Jewish News vs Goldstone
The headline (April 8 2011) screams ‘Mea culpa’ with a pic of him. The subtitle is “Eighteen months after slating Israel in his infamous report to the United Nations, Richard Goldstone has admitted that many of his allegations were simply wrong”.
I guess it didn’t want to let facts interfere with reality on this one. I just want to remind everyone of something though.
Danger: minefield ahead
THE Goldstone Commission Report on Gaza, released on Tuesday, has the potential of being a minefield for Israel. The report is the latest in a parade of critical reports on Israel initiated by the United Nations (UN).
The boilerplate argument that the report should not be taken seriously because the UN has a historic bias against Israel ‚Äì a charge that is not unfounded ‚Äì will not be enough to counter this particular report, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Justice Richard Goldstone, in accepting the UN‚Äôs request to lead the inquest, lent credibility to the process that it would not otherwise have had. A highly regarded figure on the international human rights scene with experience in the prosecution of war crimes, Goldstone commands respect.
Goldstone‚Äôs presence also deflects criticism for the report by the fact that he is Jewish and has had a good relationship with Israel in the past.
Secondly, the United States has now joined the Human Rights Council (HRC), which commissioned the report. No longer can the HRC be so easily dismissed as a biased and hypocritical fringe body -‚Äì not when US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have bestowed upon it tacit legitimacy through US participation.
Israel made a decision not to cooperate with the Goldstone inquiry, on the basis that the probe was conceived in bias -‚Äì launched upon the assumption that Israel had committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.
Would it have made any difference had Israel cooperated? Probably not. The instances of ‚Äúwar crimes‚Äù cited in the report were apparently all known allegations, raised previously by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which Israel had either refuted or were already in the process of independently investigating for prosecution by Israeli courts.
It would be tempting for Israel, given its belief and contention that the report is a sham, to simply criticise its findings, hunker down over the high holy days and pray for the storm to pass -‚Äì ideally with American support. The US, after all, has defended Israel from vicious attack in the UN many times before.
It would, however, be a mistake. The Israeli government must keep its emotions in check and take this report very seriously -‚Äì refute what it can refute, and continue to work towards vigorously prosecuting the rest. The consequences of misplaying its hand on this would be grave.
Their webpage appears faulty. But I just wrote it out in full because I wouldn’t be surprised if it mysteriously disappeared.