Stay calm, and ar­gue

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

right, but we also have to con­vince oth­ers that we are right, and that is eas­ier said than done. The first step is to can­didly ask our­selves whether, apart from the ob­vi­ous flaws in the re­port, it doesn’t raise some points worth notic­ing.

My friend David Lan­dau, the for­mer ed­i­tor-in-chief of Ha’aretz, wrote in the New York Times in Septem­ber that the re­port did not start a healthy de­bate in Is­rael over whether or not there had been an ex­ces­sive use of force in Gaza, as it had in­tended. “By ac­cus­ing Is­rael — its gov­ern­ment, its army, its ethos — of de­lib­er­ately seek­ing out civil­ians, [Gold­stone] has achieved the op­po­site ef­fect.”

Mr Lan­dau is right. Is­raelis and Is­rael’s friends now stand to­gether in fury, vow­ing to tear this re­port to pieces. Anger, how­ever, is not a good coun­sel­lor, and a coun­try like Is­rael, which faces new chal­lenges ev­ery day, must not blind it­self to re­al­ity. We should dare ask our­selves whether or not we could have achieved the goals in Gaza in a shorter cam­paign (I think we could), and as much as I hate to see Is­raeli sol­diers risk­ing their lives in Gaza or south­ern Le­banon, sub­sti­tut­ing them with fire­power doesn’t al­ways work, and some­times it back­fires on us.

The sec­ond thing to con­sider is whether the pol­icy of not co-op­er­at­ing with out­side in­ves­ti­ga­tion is wise. Al­ter­nately, a vig­or­ous in­de­pen­dent Is­raeli in­ves­ti­ga­tion could have made Judge Gold­stone re­dun­dant, or at least mar­ginal. With a mix of soul-search­ing and, for want of a bet­ter word, has­bara, we can roll back the Gold­stone Re­port and brace our­selves for the next round.

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