My latest piece at Meretz USA looks at the shameless list the ADL has put out of its “Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups.” Incredibly, ADL puts Jewish Voice for Peace on that list (and a few others equally absurd). When looking at who is harming both Israel and the Jewish people, I suggest Abe Foxman look in the mirror.
Israel has, in the past, conducted some reasonably credible investigations of itself. Sure, there is always an issue of credibility when a country investigates itself, and on many, maybe most, occasions (most recently, the investigations Israel launched into its own conduct in Operation Cast Lead) such investigations have been whitewashes designed to cover up, rather than seriously examine, Israeli misdeeds.
Still, there have been some counter-examples, such as the Kahan Commission, which investigated the Lebanon War and Sabra-Shatilla massacre of 1982-83 and the Or Commission which investigated the killings of 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel and one other Palestinian at the beginning of the second intifada. Both of these commissions faced obstacles (especially Or), and many were less than satisfied with their results (again, especially Or), but rare indeed is it that any country investigates itself as honestly as these two commissions did. That’s back-handed praise for Israel; it is more illustrative of how the United States in particular (since it has the most to investigate by far) does so poorly in this regard.
So I’m willing to give an Israeli commission a chance if it is not an obvious sham. The Turkel Commission, investigating the killing of nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara at the end of May, did not begin as an obvious sham. There was plenty of reason for skepticism (not the least of which is the consistency with which Israel has turned to such shams with regard to Gaza), but some seriousness was possible.
That benefit of the doubt has not been whittled away, but blown out of the water.
Several human rights groups were called to testify before the commission. But given the obvious hostility toward them expressed by the commission, the slim chance that the Turkel Commission would be at all serious is now down to none.