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The rise of Jewish criticism of Israel.

For any Jew who speaks out against the policies of the Israeli government or military, they must brace themselves for a barrage of criticisms from their Zionist counterparts. They are inevitably faced with accusations of disloyalty and taunts that they are "self-hating Jews." One need only look at the torrent of hostility that faced Judge Goldstone, who is himself Jewish, upon the publication of his Goldstone Report to see how vicious this hate campaign can be. In an article in the Jerusalem Post, Judge Goldstone says that the attacks against him were done "in a most personal and hurtful way."

However, despite the criticisms that they inevitably face from within their own community, many Jews are standing up to the brutal and inhumane Israeli tactics and policies and are refusing to simply tow the Zionist line. In an article published in the Guardian today 21/10/09 for example, Rabbi Michael Lerner condemns the "predictable choir of ethical cretins around the world [who] have joined in condemning Goldstone and the UN instead of urging Israel to investigate the charges by creating an impartial, objective and open process in which the victims can testify and the perpetrators can be brought to justice."

According to Rabbi Lerner, even high ranking officials in the Israeli foreign Ministry have themselves conceded, off the record of course, that Israel "had made a tremendous blunder in refusing to cooperate with the UN Commission."

What Israel should be doing, Rabbi Lerner suggests, is "show that it is concerned about these violations, punish appropriately those who violated international standards of human rights, and show that it is regretful about what those particular people did."

However, being a critic of Israeli policies does not necessarily mean that a Jew is against the concept of the state of Israel itself. As Judge Goldstone says of his own personal motivation to head the UN Mission, "as a Jew who has supported Israel and its people all my life…I felt a greater and not lesser obligation to do so." He admits though that "Israel missed a golden opportunity to actually have a fair hearing from a UN-sponsored inquiry" as a result of their total and repeated lack of cooperation. Furthermore, as Rabbi Lerner says, "We in the Jewish community who want Israel to be strong and secure know that the path must be through justice and generosity toward the Palestinian people, and a renewal of the ancient vision of the Torah that commands us to "love the Other"… rather than military domination…"

Rabbi Lerner is not alone. Many Jewish organisations and individuals are taking a very public stance against the heavy handed Zionist policies being carried out in Israel in the name of all Jews. Even before the Gaza atrocities, groups such as Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) were being formed to counter-balance the unwavering support for Israel offered unreservedly by bodies such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews (a self-proclaimed mouthpiece for British Jews since 1760). Many who have signed the IJV declaration have wanted it to be made known that Israel does not speak for them. Members have included high ranking Jews from across the political and social spectrum and include amongst their ranks, human rights lawyers, film directors, fashion designers actors, a Nobel Prize-winning playwright and so on.The rise of Jewish criticism

After the way that they behaved in the Gaza War and their subsequent refusal to cooperate with the UN fact finding mission and now their criticism of the report and its author, Israel is fast loosing all credibility in the eyes of the world. Their efforts to promote themselves as the greatest "victims" the world has ever seen and as a people who are merely standing up for themselves, as well as the false shroud of self-defense which they say guides all of their military and tactical decisions, is crumbling before their eyes.

As Judge Goldstone explains in his article, despite his Jewish roots and connections to Israel, how could he do anything other than condemn the Israeli Government for its actions? He really was left with no choice. As he says "In Gaza, I was surprised and shocked by the destruction and misery there. I had not expected it. I did not anticipate that the IDF would have targeted civilians and civilian objects. I did not anticipate seeing the vast destruction of the economic infrastructure of Gaza including its agricultural lands, industrial factories, water supply and sanitation works. These are not military targets, I have not heard or read any government justification for this destruction."

Israel is therefore making an anti-Israel position much easier to adopt, for Jews and non-Jews alike, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for supporters of Israel not to look biased and illogical in the face of the cold hard facts

Commentary & AnalysisIsraelMiddle East
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