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Endorsing the Goldstone Report

Russia’s Daring Vote

by ISRAEL SHAMIR

Russia’s vote to endorse the Goldstone Gaza report in the United Nations Human Rights Council last Friday was an important, milestone event both for Palestine and for Russia. For Palestine, this vote opened a way to try and sentence Israeli mass-murderers, and thus ushered Israel into a new era of responsibility after a long period of Wild West-style, Colt-45 justice. For Russia, this vote has proved to its own country and to the world that it is free from American and Zionist diktat and able to navigate its own policy.

This story began on Christmas with the Israeli onslaught on defenceless Gaza. Taking advantage of the holiday lull, the Israeli army killed hundreds of Palestinian children and other civilians by indiscriminate use of white phosphorus and artillery. The world was horrified, and the UN Human Rights Council appointed Judge Richard Goldstone, a former prosecutor for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, to find out the facts.

Many people doubted his impartiality: Goldstone is a Jew — a self-described Zionist, well-connected to Israel – he sits on the board of its University and his daughter even lived in Tel Aviv for a while. Goldstone was guided by his conscience and not by his blood. He went to Gaza, invested a lot of time and effort, and concluded: Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. He recommended the case be transferred to the ICC court in the Hague. Israel did not cooperate and tried to undermine and block the report, but failed. That was the first Israeli defeat.

The second defeat occurred a few days later. The Fatah chairman, Ramallah PNA ruler Mahmud Abbas, was ready to do anything in order to remain in power after his electoral defeat. Netanyahu threatened him with taking away the broadcasting frequency for a second mobile phone provider – Abbas promptly called his representative in Geneva and ordered him to put the Goldstone report on a slow, very slow burner. Popular indignation was furious; he was called `traitor’ and worse. Facing revolt and sure political demise, Abbas u-turned once again and ordered his ambassador to proceed at full speed. Thus Bibi undermined and delegitimised his agent Abbas, while the report made its way to the council anyway. That was the second defeat.

Israel was infuriated by this development. The Jewish State considered itself invulnerable behind the triple defense of the Sixth Fleet, the US Senate and the Holocaust Museum. President Obama’s soft request to freeze the settlement building was met in Tel Aviv by what Internet chat calls "lol". He was ridiculed. Ehud Barak and Bibi Netanyahu even sped up their building plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to show that they could not care less. And now, all of a sudden, Jewish ministers of state are going to be judged as if they were Serbs or Sudanese.

Israeli leaders activated their main reserves, the US State Department and the Lobby. A few days ago I spoke with Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Tel Aviv, and he confirmed that the US State Department will do all it can to stop the Goldstone report before it gets to the Security Council. Another American veto would not look good. Worse, an insulted and hurt Obama might just forget to veto an anti-Israeli decision.

Israel began courting Russia, hoping to build bridges and to enlist Moscow in its cause. Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Moldova-born Foreign minister, met ten times with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov; Netanyahu flew to Moscow on a "secret mission" for a talk with Medvedev, and President Peres met with Medvedev in Sochi. They wanted Russian support for Iran sanctions and for silencing the Goldstone report. They said to the Russians that it would create a dangerous precedent: If today they judge Israeli ministers and generals for Gaza, tomorrow they will judge Russian ministers and generals for Chechnya. This is a false comparison: Chechens are Russian citizens with full rights, Gazans have no rights at all; Chechens are free to travel and live in Moscow or elsewhere, Gazans are not allowed to leave their concentration camp. Though Russia’s campaign against Chechen separatists was bloody and cruel, it could not be compared with the cold-blooded murder the Israelis unleashed on Gaza.

Moreover, the precedents were established a long time ago, when Milosevic the Serb was tried in The Hague. The question is whether the Jews are indeed above the law. Israeli observers were certain that Russia would stand by them. There is a small but profitable trade between the two countries; there is a Russian immigrant community in Israel; there are many bilateral relations. Beside, Russia has traditional interests in the Holy Land, and hundreds of thousands of Russian pilgrims make their way to the Holy Sepulchre.

On top of all this, Russia was interested in hosting a Moscow Middle East Peace Conference, in direct continuity with the Madrid Conference of 1989. There is also a powerful Zionist lobby in Moscow. True, some of the most obnoxious oligarchs are gone, whether to a Siberian jail or to exile in Tel Aviv or London. Power is now concentrated in the hands of Putin and Medvedev, and money is respected but not more than that. But there are many very wealthy Russian Jews who like to play the Jewish Lobby game.

Some  arguments by the Zionist Lobby for supporting Israel were spectacularly feeble. They said that Russia should be forever grateful to Israel because it had allowed a few Russian wives to leave Gaza just before their homes were bombed to smithereens. If you buy that one, you may also buy their argument for bombing Iran: in 1836 (sic!), the Persians had lynched Russian playwright and diplomat Alexander Griboedov, who had sneaked into a harem and gotten caught.

Notwithstanding, the Russians disregarded the US and Israel’s overtures and stalwartly voted to endorse Goldstone’s report. They were joined by their three allies, China, India and Brazil, together representing the lion’s share of mankind’s human resources – of oil, of industry.

The Chinese sage Mencius (or Mengzi 372-289 BC) went to see t King Hui who said: "Old man, since you dared the distance of 1000 li to come here, you may know of a way to profit my state." Mencius replied: "Why should you ever mention the word `profit’? What counts is benevolence and righteousness. If the King says `How can I profit my country?’ the high officials will say, `how can we profit our fiefs?’, and the intellectuals and the commoners will say: `How can we profit ourselves?’ If the upper and lower classes strive to snatch profit one from another, the state will be endangered."

Apparently the Eurasian landmass of Russia, China and India prefer benevolence and righteousness, while the Anglo-American world prefers lust for gain. Russian leaders Putin and Medvedev were very outspoken in their objections to the Israeli plans to attack Iran. They spoke against the sanctions, too, and here they were fully supported by China. At the same time, Turkey refused to let the Israeli Air Force join its joint maneuvers with the US. The Zionist-run US immediately withdrew from the maneuvers as well. The position of Turkey is extremely relevant: This is the old imperial power that protected and controlled the Middle East for centuries. Turkey, together with Russia and Greece, are the main heirs to Byzantium. If we want to help Turkey to support the Palestinian cause we must not allow the Zionists to play the Armenian card right now. When Turkey joins Russia and China, they can decide quite a bit. They have put paid to the notion of Israeli impunity. One can’t overestimate the importance of the Russian vote:

(1) This vote confirmed the principle of equality. All human beings are equal. If the ICC can judge Milosevic and Burundians and Sudanese, they can also judge Jewish ministers and generals.

(2) This vote demonstrated that Russia is independent, not only of Washington, but even of Tel Aviv. The Zionist Lobby in Russia is powerful, but not omnipotent.

(3) This vote saved innumerable children, women and men from death. After this vote, an Israeli general will have to think twice before dropping a bomb on a civilian target. This will save Israeli children as well from retaliation.

(4) Russia regained its position lost by Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Russia became again a leader of the free world, I mean the world free of US bases. Moscow’s position was decisive in forming China’s position as well.

(5) It seems that the main weapon of Zionists, their voice, has worn out. Once upon a time they could convince individuals and nations as easily as the sirens by the charm of their persuasion. Now the witch of Zion had lost her charm.

A few years ago I wrote: "The world needs Russia, for since her star was obscured in 1990, for almost twenty years the runaway train of US and the loose cannon of Israel made a mess on the planet. Russia must stop their orgy of aggression and regain its place as the ultimate protector of the weak and the meek. This is her manifest destiny". The Geneva vote proved that Russia has done just that. We may once again connect our hopes with Russia in her friendship with China. They also can stop Israel from hurting itself and others.

So many people in the US and France, in Egypt and Palestine are tired of Israeli intransigence, egotism, hypocrisy and impunity. That is why so much hope was invested in Barack Obama after his Cairo talk. Obama had promised to cut Israel down to size, but meanwhile Israel cut him down to smaller-than-life. That is why the US is going down just like the Titanic, undermined by a Lobby iceberg and fleeced by financial wizards. Now Russia is coming under tremendous pressure from the US and other Zionist-led groups and states. We should pray she will withstand it and maintain her and our dignity.            

ISRAEL SHAMIR can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net _