During my trip to Israel last week, I visited a new Israeli Army base near the Gaza Strip, built partly with donations from Americans, and chatted with a handful of soldiers. They engage in frequent skirmishes with terrorists trying to cross the border with explosives and weapons, so I wanted their reactions to the UN report that accuses the military of war crimes in the Gaza invasion last year.
The inflammatory report was written by Richard Goldstone, a former South African judge who is Jewish. It is part of what many Israelis see -- correctly, I believe -- as an attempt to delegitimize Israel and turn it into even more of a pariah state, much as South Africa was ostracized during its apartheid years.
Any comparison to South Africa is ridiculous, as is the very notion that Israel alone is to blame for the Mideast's problems. It has a thriving democracy and an innovative economy in a neighborhood of despots and thugs.
The dozen or so soldiers I met were selected by their commanders, but our small group was free to ask any questions we wanted.
"Goldstone doesn't understand the fog of war. It's a lot more complicated than just whether you shoot or don't shoot," said Danny, an American volunteer from Virginia.
James, a Brit from outside London who also volunteered to defend Israel, had only contempt for the second-guessing of soldiers facing life-and-death situations, especially when the enemy hides among civilians and doesn't wear a uniform. "So what's the right thing to do? Just stand there and do nothing?"
Isaac, a 29-year-old Californian, was blunt in expressing a point I heard frequently, and not just in the army.
"I think what the UN did was to look for a Jew who would write that kind of a report," he said. "Goldstone doesn't know anything about Israel. It's so one-sided, it's obvious."
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and a Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.