ISRAEL, INQUIRIES AND VIEWS ON VIOLENCE
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 email@example.com
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