Israel

Turkel Washing Powder: for the toughest stains

The Turkel Commission, established by the Israeli government to investigate the IDF’s conduct during the bloody Gaza flotilla fiasco, ruled today that (surprise) Israel is totally innocent and did nothing wrong. This parody is circulating on Hebrew-speaking Facebook pages as a result:
“Turkel Washing Powder: for the toughest stains”
turkel-washing-powder
Hat tip Lisa Goldman.
P.S. Al-Jazeera breaks an exclusive Wikileaks-like story of 1,600 leaks papers from the Palestinian Authority detailing a decade of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, dubbed “The Palestine Papers.” Check it out.

34 thoughts on “Turkel Washing Powder: for the toughest stains

  1. I soon as I saw the Turkel Report had come out, I just knew that KFJ would have a post as such.
    Of course the Turkel findings are a parody–they didn’t come out the way that KFJ wanted. Forget that the panel was lead by all sorts of legal scholars, including two non-Israelis. Their ruling is a obviously a farce, for it didn’t go our way.
    The Goldstone Report, on the other hand (which no doubt was also put out by very serious legal scholars) was sound legal work–naturally, because it came out the way we wanted.
    That’s the way these things go–we can’t lose–either it’s the law being carried out (ie, the findings go our way) or a whitewashing (ie, the findings don’t go our way.)

  2. KFJ didn’t really say anything about the report at all other than the sarcastic “surprise” remark… He’s sharing a piece of digital art which he himself did not create. let’s just be clear.

  3. You know how in disaster movies, there’s always some warning before the zombies attack, or the dinos break the fence or something? It’s the cue that the disaster could have been avoided, if only stupid heads (usually men with authority) had listened to the heroes!

  4. The Goldstone Report also called Hamas out for its human rights violations, but never mind that LOOK OVER THERE ISRAEL IS BEING DEMONIZED!!!
    I just find it ironic that this report which lays blame at the feet of the Turks is called “TURKel”.

  5. @B.BarNavi and Justin
    We all know that had the Goldstone Report said that Israel had committed no wrong in Gaza, many here would be criticizing the Report–and Judge Goldstone–severely. A lot of people would have been saying how worthless the Goldstone Report was.
    So, I’ll say now: the Goldstone Report didn’t mean anything . . . and the Turkel findings don’t mean anything.
    These reports/commissions are just a waste of time. We just bring in a bunch of legal scholars who apply the facts of various situations to international legal conventions–which have no real enforcement mechanism. And if the findings go the way we want them to, we say they prove our point. . . if the findings don’t go our way we just try to slander the scholars.
    That’s just the reality.

  6. Jonathan1: I get tired of the knee-jerk loyalty brigades. Just because I have come out against the latest two governmental reports does not mean that I am against every governmental report. My positions are based on sound judgments by third-parties.
    Just as the Goldstone report went far beyond its mandate and employed sloppy jurisprudence (as told to me by a former board member of B’Tselem, who I trust above any common partisan hack), the Turkel Commission was hamstrung and doomed to predetermined outcome from Day One. Which is unlike the investigations Israel has honorably executed in the past, like the Or Commission after October 2000 riots by Israeli Arabs or the Kahan Commission following the Sabra and Shatila massacres in the First Lebanon War.
    I think it’s no accident that as Israeli society sees itself as increasingly the victim, the more unreservedly its inquiries rule it absolutely innocent. These days, the inquiries are led by the IDF of itself and not independent outsiders, and led by politicians and not qualified judges/experts, and so on. Even without looking at the objective facts provided by opposing governments as verified by human rights bodies case-by-case, we see that the commitment to honest self-inquiry is being abandoned by the most right-wing government Israel has had in 30 years.

  7. I get tired of the knee-jerk loyalty brigades.
    Which is unlike the investigations Israel has honorably executed in the past, like the Or Commission after October 2000 riots by Israeli Arabs or the Kahan Commission following the Sabra and Shatila massacres in the First Lebanon War.
    Case in point.
    How about this. Can you provide an example of ONE Israeli/UN inquiry, or Israeli High Court decision which was honorably executed–in your opinion–but went completely the opposite way you wanted it to. Just ONE.

  8. Sadly, Israel has remained alone it its “commitment to honest self-inquiry,” as none of it’s adversaries have EVER shared this commitment (or anything that even resembles it). Please point to even ONE report prepared by the PA or neighbor of Israel in which they scrutinize their own actions.
    I do agree with KFJ in his characterization of Goldstone as “common partisan hack” though 😉

  9. @Jonathan1: Interesting question. I’d have to think about it. There are lots, but their methodology didn’t warrant the focus of debate. Certainly the court ruling for Bil’in that rerouted the wall around most of their village, but not all, is certainly one that I recognize had the right data, spirit and (at long last) execution by the IDF even if I disagreed that not all of the village deserved to be saved.
    @Curious: It doesn’t matter to internal Israeli politics whether the neighbors next door are better or worse. It matters that Israel will unhealthily avoid truth whenever it hurts, until matters avoided explode in their face.
    And just to clarify, my comment about common partisan hacks doesn’t apply to Richard Goldstone, but most of the Jewish community who condemned the report(and him) before the report was ever issued. See Letty Cottin-Pogrebin’s excellent editorial on the conduct of our elders.

  10. I find it ironic that a painfully self-conscious society that consistently scrutinizes its own actions (even if it is not to the degree that you would prefer) is accused of “avoid[ing] truth whenever it hurts.”
    Internal politics aside, I’m curious why the UN doesn’t hold Israeli’s adversaries to the same standards (any standards?) of self scrutiny and why the UN would chose to be complicit in the flotilla charade. It makes the UN look like a joke.
    There’s a fundamental dishonesty in the debate, in which Israel is held to completely different standards, and frankly it baffles me.

  11. KFJ takes the side of Hamas, Iran and Erdogan, again. Boring. Why don’t we just recycle the comments we all made half a year ago, when Turkel… ehrm… Goldstone was being smeared, and so on, but in reverse.

  12. @Curious and Victor:
    I think plenty people complain all the time about the UN’s double-standard, but couldn’t name any of the UN resolutions at anyone BUT Israel. Have we all been reading about the UN inquiry into the assassination of Hariri? Or the UN’s attention on Iran’s nuclear program or the UN’s resolutions regarding Iran’s violation of human rights?
    Also, I find complaints about the UN’s treating Israel like a modern nation-state but not terrorist groups foolishly misplaced. The United Nations and the Geneva Conventions are social contracts between nation-states, of which Israel voluntarily joined and Hezbollah and Hamas reject. Quite the contrary, most conservatives have argued that terrorist groups not be recognized as legitimate players on the global stage.
    Despite that however, have both of you forgotten that the Goldstone report also laid charges of war crimes at the feet of Hamas?
    Perhaps this knowledge and these distinctions fall on deaf ears.

  13. Israel is the stronger party. Until the Zionist cat is successfully belled, the UN and most of the world will see that as the primary goal.

  14. KFJ — Do you see anything disproportionate in the amount of attention the UN devotes to Israel and the intensity with which the UN scrutinizes Israel in comparison to other nations, regions, conflicts?
    The UN has zero credibility. It’s corrupt to the core.

  15. KFJ, let’s be serious. The very existence of Hamas, as it is currently constituted and governs, much less every act of war it makes against Israel, is illegal under “international law” (don’t get your panties in knot, Jonathan, it does exist) and a crime against humanity. The entire organizational, operational and leadership structure is implicated in deliberate acts of war designed to achieve, as their primary objective, civilian mass murder.
    That Goldstone appended a paragraph, pointing a trembling, poorly sourced finger at Hamas, to five hundred pages of anti-Israel bile is a bone thrown to starving dogs.
    But, as I said, and as you know, we’ve had this conversation many times. Is there really a need to get into it again? I don’t think you’re a bad person for being manipulated into playing the role of what some would call, perhaps unhelpfully, a “useful idiot”. Stand up for truth and justice, as you usually do, and I’ll listen. Speak up for an Islamist terrorist movement with the blood of innocents on its hands – not by accident, or incident, but by design – and I won’t.

  16. Victor: That Goldstone appended a paragraph, pointing a trembling, poorly sourced finger at Hamas, to five hundred pages of anti-Israel bile is a bone thrown to starving dogs.
    Actually, he did a lot more than that.
    Section VIII. OBLIGATION ON PALESTINIAN ARMED GROUPS IN GAZA TO TAKE FEASIBLE PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT THE CIVILIAN POPULATION, paragraphs 439-498.
    Section XVIII. THE CONTINUING DETENTION OF ISRAELI SOLDIER GILAD SHALIT, paragraphs 1336-1344.
    Section XIX. INTERNAL VIOLENCE AND TARGETING OF FATAH AFFILIATES BY SECURITY SERVICES UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GAZA AUTHORITIES, paragraphs 1345-1372.
    Section XXIII. INTERNAL VIOLENCE, TARGETING OF HAMAS SUPPORTERS AND RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND EXPRESSION BY THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, paragraphs 1550-1589.
    Section XXIV. THE IMPACT ON CIVILIANS OF ROCKET AND MORTAR ATTACKS BY PALESTINIAN ARMED GROUPS ON SOUTHERN ISRAEL, paragraphs 1594-1691.
    It’s a long report, and much of it is concerned with Israel. I’d argue that’s not necessarily improper, since Israel is a vastly superior military force, and sustained far fewer casualties (not that the Israeli lives lost are less valuable than others).
    The Israeli government provides the lowest estimate of Palestinians killed: 1,166. I don’t point out that it’s the lowest as a smear – it’s pretty standard for the army estimate to be the lowest in this sort of situation. Israel also counts 13 Israelis killed (all of these numbers are taken from the Report’s executive summary). Did the report really focus unduly on Israel’s conduct?
    Bear with me here – I don’t want to dehumanize, but I think these numbers are interesting.
    1,166 Pal. casulaties ÷ 13 Israeli casualties = ~90 (units?).
    Total paragraphs evaluating Palestinian actions (from above): 230.
    Total paragraphs in the report (not including summary): 1668.
    Total paragraphs evaluating Israeli actions: 1668-230 = 1438.
    1438/230 = ~6.25.
    In other words, although 90 times as many Palestinians as Israelis were killed, the report spends only 6.25 times as much time evaluating the actions of Israel (which were ostensibly responsible for the Palestinian deaths). Clearly the situation is a good deal more complicated than simple numbers (many of the Palestinian civilian deaths are attributable to Hamas’ actions). There are lots of other ways of measuring the quality of the report. Discussing them usually provides very interesting conversations, which I always learn a lot from, so I don’t want my comments here to be seen as trying to shut down debate. But I’m tired of the notion that the report ignores Palestinian actions. As these numbers show, it in fact spends a disproportionate (in terms of relative damage done, 90/6.25=14.4 times as much) amount of time discussing them.

  17. Hear hear to RB.
    So, Milosevich was sentenced to prison in what legal capacity and jurisdiction?
    Google it: United Nations Resolution 827, for violations of the Geneva Conventions while he was President. I don’t see what point you were trying to make there.
    That Goldstone appended a paragraph, pointing a trembling, poorly sourced finger at Hamas, to five hundred pages of anti-Israel bile is a bone thrown to starving dogs.
    Shame that Israel didn’t participate in the inquiry then, huh? Like the top jurists of Israel recommended at the time.
    Speak up for an Islamist terrorist movement with the blood of innocents on its hands – not by accident, or incident, but by design – and I won’t.
    Nobody is “standing up” for Hamas or Hezbollah, Victor, and you should know better than to accuse us so. But if you insist on Israel’s 100% innocence, you’re going to face some diligent fact-checking here. The evidence is quite to the contrary. Between “Israel is always wrong” and “Israel is never wrong,” the truth lies.

  18. The Milosevich point is a side argument I’m having with Jonathan1 about whether there is such a thing as international law.
    RB, you’re illustrating the great divide between us. Where I come from, killing more of your enemy in war is good. I wish Israel had killed another 10,000 Hamasniks, degrading that organization’s fighting capacity beyond restoration, without any Israeli casualties, but you seem to think that would have justified several thousand pages more of condemnation against Israel.
    What a strange way to think, that your own casualties are an asset and your enemy’s casualties are a detriment to one’s position in pseudo legal proceedings.
    The world isn’t an abstraction, RB, to be rotated in your mind. When people shoot rockets hoping to murder your family, you don’t theorize about how to fight war fairly; You put bullets through their bodies until they stop twitching, and then you move on to whoever sent them, and whoever financed them, and you keep killing whoever needs killing, at the lowest possible cost to you, until everyone who sat around a big smoky room planning your family’s funeral are all dead. Maybe you’re just lacking in life experience, I don’t know. I think I understood these things when I was your age.
    KFJ, I am only accusing you of standing up for the positions of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Erdogan, no one else. As I said, that doesn’t make you a bad person, but it impacts your credibility in these conversations. I’m not expecting you to agree or to change, so don’t worry about it.
    Have you heard anything about fallout from the Ackerman letter? Has it had any impact on JStreet’s position?

  19. United Nations Resolution 827, for violations of the Geneva Conventions while he was President. I don’t see what point you were trying to make there
    You are giving an example of how international law doesn’t exist. In this case, all sorts of political/diplomatic reasons led to the ICTY, which tried Milosevich (if I remember correctly it was the ICTY.) And he was then convicted under UNR 827 and for violating the Geneva Conventions.) The problem is that this was the .01% of time that this sort of thing happened under a UN Resolution.
    Nations violate UNGA and UNSC resolutions every day, with impugnity. Even more, unless a special tribunal (like the ICTY) is set up, there is nothing resembling a judicial method to decide if such Resolutions are actually violated. And even if something like that does happen–see the Goldstone Report–there is no avenue of enforcement or redress.
    Let’s look closer to home. Are Jewish communities in the West Bank a violation of the Geneva Conventions? I’m pretty sure that KFJ will make an argument that they are, and the Victor will argue that they aren’t. I’m pretty sure I too could make a very good argument from both sides. So, who decides the verdict here? Me? BZ? DAMW? RB? Nobody decides, because there is no judicial mechanism–nothing that resembles domestic courts, to which just about everybody in, say, the US defers to–even if there is a place like the ICJ, only countries in that treaty commit themselves to follow the court’s verdicts–and that doesn’t even happen so much. Who then enforces the verdict? Jew Guevera?
    Nobody, because law only exists in the sense that a given society abides by it, and that the society abides by Law’s enforcement mechanism. That’s just not the case on an international scale.

  20. Everything you wrote is true. However, this doesn’t mean that international law doesn’t exist; only that it’s selectively enforced under a specific alignment of will, capability and circumstance. There are some, many in Europe, who wish to make enforcement more typical than not, albeit, more cynically, to enhance their own interests.
    Look, I agree with you that national sovereignty reigns supreme – the international system is based on nation states and their interests, not transnational institutions. That doesn’t mean that international law doesn’t exist, however. The UN Charter, to which all nations, as far as I’m aware, have agreed to, delineates certain responsibilities which states have to meet, which they might otherwise not. Likewise, broad-based (but not universal) international agreements impose something approaching common civic standards on governments, including those which are not a party to them.
    You don’t like the word “law”, because it has a specific meaning, and I understand that, so allow me to restate the matter. International Law is not about justice, it is about competing national interests.
    Although, one could also make the case that national law is not about justice either, but about competing societal interests. What makes law just? Is it majority or super-majority consent? Is that really justice, or mob rule? All good questions.

  21. Where I come from, killing more of your enemy in war is good.
    I’ve got little taste for this kind of violent rhetoric. In general, I support less killing, not more. To that end, when someone kills people, I find it worthwhile to examine their motivations and methods.
    What a strange way to think, that your own casualties are an asset and your enemy’s casualties are a detriment to one’s position in pseudo legal proceedings.
    Not all of those killed were “enemies.” Many were civilians.
    When people shoot rockets hoping to murder your family, you don’t theorize about how to fight war fairly…
    Actually, this is precisely what the rules of war are for – to prevent the kind of disproportionate action that Israel took during Cast Lead.
    KFJ takes the side of Hamas, Iran and Erdogan, again.

    KFJ, I am only accusing you of standing up for the positions of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Erdogan, no one else.

    I’ll paraphrase what you’re asking to show how it looks from the outside (and it may well be that you don’t intend it like this):
    KFJ, are you now, or have you ever been, a defender of Hamas?
    Or perhaps you’d prefer The Crucible, Act III:
    But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there is no road between.
    Either way, you’re unfairly assigning to KFJ a viewpoint that it doesn’t seem he holds.

  22. The bottom line is that, under that rare alignment of will, capability and circumstance, international law does exist – a judgment is made and enforcement is carried out. That should end the debate over whether international law exists, because in some instances, it obviously does. The argument we should be having is whether international law is consistent, or just, and whether we should be working to make it more so, or not.

  23. RB, that you have no taste for violent rhetoric is my point, precisely. War is about achieving objectives by killing people, by snuffing out life. That it makes you uncomfortable was precisely why I wrote it in that explicit manner. Arbitrating fairness in war is nonsensical. Is it ever fair to lose a war? Do you understand what kind of damage to flesh a piece of metal traveling at supersonic speed does? Is it fair that anyone is on the receiving end of having their arm blown off? From whose perspective? It’s nonsensical. War is not a controlled environment. The laws of war delineate conduct, not fairness.
    I won’t even get into the principle of proportionality, or that of distinction, because you seem not to be very well informed about what these words actually mean. Start with Wikipedia.
    You seem to treat life as an abstraction in which you are a presiding jurist and not a participating actor. As I said, it makes me question the depth of your life experience.
    As for KFJ, it’s true, he doesn’t support Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and Erdogan. He merely seems to hold similar positions as those actors with regards to IDF operations in Gaza and on board the flotilla. Erdogan and Hamas think the Turkel probe was a whitewash and that the blockade of Gaza is illegal. So does KFJ. I think that’s fair.

  24. For the record, my brand of vigilante justice could never meet international juridical standards. Not sure what combination of iron wall and humiliation would suffice, but I’d like the settler community leaderless, hungry, separated, devoid of both hope and faith and ruled by armed fanatics. But physically unharmed of course.
    Sort of like how Israel keeps Gaza. Hey, it’s working, right?

  25. The laws of war delineate conduct, not fairness.
    They delineate conduct that is judged to be fair or warranted, given the context. If you want to discuss the accuracy or applicability of that judgment, we can do that.
    As for KFJ, it’s true, he doesn’t support Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and Erdogan. He merely seems to hold similar positions as those actors with regards to IDF operations in Gaza and on board the flotilla.
    Not liking the implication of guilt by association here.

  26. No, there is no “fairness” clause or concept in the legal thinking about war. You imposed an obscure, subjective abstraction on a subject matter you don’t understand. Distinction and proportionality. Please go read what they mean.
    “Not liking the implication of guilt by association here.”
    There is no guilt, but clearly there is association, and I don’t like it any more than you do. I wish people like KFJ did not sometimes advance positions which are in parallel with the interests of Islamist terror movements.
    Btw, have any of you read Gadi Taub’s recent interview? It’s the most persuasive advocacy of two states I’ve read in years. A beautiful relic of the once Zionist left. Jonathan1, I think you’ll like this:
    justjournalism.com/the-wire/just-journalism-interview-gadi-taub-on-herzl-settlements-and-the-israeli-left/

  27. As for KFJ, it’s true, he doesn’t support Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and Erdogan. He merely seems to hold similar positions as those actors with regards to IDF operations in Gaza and on board the flotilla.
    Victor, this has to be the most willfully intellectually dishonest thing you’ve said here. Similar positions? Similar positions?
    Give me a fucking break.

  28. @Victor.
    I guess I more or less agree with Taub, although I have some sympathy with the view of the annexationists as well, who state that the threat of a bi-national state is less than the threat of a Palestinian state–although they seem to ignore Gaza in this equation.

  29. Ok, KFJ, fine, you and Hamas should not be in the same sentence. May I associate you with the views of MK Zoabi then?
    MK Zoabi accused the Turkel committee of trying to whitewash the deaths of the nine Turkish activists who were killed during the raid, and said the committee had been used as “an open stage for propaganda” as it allowed military and state officials to speak uninterrupted and without objection.
    “This is an Israeli committee with very limited authority, which has totally ignored the sensitive issue that raised the need for an investigation, and that is the deaths of nine activists on board,” she said.
    “This report cannot clean up Israel’s image as a serial violator of international law in the global arena,” Zoabi added. “The Turkel report was written in order to undermine demands by Turkey and the UN for an international probe… the only way in which facts can be presented faithfully and honestly.”

  30. KFJ, RB,
    It’s jews like you that give our people a bad name. We (you) are truly our own worst enemy. Did something happen to you back at a religious school tubshvat seder? maybe on a solomon schechter trip to Washington? did you never get picked for a snowball dance? What is it that makes jews like you’s loath your own people and place?
    Frankly i see this site (at least much of it and the bloggers that participate) as the ultimate case-in-point failure of the american Jewish establishment – then again as respectable hipsters you probably view yourselves as anti-establishment…

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