Friday, April 8, 2011

Omar Baddar Steps Up to Bat

I am not sure why we have never written about Omar Baddar before, seeing as how he writes quite a lot about Israel and the Palestinians (and never has anything positive to say about Israel), but I guess there is a first time for everything. Anyway, having remained silent throughout the latest phase of terror attacks against Israeli civilians, he has launched an attack on Goldstone both trying to prove that the op-ed is not really a retraction and if it were he was pressured into it anyway. In fact it is kind of impressive how closely this article follows Elder of Ziyon's interpretation of the five stages of grief. Let's take a look.

Mr. Baddar begins with a subtle lie: That "most" of the Palestinians who died in Cast Lead were civilians, and then a large one:
"That Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation despite Judge Richard Goldstone's eminence and credentials as a staunch supporter of Israel reinforced the conviction that Israel had plenty to hide."
Putting words into Israel's mouth is never a good idea, Mr. Baddar. Those of us paying attention noticed that there was more going on with the investigation than just Goldstone. He was sent there by the United Nations (a biased, anti-Israel organization) and two members of his team were clearly biased and anti-Israel. Israel knew right from the start that the report would not be fair or factual, and they turned out to be right. For Mr. Baddar to misrepresent Israel's position and to use it as an accusation is incredibly dishonest, but also pretty normal when it comes to Huffington Post bloggers.

At this point Mr. Baddar turns to detailed analysis of exactly what Goldstone wrote in his op-ed. I am not going to quote the whole thing (read it yourself if you'd like to) but here is his conclusion:
"If I can put Goldstone's "reconsideration" into my own blunt words, it would sound something like this: while Israel's lengthy and nontransparent investigations raise concerns, their conclusions about the cause of civilian deaths would have nevertheless been taken into account and probably influenced our report if Israel had cooperated with our investigation."
Yes, that is one interpretation. Here is another: Israel investigated, working harder than we did to find the truth. Their conclusions have proved that we were wrong in the main point of our report, which is that Israel targeted civilians. Therefore, the truth of this report is undermined. Either way, more information must be uncovered before judgments can be made. Mr. Baddar is trying to shape this admission to seem like it isn't a big deal, but it is a big deal: The Goldstone Report was wrong. Period. That doesn't mean the entire thing needs to be thrown in the trash, necessarily, but one of its major conclusions is not supported by the facts. Goldstone himself admits this.

(By the way, before we go any further, I just wanted to quote something from Goldstone's op-ed:
"That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets."
This does not appear in Mr. Baddar's article. Despite the fact that he wears the phrase "human rights activist" below his name on the Huffington Post, I guess his dedication to human rights is somewhat selective.)

So having made his case that Goldstone's retraction isn't really a retraction, Mr. Baddar shifts to a new tactic: That Goldstone only said what he said because he was forced to. And therefore it doesn't count:
"The vitriol directed at him from the so-called "pro-Israel" community following the release of his report must have been deeply hurtful for him....That Goldstone would word his latest article in such a way as to mitigate the fallout from his Report and restore the rapport he once had with a country and community that he clearly cares deeply about is perfectly understandable."
It's funny how a minute ago Mr. Baddar was going over Goldstone's op-ed with a fine toothed comb and yet missed what Goldstone said very clearly: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document." He changed his tune because after two years of going over the facts, he has realized that his report was wrong. No conspiracy theories necessary, Mr. Baddar, though he does have one about the New York Times that I suggest you check out.

He mentions that Goldstone still wants cases involving individual soldiers held accountable, and then proceeds to throw away all pretense of journalistic objectivity as he parrots the Palestinian byline:
"This means that all Goldstone is acknowledging here is Israel's ability to dispute whether it targeted civilians as a matter of policy; which is merely a dispute of one subsection of a massive report; which in turn is merely one of hundreds of credible human rights reports that document Israeli atrocities; which in turn are merely one method of raising global awareness about the injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people; which in turn is merely one tool in the struggle to achieve freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. This is hardly a cause for panic."
Ignoring all the usual shrieking, he is once again twisting Goldstone's words. Goldstone admitted that Israel did not target civilians as a matter of policy. That is what he said, but not what Mr. Baddar said. Goldstone in the past has also admitted that his report would never hold up in a court of law, which should toss away the word "credible" from his paragraph. Goldstone said that it was not a judicial document, so Mr. Baddar has not legs to claim that Israel has committed any "atrocities" at all. And finally, of course, is the complete ignoring of Palestinian war crimes and crimes against humanity. But remember, Mr. Baddar is a "human rights activist." Sure. I guess he doesn't think Israelis are human then.

He then launches into a laundry list of false accusations, such as that the occupation is "illegal," that Israel "destroyed entire neighborhoods" in Gaza, that Israel broke the cease fire first, the worn-out "white phosphorus on civilians" byline, and of course no anti-Israel article would be complete without bashing the settlements.

His last update is that Goldstone has said in an interview that he doesn't think the Goldstone report should be reconsidered, and therefore (Mr. Baddar concludes) there is nothing wrong with it. Mr. Baddar smirks at this, but all it really means is that Goldstone is contradicting himself. Mr. Baddar feels certain that when Goldstone clarifies his position, that will mean the anti-Israel forces will come out ahead. I mean, the "pro human rights forces" will come out ahead. My mistake.

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