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U.S. House Condemns Goldstone Report

And now the U.N. General Assembly will debate it

Allison Hoffman
November 04, 2009
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The political football known as the Goldstone Report—the U.N. Human Rights Council-backed inquiry alleging that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during last winter’s Gaza war—is still in play. Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (by a vote of 334-36) condemning the document and calling on the Obama Administration to block its movement through international bodies. The resolution was backed by AIPAC and the Orthodox Union but opposed, if weakly, by the new left-leaning Israel lobby J Street, which didn’t explicitly call on any of the 150 or so members of Congress who signed up to host the group’s big conference last week to vote no. (Indeed, the measure was sponsored by Democrat Howard Berman, who attended the J Street gala.)

Meanwhile, Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, called on Goldstone—who publicly expressed his irritation at the House resolution, which he claims distorts his report—to repudiate the whole investigation, not so much because the thing itself was flawed, but because its findings have had “an insidious effect on the safety and good name of the Jewish state.” Foxman went on to accuse Goldstone of naivete, for assuming that the world would give equal weight to his criticisms of Hamas, and not just pick up on his allegations about Israel’s wrongdoing; as far as we can tell, Goldstone has not responded.

This morning, the affair goes to the U.N. General Assembly, which is slated to debate a resolution urging the Security Council to consider referring both Israel and Hamas to the International Criminal Court if they do not conduct independent investigations into the claims lodged by Goldstone’s panel. Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour told the Associated Press he doesn’t expect a vote until tomorrow; we’ll stay tuned.

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.