAGE Po Box 2278 Il­ford, Es­sex

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