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New levels of low

In a first from a US president, Barack Obama has now lectured Israel how it must conduct an investigation into actions taken by the IDF to defend the Jewish state. In response to a question from CNN’s Larry King on June 3 about the blockade-busting endeavor by Turkish-backed extremists, Obama said: “We are calling for an effective investigation of everything that happened. I think the Israelis are going to agree to that – an investigation of international standards – because they recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security.”

The statement marks a new low in the president’s moves on impairing US-Israel relations.

Israel is a fully-free democratic society with an unparalleled, independent and accessible judicial system fully governed by the rule of law. The idea that it needs to be told by the president how to conduct an investigation into military operations taken in self-defense is an extraordinary insult. How dare the president suggest that its standards are not good enough?

The Israeli Supreme Court makes generous use – far more than the US Supreme Court – of decisions of national courts of other states, regional human rights courts, as well as international human rights treaties. The independent judiciary, to the frequent consternation of many political actors, is far more involved in oversight of the government and the military than is the judiciary in the US, where the political questions doctrine and other barriers frequently preclude judicial oversight.

Furthermore, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made clear, defending the maritime blockade of Hamas-run Gaza and preventing the creation of an Iranian Mediterranean port are good for Israel’s long-term security. They are also good for American security, given that Israel is seeking to defeat the same rejectionist Islamic forces that threaten America and democracy more generally.

THE PRESIDENT’S attempt at gross interference in Israeli sovereignty started with his rush to judgment last Monday, when he permitted a unanimous UN Security Council presidential statement calling for “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.”

Predictably, within 24 hours that call was duly translated by the UN Human Rights Council into a call for an international investigation of what it had already condemned as “the outrageous attack by the Israeli forces.”

The HRC is now engaged, in other words, in an effort to mimic the libelous Goldstone Report.

Though the US finally voted against the HRC resolution (after first suggesting it was open to a decision reproducing the Security Council statement), by that point the damage done by the president leaping on the Security Council bandwagon had been done. Moreover, since the Obama administration decided to join the HRC and to pay for it, American taxpayers will cover 22 percent of the $530,000 estimated costs of the HRC-sponsored investigation.

The president’s assault on the credibility of the Israeli democratic system is coming from all sides of his administration. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated on June 1 that international participants might be necessary to bolster the legitimacy of an Israeli probe. Israelis won’t do. In her words, the US wants “a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation... We are open to different ways of assuring a credible investigation, including international participation...”

Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley made the insult even more grotesque – the goal wasn’t a credible probe in objective terms, it was credible in the eyes of the UN mob. On June 2 he said that Israel must produce “an investigation that is broadly viewed as credible by the international community.”

Just a week ago, the Obama administration made another move to undermine Israel’s stature by way of international intervention. It undertook in writing at the conclusion of the Nuclear Nonproliferation conference to co-sponsor a 2012 international meeting having the goal of removing Israel’s nuclear deterrence capacity without concomitant security guarantees having been realized. This increasingly brazen intimidation is not going to evaporate if Israel decides to subject itself to any kind of international oversight of its military forces, political decision-makers or judicial authorities. 

Nor, of course, would anything satisfy UN players short of a UN team which was handpicked to assure a predetermined outcome finding Israel guilty on all counts.  Israel should, therefore, strongly reject President Obama’s latest endeavor to erode its sovereignty and well-being.

The writer is the director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute.

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In business if you are not making money or your clients are all bad debtors you close ranks and cease from trading with such clients. Often, in such cases, your first lose is your best lose. Israel should take this approach. What were once [questionable] good clients; USA, G.Brit, and other Western countries, have now become bad debts. Israel needs to close ranks and look after its own business. The only "clients" Israel have are it"s own citizens [not 100%] and a few small individual "companies". What Obama and company are doing is acting like big business does to a small supplier: "Do as we say or we will no longer purchase from you." Like many small businesses they fall in line with the big boys requests usually costing much in the long run. The smaller business would have been much better off telling the Bully company to get lost and re-arrange its affairs. Israel must make this decision - tell all bully regimes to get lost and re-arrange its affairs; beginning with taking back Gaza and refusing to give one more inch in concessions.

Posted by Philip Hammond Biblical Witness for Israel. on 2010-06-07 23:19:41 GMT

This article is a mistake! It is not just Obama that calls for an investigation... Now I can understand Israel"s reluctance to trust the UN--after all, look how they ignore what takes place in the South of Lebanon, though they are there to prevent another Hezbollah buildup--but Israel is losing the propaganda war and needs to find a way to confront this demand for an investigation. 1. It can point out that the UN Security Council does not allow Israel its place on the revolving seat so how can it be a fair body to judge? It can ask--oh boy this is a deal breaker--that NSA tapes be made available to show what electronic transmissions took place before the Israel landing on the ships. It can demand the right to be involved in the process of questioning and judging those who will investigate--are they Arab sympathizers? Muslims? their past record etc etc In sum, instead of simply stating that the country being questioned has the right to judge itself, it needs to assert a rightful demand for fairness...but it ought to be careful in simply saying NO in order to not lose the propaganda war, which is what so much of this is about. 40 people on the seized boat without passports or IDs? what country allows such a ship to leave its ports?

Posted by fred lapides on 2010-06-07 14:26:10 GMT