Saturday, April 02, 2011

2-Apr-11: Quotes of the week: Judge Goldstone - too little and much too late

On Friday, Judge Richard Goldstone, principal author of a UN report bearing his name, published an extraordinary confessional in the pages of the Washington Post. It starts with these words:
"We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council..."
The editor of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, writing with his customary eloquence, pays close attention to Goldstone's words and places them into a thoroughly deserved moral context:
"Yom Kippur has evidently come early this year for Richard Goldstone.
He couldn’t quite bring himself, in his Friday article “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and War Crimes,” to write, “I have sinned, forgive me.”  But the astounding piece in the Washington Post by the Jewish justice, who presided over the Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, represents nothing less than an apology to Israel.
“If I had known then what I know now,” he writes in the first extraordinary paragraph of his mea culpa, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
How dramatic the about-face.
And how terrible that it was necessitated.  How tragic, that is, that Goldstone so misplaced his moral compass in the first place as to have produced a report that has caused such irreversible damage to Israel’s good name. Tragic least of all for the utterly discredited Goldstone himself, and most of all for our unfairly besmirched armed forces and the country they were putting their lives on the line to honorably defend against a ruthless, murderous, terrorist government in Gaza...
An apology just isn’t good enough. The very least he owes Israel is to work unstintingly from now on to try to undo the damage he has caused.
Yom Kipper came early this year for Richard Goldstone.
His show of penitence has come far too late."
We believe Goldstone's report did more harm to the global struggle against terrorism than any other single action anywhere and any time. We hope the Horovitz article gets read in full and distributed as widely as possible.

UPDATE Sunday morning: The acerbic British columnist Melanie Phillips has weighed in with a plain-speaking, no-holds-barred dissection of Goldstone's mea culpa:
What self-serving rubbish. There was ample evidence at the time from numerous sources that Hamas was telling lies about the number of civilians who were killed by Israeli fire. There was ample evidence that Hamas was deliberately putting civilians in harm’s way. There was ample evidence that Hamas does not operate under the rule of law or uphold human rights. There was ample evidence that Israeli rules of engagement required the IDF to avoid hitting civilians wherever possible. There was ample evidence that Israel always investigates allegations of misconduct made against its soldiers and holds them to acount under the rule of law. Yet Goldstone, having accepted the poisoned chalice from the UN Human Rights Council to subject Israel to a show trial whose verdict preceded the evidence (despite his protestations that he modified this odious remit), chose to believe the propaganda put out by Hamas... Like all previous blood libels against the Jews, the poison this one has injected into the global bloodstream has no antidote. The damage is done – and no amount of self-serving recantations by Richard Goldstone will undo the terrible harm he has done.
Her article is here.


Atlanta Roofing said...

In terms of future lessons the most obvious should be that if Israel wants to be treated fairly by the UN they should cooperate with such investigations instead of stonewalling. If Goldstone is correct, it was precisely Israel's intransigence that led to the report being one sided. You can't blame a court for a suspect who refuses to defend themselves.

The View from Ramot said...

We don't agree with you.

Starting with the explicitly political views of the 'judges', and the prejudicial reference under which they worked (that made it clear Israel was guilty before the work got started), this fact-finding panel's process was far from a judicial proceeding, despite the involvement of one judge.

David Horovitz, whom we quoted here, says very well why Israeli co-operation with this travesty would have made a bad situation worse:

"To have formally subjected itself to examination by his committee and the institutionally biased UN Human Rights Council that had formed it – a bias which Goldstone now acknowledges in his article – would merely have given his work greater purported credibility. Notwithstanding that absent formal cooperation, however, the truth about what happened in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 – the truth that Goldstone now disingenuously claims to have discovered only after he filed his malicious indictment of the IDF and of Israel – was readily available to him at the time. Israel did informally make the necessary information available to his committee in the shape of detailed reports on what had unfolded. And open sources, honestly evaluated, left no doubt that Hamas was the provocateur, that Hamas was deliberately placing Palestinians in harm’s way, that Hamas was lying about the proportion of combatants among the Gaza dead."