The Motives of Russia’s Pro-Gaza Vote

Online political newsletter Counter Punch has posted an interesting piece on Russia’s decision to endorse the Goldstone Gaza report in the United Nations Human Rights Council last week.  Although I can’t agree with the broad summation that Russia’s vote indicates a black-and-white pro-justice stance, given that its human rights record on other foreign policy issues is so poor.  The contradiction just goes to show that political decisions that appear to be made benevolently in the interests of human rights usually have some ulterior driving point.  In this case, the motives may not be clear, but you can bet there’s something other than concern for human kindness at work here…

Israel began courting Russia, hoping to build bridges and to enlist Moscow in its cause. Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Moldova-born Foreign minister, met ten times with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov; Netanyahu flew to Moscow on a “secret mission” for a talk with Medvedev, and President Peres met with Medvedev in Sochi. They wanted Russian support for Iran sanctions and for silencing the Goldstone report. They said to the Russians that it would create a dangerous precedent: If today they judge Israeli ministers and generals for Gaza, tomorrow they will judge Russian ministers and generals for Chechnya. This is a false comparison: Chechens are Russian citizens with full rights, Gazans have no rights at all; Chechens are free to travel and live in Moscow or elsewhere, Gazans are not allowed to leave their concentration camp. Though Russia’s campaign against Chechen separatists was bloody and cruel, it could not be compared with the cold-blooded murder the Israelis unleashed on Gaza.