Following is a press release from U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, featuring her Congressional remarks quoting the September 29 UN Watch speech to Judge Goldstone, delivered by rocket attack victim Dr. Mirela Siderer, as well as the October 16 UN Watch speech delivered by British hero Col. Richard Kemp.
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on the House’s passage of H. Res. 867, a measure she authored which expresses Congressional support for Israel and opposition to any consideration or endorsement of the “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” commonly referred to as the “Goldstone Report.” (Full remarks from the floor debate follow the press statement). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“In addition to its endemic anti-Israel bias, the Goldstone Report contains ominous implications for the future right of the U.S., Israel, and other sovereign democracies to defend themselves.
“Today, the enemies of freedom at the UN come for Israel. Tomorrow, U.S. acts of self-defense against al-Qaeda and other such groups may result in charges of war crimes and persecution by unaccountable tribunals and other bodies.
“Even in the fog of war, it is clear that Israel took every reasonable measure to minimize the risk of civilian casualties. It is clear that Israel had every right and duty to defend its citizens from the onslaught of rocket and mortar attacks from Hamas and other militants in Gaza.
“The Goldstone Report illustrates the anti-freedom, anti-Israel bias which deeply pervades the UN system, and it does not deserve consideration or legitimacy from responsible nations.”
Floor Statement as delivered by Ros-Lehtinen in support of H. Res. 867:
“This past winter, in Operation Cast Lead, Israel exercised its right as a sovereign nation and its obligation to defend its citizens – and its very existence – against attacks by Hamas and other violent extremist groups in Gaza.
“Israel did so while taking extraordinary measures to minimize the risk of civilian casualties.
“Indeed, as Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, has said [Oct. 16 UN Watch speech to UNHRC]: ‘During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.’
“Then, in January, the Human Rights Council, dominated by dictatorships, voted to authorize a so-called ‘fact-finding mission.’
“Notably, most free, democratic nations did not render their support for this sham.
“The mission’s mandate had nothing to do with fact-finding, and everything to do with persecuting Israel for defending herself.
“The mandate prejudged Israel’s guilt and targeted only Israel.
“And Richard Goldstone agreed to head this mission.
“Mr. Goldstone claims that he got the Human Rights Council President to modify the mandate.
“My colleagues, just as the Speaker of the House cannot unilaterally change a resolution once adopted, neither could the President of the Council change this mandate without the Council’s approval.
“Claims of a revised mandate are false, since the Council did not take any action to approve any modifications.
“Fast forward to September, when the so-called ‘fact-finding mission’ released its report – a 575-page hatchet-job commonly known as the Goldstone Report.
“The report contained sweeping accusations that Israel had deliberately attacked civilians.
“By contrast, the report disregarded evidence that Hamas and other such groups in Gaza used innocents as human shields and deliberately launched attacks from schools, hospitals, and mosques.
“To fully appreciate the Goldstone report’s bias, one need only to look at the testimony [arranged by UN Watch — ed.] of an Israeli doctor whose clinic was hit by a rocket launched from Gaza.
“The doctor, who was severely wounded in the attack and has already undergone seven operations to address her injuries, says:
‘Judge Goldstone, in July you invited me to testify. I told you my story. I testified in good faith. But now I see your report. I have to tell you: I am shocked. Judge Goldstone, in a five-hundred page report, why did you completely ignore my story? I feel humiliated. Why are there only two pages about Israeli victims like me, who suffered thousands of rockets over eight years? Why did you choose to focus on the period of my country’s response, but not on that of the attacks that caused it?’
“Mr. Goldstone claims that the report never sought to deny Israel its right to self-defense.
“But the report sought to cast Israel’s actions in response to rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza, not as carefully-targeted defensive measures, but as the deliberate infliction of violence on civilians.
“This is not surprising. The fact-finding mission includes a member who – even as Operation Cast Lead was taking place in January of 2009 – signed a statement entitled: ‘Israel’s Bombardment of Gaza is Not Self-Defence – It’s a War Crime.’
“Indeed, this statement began by ‘categorically reject[ing]’ Israel’s right to defend herself against such attacks.
“Further, the words ‘self-defense’ or similar terms never appear in the report.
“The report recommended further action by multiple UN bodies, including the General Assembly, Security Council and International Criminal Court.
“The Human Rights Council has already used this report to condemn Israel.
“Tomorrow, the General Assembly will likely do the same.
“As Israel is being ostracized at the UN, violent extremists in Gaza continue to fire rockets and mortars at innocent Israelis – 265 in the last nine months alone.
“Just yesterday, militants in Gaza fired another rocket, which exploded near an Israeli residential area. And Israel’s military intelligence chief stated yesterday that Hamas has test-fired a rocket with a 60-kilometer range – far enough to hit the Tel Aviv area, threatening up to 3 million Israelis.
“Mr. Speaker, we must recognize what is at stake here.
“The Goldstone Report recommends the matter be considered by the International Criminal Court, equating Israel with the genocidal regime in Sudan.
“Today, the enemies of freedom seek to haul the democratic political and military leaders of Israel before an unaccountable court for defending their nation against Hamas.
“But how long before U.S. officials will face the same persecution for defending our nation against al-Qaeda and other such threats?
“So the way forward is obvious: We must support the right of all democracies to defend ourselves and our citizens. We must reaffirm our support for Israel and its efforts to defend herself from violent Islamists and their state sponsors. And we must oppose any attempts to grant consideration or endorsement to this irredeemably biased ‘Goldstone Report.’
“House Resolution 867 achieves all these goals. And 170 of our colleagues who co-sponsored agree.
“My colleagues, we have a choice to make: stand with free, democratic nations or send a message to those who seek Israel’s and America’s destruction, that they can continue unhampered as the UN and its apologists sweep under the proverbial rug incessant attacks like the ones Hamas and other violent extremists launched from Gaza against Israel.
“The choice is clear: Support H. Res. 867.”