Junk in, junk out


An Open Letter to the Police, Prosecutor, Judge and Jury (more formally known as the United Nations Human Rights Council):

Dear Gentle Ladies and Men (and when I say “Gentle” I mean it in the most facetious manner possible):

It has come to my attention that you have adopted a resolution calling for an independent investigation into the incident that involved a flotilla headed for Gaza and the Israeli military.

But when I examined the language of the resolution, I was very confused about what you meant exactly by the word “independent.”

I am reasonably sure you don’t mean “objective” or “subject to the generally accepted rules of justice.” If that were the case, you probably wouldn’t have included in the resolution language condemning “in the strongest terms the outrageous attack by the Israeli forces against the humanitarian flotilla of ships.”

I am also fairly sure you don’t mean “even-handed” or “fair.” Because implicit in the language of the resolution are the conclusions that Israel’s conduct was unjustified and that the ships were purely engaged in a humanitarian exercise. Yet we already know that there was violence visited on the Israeli troops, and that there were people with apparent terrorist ties among the passengers of the flotilla. At least the Security Council’s separate statement gave lip service to fairness, thanks to United States insistence, referring to an “impartial” investigation.

And I am pretty sure you don’t mean “comprehensive.” Because when I think of what an independent investigation would comprise in this instance, I would have so many questions, including the following regarding the actions of both Israel and the flotilla:


1. Who was involved in the intelligence gathering, strategy, tactics and public relations associated with the boarding incident? Was it done according to accepted Israeli procedure?

2. Who was responsible for communicating with the flotilla organizers in the weeks before the plan? Did they in fact have constructive negotiations and discussions?

3. Of those involved, what information did they possess and how did they analyze it?

4. What directions were given to those Israelis who boarded the ships, both the five peaceful boardings and the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, on which the violence occurred?

5. Were the directions executed according to plan and if not, why not? Were the troops directed appropriately? Did the troops ignore or alter any courses of action that were given to them?

6. What were the facts and bases for the troops and Israeli’s claims of self-defense? How did the violence originate, and how was it perpetuated?

The flotilla:

1. Who was involved in the planning, financing and execution of the flotilla? What are their national origins? Do any of them have involvement in known terrorist organizations?

2. What was the mission of the flotilla? Some claimed it was humanitarian aid; others claimed it was to attempt to break the Gaza blockade; still others indicated it was to provoke Israel into a violent response.

3. Did the organizers engage in discussions with Israel in the weeks leading up to the flotilla? If not, why not? If the purpose was strictly to deliver humanitarian aid, why couldn’t that be done with the cooperation of the Israeli government?

4. Why did the boardings apparently progress peacefully for five ships and not for the sixth (and again peacefully onto the Rachel Corrie a week later)? Was this solely related to the size of that ship and Israel’s inability to cut the engines of the Mavi? Did it have anything to do with who the crew of that ship was versus the crews of the other ships?

5. If there were indeed those with known terrorist ties on the flotilla, who was aware of this-the planners? Turkey, who allowed the Mavi to sail under its flag? Hamas? If they were aware, why did they support the mission?

6. Hamas purports to be the democratically elected political leader of Gaza. What was Hamas’ role in the flotilla? Was Hamas aware of the identities, purpose and mission of the flotilla? Of the Mavi specifically?

Unless you address all these issues and more, I’m sure you can see, UNHRC, why those who found the Goldstone commission and report a wholly political exercise, would conclude the same in this instance.

I have a news flash for you, UNHRC. You’re not doing the residents of Gaza any favors. By castigating Israel, you are allowing Hamas and those who support it to wholly shirk the responsibility that comes with governance. The only way toward peace is to hold Gaza’s leaders accountable for both their intentions and their actions. Otherwise, there cannot be parties to a peace process that is meaningful, sustainable and enforceable.

My advice to you, UNHRC? Either call for a truly independent investigation, one that examines all the aspects of the incident in a detached, rational manner. Or alternatively, replace your use of “independent investigation” with a phrase that more appropriately describes your goal.

Like, for instance, “smear job.”

Larry Levin is Publisher/CEO of the Jewish Light.