At 5PM EST today, you can watch a live debate between Judge Richard Goldstone - of Goldstone Commission fame - and Dore Gold, now of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, formerly the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. Their debate comes one day after the House of Representatives dismissed the Goldstone report as a sham and as the UN General Assembly deliberates over a non-binding resolution to refer the report to the Security Council (bit of a foregone conclusion, that one.)
It has always stricken me how landslide votings are considered proof of the justness of the vote when done by the US Congress, but of antisemitic prejudice when done by the UN. Cohen thinks (OK, he actually doesn't, but haven't you heard about figures of speech) that the US Congress's resolution, unlike the UN General Assembly's, was not a foregone conclusion. It was a reflection of the American lawmakers' careful and thorough reading of the Goldstone report, and not of their fear of being targetted by a smear campaign if they supported the document. There's a world of difference between them and the countries that automatically voted for the resolution at the General Assembly without having even paid a cursory look at it.
An impartial reader (same observation as before re figures of speech) might, however, wonder if the UN actually has a pattern of knee-jerk anti-Israel voting, like Cohen would have us believe. It turns out not. While the General Assembly did vote to equate (correctly but unnecessarily) Zionism to racism in 1975, it voted to repeal the equation in 1992. Israel has been censured many times, but it has never (yes, that's never) been subjected to sanctions. Meanwhile, Iraq, one of Israel's foes, was met with sanctions by the Security Council. Also, while Israel has been allowed to develop WMDs, Iran, another foe of Israel, has been ordered to stop its nuclear program, despite its having rigorously complied with international regulations in the field. And who can forget that it was the UN General Assembly that voted to partition Palestine in 1947?
The US Congress, by contrast, has solidly thrown its support behind Israel. It has many times repudiated Israel's enemies and even mild critics, but it has never criticized Israel. The most striking fact is how swiftly both houses move to express their unconditional support for the Jewish state when there's no actual need for the vote. We all know that when the Goldstone report gets to the Security Council it will be killed by the US under direct orders from Hillary Clinton with the Congress playing no role whatsoever. However, showing their lapdogness to the Lobby will have favorable repercussions for the genuflected legislators, for instance in terms of campaign donations.
This contrasts with the Congress's foot-dragging over other votes that might have a potentially greater importance. Case in point, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, which would recognize the slaughter of 1.5 M Armenians by the Turkish state. It was passed by a House committee, and then -- put to sleep. And guess what was the most important private American institution that opposed the bill?
So that when pro-Israel forces want a resolution passed, Congress rushes to overwhelmingly vote for it; but when pro-Israel forces don't want a resolution passed, Congress rushes to shelve it. But the only Pavlovian voters, they have the chutzpah to tell us, are those at the UN General Assembly.