Most people who criticize the Goldstone report in the US have never been to Gaza, not even before Cast Lead. But Congressman Brian Baird from the state of Washington (D) visited the strip after the Israeli offensive, and these are the wise and sensitive words he had for his fellow legislators, just before an overwhelming majority of them (344-36) backed a resolution calling “the President and Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the [Goldstone] Report“:
Brian Baird is coming from a district that split almost equally between Democrats and Republicans – it went 53-47 to Obama in the 2008 elections – so his approach cannot be seen as an attempt to please the West Coast liberals (which don’t like him very much anyway, after he opposed the health care bill on Saturday’s vote). It seems that his February visit to Gaza – he was in Israel and traveled to Sderot as well – really made him question the administration’s unequivocal support of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
Speaking of Gaza, it’s defiantly worth taking the time to read the New Yorker’s long piece describing the situation on the ground in the strip. A friend who visits Gaza regularly wrote me that although the article is far from perfect – it missed on how much the siege strengthened Hamas, and often took the IDF’s version of events for granted – it is still a “fairly good” account of the atmosphere. It’s a shame though that such a piece can be written and published only by international media. Israeli editors know just too well that their readers won’t care for such stories.