By Kenneth J. Theisen
On November 3rd, the U.S. House of Representatives, as it so often does, came to the defense of Israel.
The House voted 344 to 36 to reject a report accusing both Israel and the Palestinian organization Hamas of war crimes during the savage Israeli assault upon the Palestinian people of Gaza last December and January.
The report, written by an international panel led by South African Judge Richard Goldstone and named after him,accused Israel of using "disproportionate force" and of deliberately targeting civilians. It called for independent investigations to be held into Israel’s and Hamas’s actions during the war. During that war some 1400 Palestinians were killed. Three Israeli civilians were killed, along with 10 Israeli military personnel.
Even though the report criticized both Hamas and Israel, Democrat House majority leader Steny Hoyer stated the report "paints a distorted picture". He said it “epitomizes the practice of singling Israel out from all other nations for condemnation."
On November 4th the United Nations General Assembly began debate on a resolution endorsing the findings of the Goldstone report. The United Nations Human Rights Council has already voted to endorse the report. The primary recommendation of the Goldstone Report was to conduct further investigation into the alleged war crimes detailed in it.
The report requested an investigation and then a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution of any war crimes if necessary. The report called for the cases to be referred to the ICC only if Israel and Hamas do not investigate the war crimes allegations against them within six months. Hamas agreed to such an investigation, while Israel has refused to do so.
The U.N. Security Council could demand an investigation. But the U.S. can veto this and it has often used its veto power to defend its Israeli ally. If the Security Council eventually looks into the war crimes, we can expect the U.S. to defend Israel as it has always done.
The House resolution was clearly intended to derail any effective U.N. action against Israel for its war crimes. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had lobbied House members intensively. AIPAC is a powerful lobbying force within the U.S. on behalf of Israel. Earlier this year as Israel was killing Palestinians in Gaza with U.S. weapons and munitions, AIPAC got the House to pass a resolution "recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from” Gaza.
This resolution was intended to legitimize Israeli war crimes in the eyes of the American people. It is also intended to prevent any investigations that will document these crimes or any prosecution that would result from the investigations.
Since its creation as a settler state in 1948, Israel has depended on U.S. support for its very existence. The U.S. has provided billions in aid each year, including arming Israel to the extent that it is the most militarily powerful nation in the Middle East, with the exception of the U.S.
But in addition to the massive economic and military aid, the U.S. has also shielded Israel by using diplomacy and propaganda. Americans are constantly told that Israel is a democracy that has to be defended by the U.S. Despite being armed with the most advanced military weapons, including scores if not hundreds of nukes, we are constantly told how “little Israel” is surrounded by menacing neighbors and continues to need the protection of the Americans. These myths have allowed Israel to make war on all its neighbors and to occupy Palestinian lands for over 60 years. This latest resolution by the House is just another attempt at propaganda to justify the war crimes of Israel. But then Israel has been a loyal ally of the U.S. Empire throughout its existence, so we should not be surprised.