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J Street, Peace Now want changes to resolution slamming Goldstone report

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Several Jewish groups are backing a bipartisan congressional resolution condemning the Goldstone report, but J Street and Americans for Peace Now say they cannot support the measure as written.

AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, the Orthodox Union and the Zionist Organization of America are among the pro-Israel organizations that are supporting the legislation, which is co-sponsored by the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), and a ranking member, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

The resolution calls the report on the Gaza war "irredeemably biased" and urges the Obama administration to oppose any endorsement or further consideration of the report in multilateral forums. The Goldstone report charged that both Israel and Hamas were guilty of war crimes during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead last winter.

"Congress is sending a strong message that the United States will not stand for turning the victim into the perpetrator," said AIPAC spokesman Josh Block.

J Street said it was not urging Congress to oppose the resolution, but said it would instead support an amended version calling on the United States to "oppose and work actively to defeat one-sided and biased action" in the United Nations regarding the Goldstone report.

Among other things, J Street wants the resolution to include a call for both the Palestinians and Israelis to launch independent investigations into their conduct during the Gaza conflict. J Street also rejects the idea of opposing any further consideration of the report by the United Nations, saying the United States should  oppose any U.N. resolution that "unfairly focuses" on Israel or refers charges against Israel to the International Criminal Court.

Americans for Peace Now also called on Israel to launch its own independent investigation of alleged human rights violation during the Gaza military operation and said it had "serious reservations" about the congressional resolution. It did not propose changes but, like J Street, also said it was not opposing the bill.

"We do not believe that Israel or the cause of peace is aided by a Congressional effort that, however well-intentioned, is focused solely on denouncing the Goldstone Report and its authors and dismissing its findings," Americans for Peace Now said in a statement.

 

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