A continuing obsession: Guardian implies that Israel & her supporters are to blame for civilian atrocities in Sri Lanka

The latest Guardian editorial (“Sri Lanka: No-inquiry zone, April 27) is ostensibly about war crimes committed by the Sri Lanka regime against the Tamil Tigers but, in another example of their editors’ inability to hide their single obsession with the Jewish state, also implies that the attacks on the credibility of the UN Human Rights Commission – and the Goldstone Report which the UNHRC commissioned – has had an injurious effect on the way civilians are treated in other countries.  Specifically, the editorial notes:

“A UN panel has just produced [a report] about the carnage of civilians which took place two years ago when government forces crushed the Tamil Tigers…but will likely be shelved…as hard-hitting as anything Goldstone produced, and therefore is just as likely to be shelved”

The editorial continues:

“One country’s ability to bury the evidence of war crimes endangers how civilians are treated in all other conflicts.” 

The malicious implication is clear: Efforts by Israel and her defenders to refute and undermine the credibility of The Goldstone Report has emboldened other nations who are inclined to commit acts of violence against its civilians.  The editorial then notes:

That there is credible evidence that government soldiers targeted civilians, shelled hospitals and attacked aid workers in the final months of the war against the Tamil Tigers is indisputable. That the Tigers used civilians as human shields and shot those attempting to flee the carnage at point-blank range is equally true. Tens of thousands died as a result of these twin brutalities. 

Even by Guardian standards this is an especially vicious narrative – as if Sri Lankan troops, and rebel Tamil Tigers, would have behaved more morally if the Goldstone Report hadn’t been refuted.  Further, the implication that there is any parallel at all between the conflict in Sri Lanka, which has claimed a total of more than 100,000 lives according to Freedom House, and Israel’s war in Gaza is simply ahistorical. 

As with the Guardian’s equally bizarre contention, regarding the uprisings in the Arab world against despotic regimes, last month that, whatever the issues in each particular Arab country, Palestine was the “cockpit of the crisis, the paper again shows itself singularly obsessed with the actions of the democratic Israeli state and her supporters.

Paraphrasing, and slightly tweaking, an old adage: there are some ideas so crazy, and so implausible, that only Guardian editors could believe them.

29 replies »

  1. There is no issue in the world that the Guardian would not connect with the conflict between Israel and the Arabs.

    They are quite, quite mad.

  2. Now I ask you.
    Who are the true Nazis?

    Those who defend themselves against all odds or those who carry on distributing the agenda of the protocols, that is to say Jews are the ills of this world and have a hand in every war?

  3. Many Goldstone critics claimed that Israel was singled out for UN investigation. The Sri Lanka report shows this to be nonsense. Incidentally the idea that the Goldstone Report has been ‘refuted’ is simply untrue. Goldstone’s op-ed article claimed to have established that the IDF didn’t target civilians as policy but provided no evidence of this. Moreover the McGowan Davis report, to which Goldstone refers, actually says that there has been no independent investigation of higher level Israeli decisions (such as targeting policy). The other three authors of Goldstone stand by the report and the UN has refused to withdraw it.

  4. So dear Guardian reader, you see no wrong with having a biased panel member doing the investigation, let’s say with regards to the iraq enquiery, Stephen Lawrence murder or any other investigation for that matter?

    Once someone, may it be a member of the jury, a judge or a member of an “independent” investigation team cast judgement before any investigation took place, he or she should not be part of that investigation / trial.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

  5. guardian reader clearly knows nothing about law.

    in a court of law, any judge or jury that remotely infers guilt or innocent BEFORE the trial even starts is pulled from the trial. always.

    but in the UN or EU, that’s not how it works. israel is guilty regardless of the truth. just keep repeating the same thing over and over again and eventually the guardian will make it fact.

  6. Dear Guardian Reader

    you obviously can’t see the utter ridiculousness in the statement “there was no evidence that a crime had not been committed”

    Goldstone was appointed to look into allegations of war crimes. he reversed his findings on the central accusation which was the deliberate targeting of civiilans. He reached his conclusion ON THE EVIDENCE i.e. there was, in retrospect, no evidence of a policy of deliberately targeting civilians.

    Can’t you see how crass is it is to say that although there was no evidence that a crime had been committed, no one had bothered to ask the accused if he had intended to commit one?

    In order to pose such a question you must desparately need a guilty verdict regardless of the facts of the case.

    The fact that the other contibutors stand by the report in its entirety is neither here nor there. Goldstone, to give him his due, was able to admit that he had got it wrong and was courageous enough to realise that the truth was more important than his statements or indeed his reputation.

    The guardian’s insinuations are cheap and nasty to say the least. Perhaps you might think about taking a leaf out of Goldstone’s book?

  7. guardian reader,

    “Goldstone’s op-ed article claimed to have established that the IDF didn’t target civilians as policy but provided no evidence of this.”

    And you have provided no evidence that you have no sister.

    Sarcasm aside, Goldstone’s standards of judgment (which you illustrate with the quoted comment) are hardly the only scandal in that whole affair. Far more galling is the fact that a former Apartheid South Africa hanging judge saw it fit to put Israel in the dock. And the most serious issue here, IMO, is that a state confronted with enemies who have no compunctions against putting their women and children in the line of fire for propaganda purposes was to stand trial in the first place.

  8. ziontruth

    Goldstone says that civilians were not intentionally targeted on the basis of individual investigations made under the auspices of the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG). However the MAG, in evidence to the Turkel Commission, said that his is “not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions”. Since policy decisions don’t get much more high-level than whether to target civilians Goldstone’s reasons for changing his mind are clearly not valid.
    Now for some evidence that the IDF does target civilians as policy:
    1) In 1978 Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur gave interviews on military policy towards civilians. Ze’ev Schiff, respected Haaretz military analyst, summarised his views as follows:
    “In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved it…[T]he importance of Gur’s remarks is the admission that the Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously…the army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…[but] purposely attacked civilian targets even when Israeli settlements had not been struck.”
    2) In August 1981 Begin wrote to the press criticising Labour’s hypocrisy over recent civilian killings in Lebanon, naming 30 instances of the same thing during Labour governments. Abba Eban, former foreign minister, replied that deliberate attacks on civilians were defensible when serving larger ends, as when “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that afflicted populations [i.e., innocent civilians deliberately bombed] would exert pressure on governments for the cessation of hostilities.”.

    I could give further examples if you wish.

  9. Thank God I’m an Infidel

    There are many references to the Gur quote. Here’s one:
    Unfortunately the Haaretz archive only goes back to 1994 so I can’t link you direct to the source. I’ve never seen the quote denied though.
    Here’s one to Begin/Eban:

    I know my links are both to non-zionist authors – but then I suppose they would be, wouldn’t they?

  10. sencar, Good.

    Now how would you characterize
    – the hijackings of 9/11/01
    – the bombings of 7/7/05 in London
    – the murder of 5,000 Kurds in Halabja
    – the bombing of Pan Am 103
    – the massacre in Mumbai India
    – the executions of gay teens in the Islamic Republic of Iran
    – the Hama Syria massacre
    – the bombings of buses in Israel
    – the school massacre in Beslan
    – the bombing of US embassies in Africa and the collateral damage to people passing by
    – the hijacking of the ’72 Olympics
    – the Assad family dicatorship attacks on protesters

    Thanks in advance!

  11. sencar

    Goldstone changed his mind because there was, in hindsight, insufficient evidence to condemn Israel for deliberately targeting civilians in gaza in 2004.

    Whether or not there exists is a viable means of investigating high level policy is irrelevant.

    Your position seems to be that israel should be considered guilty, even though the author of the report has retracted the finding of guilt in this regard, until and unless israel can prove her innocence.

    That is not the way justice works in the free world. perhaps you didn’t know.

    But it looks really deperate when the best you can come up with in your hunger for the demonisation of israel is remarks made more than 30 years ago by persons unconnected with the events in question.

  12. Thank God I’m an Infidel

    I thought for a moment I had someone reasonable to debate with; obviously not. You don’t dispute that the IDF has a longstanding policy to target civilians. That was all I was trying to establish. Many (possibly all) of the incidents you mention were horrific crimes. That doesn’t justify Israeli immoral and illegal policies towards civilians.


    The IDF killed 100s of civilians in Cast Lead for the loss of 13 Israelis (some through friendly fire). Breaking the Silence IDF witnesses testified that they were encouraged by officers and rabbis to regard Palestinian lives as of little or no account. There is consistant evidence over many years of an Israeli policy to punish civilians in order to try to turn them against PLO, Hezbollah and now Hamas. The quotes are 30 years old but the policy persists. Give me a little time and I’m sure I can produce more recent ones. The ridiculous thing is that many Israeli politicians and generals have never tried to conceal this policy.

  13. sencar, Yes, let us debate.


    Which group do you have a blindspot for, a blindspot for world-wide jihad?

    Who threatens writers with death for writing a book of fiction.

    Who murdered, and beheaded UN workers in Afghanistan because one man in the US burned a copy of a Koran?

    sencor, Do think that killing 10 people because someone burned a book DISPROPRTIONATE RESPONSE????

  14. Guardian implies that Israel & her supporters are to blame for civilian atrocities in Sri Lanka

    I don’t think so.
    Said editorial was bollocks, but let’s not get carried away.

  15. sencar

    the lack of a response to your assertion that the IDF “has a long-standing policy to target civilians” does not imply that it is not disputed.

    if i libelled you and you did not respond, would it be honest of me to say that you had accepted the slur was true?

    I certainly do dipute that IDF “has a long-standing policy to target civilians”

    That 100’s of civilians died in Cast Lead is probably true. But that does not prove your point. And the number of IDF casualties is completely irrelevant. Col Richard Kemp of the British army who was on the spot monitoring IDF activity during Cast Lead reported that the lengths IDF went to in order to protect civilians had no precedent in the history of modern warfare.

    Your latest post is in the same vain as the earlier ones: libel israel and challenge her to prove the libel false. It reveals where you are coming from. Like all anti-israeli propagandists you want everyone to believe that such accusations are a matter of debate. they are not. they are a matter of evidence. And you haven’t got any. come back if you find it.

  16. “I thought for a moment I had someone reasonable to debate with; obviously not. ” sencare

    Really? So sad. What it´s even more pathetic is that you think you are a reasonable debater, when in reality you are nothing but another boring Israel-basher.

  17. zeitgoose

    If you had read Goldstone’s op-ed article you woul know it is not true to say:
    “Goldstone changed his mind because there was, in hindsight, insufficient evidence to condemn Israel for deliberately targeting civilians in gaza in (2008/9 surely, not 2004)”. In fact the article is confused and it is not clear where his conclusion comes from. Firstly he cites McGowan Davis to show Israel has investigated individual cases. Then he says that intentionality was inferred in the Goldstone report where the mission had no evidence to the contrary. Next he states that there is now some evidence of satisfactory explanations in some cases published by the Israeli military. Finally he claims that the individual investigations “also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”. But the question of policy is quite seperate from individual cases, unless satisfactory explanations can be provided in every instance, which is very far from being the case. McGowan Davis makes it clear that there has been no independent investigation of policy. It remains valid to infer intentionality on the same basis as The Goldstone Report did, since the vast majority of individual investigations have not even been completed two years after the events.

  18. sencar

    You have found the crux of it. When no evidence emerged to support the central allegation, Golstone regretted that the terms of the report had been framed “to assume intentionality in the absence of evidence to the contrary.”

    In retrospect Goldstone understood that the report had condemned the israelis before its findings were in. And he was able to change his view, based on the evidence. Or, rather, the lack of evidence.

    In his own words:

    ‘I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.’

    The balkan conflict illustrates that it is possible to find evidence of intentionality. It is not incumbent on the IDF or the israeli govt to prove their innocence. How could they?

    Your demand for ‘satisfactory explanations in every instance’ shows that you simply can’t, or won’t grasp the nettle here: without proper evidence in support of your allegations you have no business making them. Wanting them to be true doesn’t make them true.

  19. sencar,

    You should have read all of my comment. I stated that, even if the critics of Israel were to hold to adequate standards of evidence without fail, still their criticism would be invalid. This is for two reasons: 1) They and the states their represent are themselves not clean, 2) Any country confronted with the Islamic way of warfare (in which civilians are put in the line of fire in order to reap propaganda benefits should the other side decide to fire) cannot justly be put under trial for resisting it.

    There are people and whole websites devoted to refuting the claims of Goldstone and his type. I’m not one of those people. As far as I’m concerned, all the initiatives of trying Israel on the courts of international “law” are illegal. The short version: You have no right to speak.

    All who provide aid and comfort to Israel’s Arab/Muslim enemies, whether intentionally or not, have thereby disqualified themselves from judging Israel. Again I say, you have no right to speak.

  20. Once a year or so I check your dislike for my country. So you still never got over the ‘Word Rule’ of the” Lands End to London idea” that you occupy Ireland and have condesending veiws of most parts of the French,really Europe in general. Even bad words on the old Soviet Union, which you admired so much. Bair’s ‘new” lobour ran after G Bush ,special relationship Hey ,Ya, YA What a Sad laugh, that was, what a bad Joke? No too sad for a joke. What are you now,also the U.S.A,’s 51 State. A new commanwealth?
    So after 62 years of us getting you out of occupation of our land little England is still talking about Punching Above It’s Weight, or so it Talks.
    WE and our Arab neighbours will hopefully come to a peacefull arrangement very soon COULD you please deal with your own affairs Keep yourselves busy. Or come visiit and meet my Jewish and Moslem friends who all have the same vote (even those with crimmanal convictions–all Isreali citizens, by the way, unlike you ,can vote Or maybe sell of another royal wedding . Hollywood or Bollywood . Real ” Royal ” that was!But You got your priorities right . and I know you got tons of cash for health and education And wars where the ‘White House’ send you.Andrew and all.
    See how you are next year. Meanwhile Best of British or should it now be English Luckand Push ahead! Weddings, Beer and foreign owend Foot Ball Clubs. World Cup? No! Talk is so much easier than walk. But that you know

  21. “Sorry ziontruth, but I’ll speak when I feel like it….” sencar

    Oh, how brave of you, such lone fighter refusing to be silenced by the evil Jewish lobby, right?

    But you either didn´t get it or, more probably is feigning you didn´t. Ziontruth´s point is not that you “can´t talk”. Talking is cheap, as you know very well. His point is that you have *no* credibility nor authority whatsoever.

    Now, feel free to resume your empty pseudo-moralizing babblings.

  22. SerJew

    The only “credibility (or) authority” I would ever claim is that which follows from the truth/logic of my postings. ziontruth seems to be saying that only people who agree with him have a right to comment. That’s obvious nonsense. If that’s not what he is saying then he’ll have to speak more clearly because his meaning is far from evident

  23. “Sorry ziontruth, but I’ll speak when I feel like it…”

    You will, of course, and as a pseudonymous blogger I doubt anyone will care much. But it is my hope that the Jewish State will soon make it a priority to silence the more high-profile of your ilk. Or even better, to force them (especially media outlets like the Guardian) to feature the Zionist narrative as atonement for all those years of anti-Zionist activity.

    “ziontruth seems to be saying that only people who agree with him have a right to comment.”

    I’m saying anti-Zionism is unjust and illegitimate, and that it deserves to be treated like Neo-Nazism, from which it is not far off. Any criticism of Israel based on the idea that the Jews have no right to part or all of Palestine is an anti-Zionist criticism and therefore illegitimate.

  24. Thanks for making yourself clear, ziontruth. At a time when thousands are suffering in Arab nations for the right to free speech and democracy you are calling for censorship in Israel, even of the international press. I make no further comment.

  25. “At a time when thousands are suffering in Arab nations for the right to free speech and democracy…”

    Believe whatever you want. As for me, I won’t be the one sporting a surprised expression when those thousands choose to replace their former dictators with brand new, shiny Islamic clerics to rule them.

    “…you are calling for censorship in Israel, even of the international press.”

    Democracy is not a suicide pact. All opinions should be up for grabs, except those that put the framework itself in jeopardy. Otherwise the nation-state is no longer a safe haven for the nation, and then all the fine talk about free speech goes down the gutter.

    I’m critical of my own government, and I believe in my right to be critical of future governments as well. But I don’t want any criticism of the idea that the Jews have right to national sovereignty on the Land of Israel. If that dam is breached, then it is as if the State of the Jews had never come into existence. It is a slippery slope at whose end is Helen Thomas’s call for sending the Jews back to the Diaspora. It needs to rejected from the get-go.

  26. “Thanks for making yourself clear, ziontruth. At a time when thousands are suffering in Arab nations for the right to free speech and democracy you are calling for censorship in Israel, even of the international press.” sencar

    Aww, how melodramatic! All those poor Arabs suffering and here we are,
    the evil zionist lobby trying to silence you, that great searcher of “truth/logic”. And all that jazz just to distort what ziontruth said.

    Your types are never happy, eh? For your kind of self-appointed judges of Israel, she always has to match some absurd standard of saintly perfectionism, that no country *ever* satisfies. Unless of course she allows herself to commit suicide, which is what you really want. Sorry, won´t happen.

    “I make no further comment.” sencar

    Oh, wow! The final verdict. Amazing. You think you won the match, don´t ya?

  27. sencar,

    “I make no further comment.”

    Just like you did on the “Hamas beats Palestinians peacefully gathering in Gaza” thread, when you couldn’t answer me, eh?