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In a race among these three, which do you suppose will arrive at rock bottom first: the Democratic Party, the Norwegian Nobel Committee or the United Nations?
Well, the Norwegian Nobel Committee can’t do anything self-destructive for another year, so I guess it’s between the Democrats and the U.N. Most of you would probably vote for the Democrats; what with “Cap-and-Trade,” “Cash-for-Clunkers,” stumbling along behind their leader to embrace the most utterly disastrous economic system ever practiced, etc. Before you vote, however, please hear and heed my little campaign speech for the United Nations.
The “Chorus Girl’s Lament” is rather cute: one chorus girl complains to the other, “Not only did he lie about his yacht; he made me row!” There’s nothing cute about the U.N.’s version. It’s the bludgeoning instrument tucked inside the Goldstone Report, due to be considered by the General Assembly this week. The Goldstone Report incredibly takes aim at the one country that, above all others in history, takes the most self-sacrificing care to avoid harming enemy civilians. Goldstone then discolors that country’s most recent act of self-defense until it resembles not an attempt to stop Hamas’ rocket-rain coming in from Gaza, but rather the Rape of Nanking.
The country, of course, is Israel. Listen to Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and many violent elsewheres: “During Operation Cast Lead [the Israeli invasion of Gaza] the Israel Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” Col. Kemp goes on to stress that Israel’s enemies deliberately use civilians as shields, knowing full well Israeli soldiers are forbidden to shoot in such situations even if that jeopardizes their own lives. Everybody who knows the truth about Israel knows this, but it’s good to hear it so emphatically from a non-Jewish military expert with a British accent.
This is not the beginning of Israel’s grotesquely unfair treatment at the hands of the U.N. On Monday, June 5, 1967, we woke up and turned on the TV, and before our ears had digested even the first word we knew there was war. We didn’t see Barbara Walters on the “Today” show; instead there was a stagehand pinning a map of the Middle East onto an easel and an insecure commentator saying, “That’s all we have from the war zone at this time. When further word is forthcoming we’ll relay it to you without delay.”
The Arab communiques were bone-marrow-curdling. “Two Egyptian tank columns are knifing through the Negev [southern Israel],” blared Radio Cairo; “Haifa is in flames.” The scary part, for those who side with Israel, was that Israel said nothing. Nothing! There were Jews outside Israel, around the world, who died of heart failure for fear there was no Israel left to talk. The first tradition of warfare is, when it breaks out, you come out straightforwardly and lie about the whole thing, exaggerating your battlefield successes and denying the claims of the enemy.
Israel said nothing. It was late Tuesday, thirty-six hours later, before friends of Israel were assured Israel was victorious. Why that silence?
A year or two later I got the answer. Israeli Gen. Chaim Herzog came to America and appeared on my radio show. “General Herzog,” I began, “You knew before we in America even woke up Monday morning that you’d destroyed five Arab air forces on the ground, you’d pierced Egyptian defenses in Gaza, you’d taken Khan Yunis, there was nothing between there and the Suez Canal to stop you; you knew you were going to storm East Jerusalem the next day, you knew you were saving Syria for Thursday. Why did you give friends of Israel heart failure by – for the first time in history – concealing victory?”
“You see,” explained Herzog, “we knew that as long as the world believed Israel was losing, the United Nations would do nothing.”
So, as long as the world thought Israel had come to an end, the United Nations would remain glassy-faced and silent. Only when they learned Israel was the winner would the international wailing for cease-fire and withdrawal and the rest begin.
In the U. S. Army, you get punished for calling a “rifle” a “gun.” Likewise in the American Navy if you call a “ship” a “boat.” In the Israeli military, it feels like the remains of the Second Temple are dumped upon you if, in training, you do anything which, translated into real combat, might endanger enemy civilians.
So, who does the great “Parliament of Man,” the United Nations, seek to besmirch, damage and delegitimize with its Goldstone Report? This calls for a reaction beyond protest and indignation. Why use dynamite when insect powder will do? I’ll rest with the words of Hearst columnist Arthur “Bugs” Baer aimed at the U.N. after one of its much earlier disappointments, shortly after its founding. “Please, fellows,” urged Baer, “do something quick, or put the brewery back!”
Welcome, now, to the “Israeli Lament,” namely: “One good apple ruins the whole rotten bunch.”