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Asymmetric Lawfare

The Goldstone Report on Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war, endorsed by the UN General Assembly on November 5, has taken on a life of its own in the court of world public opinion. Increasingly, both its enthusiasts and its detractors see it as a weapon, even more potent than the UN’s Zionism-Racism resolution of November 1975, in a campaign to render illegitimate the very existence of the state of Israel.

Relevant Links
Understanding the Goldstone Report  United Nations Human Rights Council. A one-stop source for information and the running battle of opinion and analysis; operated by opponents of the Report, but an essential portal to the arguments of its defenders.  
The Continuation of War by Other Means  Graham Usher, Al-Ahram. One of the most balanced reports ever to come out of the UN, and a more effective weapon against Israel than missiles.
War Unchecked  The Editors, Washington Post. The UN commission proved one thing: that the United Nations is incapable of confronting the changed face of 21st-century battlefields.
The Goldstone Illusion  Moshe Halbertal, New Republic. The Report leaves the onus on Israel to clarify the principles under which it fought in Gaza–and to defend them; despite the Report’s blatant bias and unfairness, Israel should respond.
An Open Letter to Richard Goldstone  Trevor Norwitz, Commentary. A South African-born lawyer meticulously picks apart the Report’s methods, language, evidence, and conclusions.
Zionists Debate the Use of Force  Anita Shapira, Land and Power. After World War I, disillusioned with British promises and alarmed by the growth of militant Arab nationalism, the early Zionists began to develop an ethic by which to defend themselves.
Battlefield Ethics in the Jewish Tradition  Michael Broyde, War and Its Discontents. Jewish religious law (halakhah) has a just-war tradition of its own.

So loud has the drumbeat over the Report become, and so widening its repercussions, that an entire website—cited in the first item below—is needed to collect the facts and to keep track of the debate on all sides. Below, two representative arguments, pro and con, are offered by a leading Arab newspaper and a leading American one. They are followed by longer critical analyses by, respectively, a moral philosopher and a legal expert. Finally, excerpts from two books help to place today’s issues in the context of a long-running internal Jewish debate.

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