The Goldstone Report was named for Judge Richard Goldstone who led the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) inquiry into Operation Cast Lead, the Gaza War, provoked by thousands of missile fired by Hamas into Israel’s Negev communities.
Goldstone’s report to the HRC concluded there was a deliberate policy by Israel to target civilians. It claimed to have found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by the Jewish State.
In a spectacular reversal, this past Friday Goldstone published a mea culpa in the Washington Post. He no longer believes that Israel deliberately targeted civilians, and now believes Hamas was the war criminal.
“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 that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
Sorry Judge, when first published it should have been a different document.
Goldstone’s investigative committee threw any standards of investigation out the window. The report violated international standards for inquires, including UN rules on fact- finding. The Commission systematically favored witnesses and evidence put forward by anti-Israel advocates including Hamas, and dismissed evidence and testimony that would undermine its case. For example it ruled that Hamas did not use its own citizens as human shields despite a wealth of video evidence. The commission relied extensively on mediating agencies, especially UN and NGOs, which have a documented hostility to Israel (such as Human Rights Watch); and reproduced earlier reports and claims from these agencies.
The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”
Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.
That was one of the problems with Goldstone’s report. It went without saying.
The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
Goldstone goes on to scold the organization which sent him on his mission, the UN Human Rights Council and urged them to condemn terrorism:
“I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of even handedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.
… I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes; Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.
In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.”
In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.
It’s a positive development that Goldstone has decided to correct the record, but it doesn’t absolve him of producing an inflammatory biased investigation. Like the al Durrah hoax, Goldstone’s slander is used by Israel’s opponents to incite terrorism and de-legitimatize the Jewish State.
Judge Goldstone uses Israel’s lack of cooperation with his investigation as an excuse but he admits that the HRC’s “history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.” Why would he expect Israel to cooperate with an investigation authorized by a biased organization? And if he knew that the HRC is biased against Israel, why would he agree to participate in the investigation and why would he publish a one-sided report to give the HRC more ammunition?
One explanation may be Ken Roth, the disgraced head of Human Right Watch (HRW) Roth has a vested interest in the Goldstone Report. He put him up to taking the HRC investigation in the first place. Goldstone was on HRW’s board until NGO Monitor exposed the conflict of interest. Roth’s rabidly Anti-Israel positions have even been criticized by HRW’s founder.
In October 2009, HRW founder Robert Bernstein published an article in the New York Times, strongly criticizing the organization for ignoring severe human rights violations in closed societies, for its anti-Israel bias, and for “issuing reports…that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” In a lecture at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (November 2010), Bernstein expanded on these ideas and noted that “Human Rights Watch’s attacks on almost every issue [have] become more and more hostile [toward Israel].”
In the end doesn’t matter, as an adult the Judge needs to take responsibility for his own actions. Despite correcting the record, he didn’t take responsibility in last week’s op-ed. The Judge seems to be saying, Israel didn’t cooperate so I wrote a biased report and now I am sorry.
Judge, you should be very sorry.