Sunday, April 3, 2011

Richard Goldstone of The 'Goldstone Report' Has Second Thoughts on What he Lent His Name to

Scott Johnson of PowerLineBlog puts it pretty succinctly in his post titled "What you mean "we," putz?". The information Goldstone has apparently just discovered is not news to anyone who has been seriously paying attention. Hamas uses the citizens of Gaza as human shields while intentionally targeting Israeli civilians. Israel incurs more casualties trying to protect the people in Gaza from collateral damage then could reasonably be expected of a nation under constant attack; especially considering the insidious nature of that attack.

"The South African jurist Richard Goldstone is a fool and a knave. He lent his name to a lengthy report issued under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report accused Israel of massive war crimes in the war Israel waged against Hamas in 2008-2009, commenced by Israel after Hamas and friends had fired more than 12,000 rockets at Israel (every one of which was criminal).

Goldstone now has second thoughts. In a column published in yesterday's Washington Post, Goldstone performs his version of a tribute to Emily Litella:

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.

To paraphrase the old joke: what you mean "we," putz? Here I would like to associate myself with the comments of John Podhoretz:

That Richard Goldstone did not know in 2009 that Hamas is a terrorist monstrosity which functions parasitically off civilian populaces while Israel is a beacon of war-fighting restraint in a manner practically unknown in the course of human history suggests even more plainly than the report itself that he is a dupe, a fool, a clown, and a worldwide embarrassment. Not to mention a special kind of reprehensible and appalling figure of inglorious, hideous shame to his own people through the delivery and promulgation of a false document that helped anti-Semites everywhere feel themselves justified.

He was then, and is now, an entirely despicable public figure--and so is his op-ed, by the way, which continues to act as though it is appropriate to draw parallel inferences about Hamas and the state of Israel. It would be right for world Jewry that his name be hereafter summoned as we summon Benedict Arnold's, or Tokyo Rose's.

Jonathan Tobin, Ron Radosh, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Melanie Philips also have comments worth reading on Goldston'e column. Memeorandum has more here.


  1. 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.

  2. anti-zionist4/04/2011 3:54 PM

    Every now and again many liberal Jews seem to liberate themselves and allow their conscience, rather than their fear, to lead them. However, many seem unable stick to their more universalist inclinations for too long where Israel is concerned. The risk of being defined as a "self-hating Jew" with all the ramifications of such an accusation is a real and frightening prospect for them. You have to be in this position to understand the power of this terror.
    Just weeks ago, Israeli military intelligence announced it had created a special unit to monitor, confront, and possibly hunt down, individuals and bodies suspected of "delegitimizing" Israel abroad. In light of this, perhaps quite a few of the faint-hearted felt standing up to Israel was not worth it.
    We should have recognized that Goldstone was one of them when he stated that, despite his report, he remains a Zionist. This adjective, "Zionist," is far more meaningful and charged than is usually assumed. You cannot claim to be one if you oppose the ideology of the apartheid State of Israel. You can remain one if you just rebuke the state for a certain criminal policy and fail to see the connection between the ideology and that policy. "I am a Zionist" is a declaration of loyalty to a frame of mind that cannot accept the 2009 Goldstone Report. You can either be a Zionist or blame Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity -- if you do both, you will crack sooner rather than later...
    Ever since the creation of the State of Israel, the tens of thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel were either terrorists or killed by "mistake." So 29 out of 1,400 deaths were killed by an unfortunate mistake? Only ideological commitment could base a revision of the report on an internal inquiry of the Israeli army focusing only on one of dozens of instances of unlawful killing and massacring. So it cannot be new evidence that caused Goldstone to write this article. Rather, it is his wish to return to the Zionist comfort zone that propelled this bizarre and faulty article.
    ...We have been there before. In the late 1980s, Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote a similar, sterile, account of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Palestinian academics such as Edward Said, Nur Masalha and Walid Khalidi were the ones who pointed to the significant implications for Israel's identity and self-image, and nature of the archival material he unearthed.
    Morris too cowered under pressure and asked to be re-admitted to the tribe. He went very far with his mea culpa and re-emerged as an extreme anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racist: suggesting putting the Arabs in cages and promoting the idea of another ethnic cleansing. Goldstone can go in that direction too; or at least this is what the Israelis expect him to do now.

  3. anti zionist4/04/2011 3:55 PM

    Professionally, both Morris and Goldstone tried to retreat to a position that claimed, as Goldstone does in The Washington Post article, that Israel can only be judged by its intentions not the consequences of its deeds. Therefore only the Israeli army, in both cases, can be a reliable source for knowing what these intentions were. Very few decent and intelligent people in the world would accept such a bizarre analysis and explanation.

    Goldstone has not entered as yet the lunatic fringe of ultra-Zionism as Morris did. But if he is not careful the future promises to be a pleasant journey with the likes of Morris, Alan Dershowitz (who already said that Goldstone is a "repentant Jew") between annual meetings of the AIPAC rottweilers and the wacky conventions of the Christian Zionists. He would soon find out that once you cower in the face of Zionism -- you are expected to go all the way or be at the very same spot you thought you had successfully left behind you.

    Winning Zionist love in the short-term is far less important than losing the world's respect in the long-run. Palestine should choose its friends with care: they cannot be faint-hearted nor can they claim to be Zionists as well as champions of peace, justice and human rights in Palestine.

  4. @Atlanta Roofing - the same comment has been copied at over at" so I should direct you to the response at "Oh, that's lovely-- if you don't join in the kangaroo court, you're just proving you're guilty.

    Never mind that the guy points out the mandate they were operating under was skewed against Israel-- Charley Brown has to take a swing at that football every time, or it's his own fault he's guilty."

    @anti-zionist - it is hard to figure out exactly what you are going for in your fairly lengthy comments, but I will pull out and discuss from it what seems to be relevant.

    "So 29 out of 1,400 deaths were killed by an unfortunate mistake?" - 29 deaths out of 1,400 is not a bad ratio considering that Hamas was trying to run up that civilian number as high as possible. While any innocent deaths are tragic, it is important to note the responsible side. If someone is using a human shield and shooting at your family, you return fire to protect your family trying your best to just hit the gunman but end up killing both, the death of that innocent victim is the fault of the person using them as a human shield. It can not be an acceptable tactic of war to strap civilians to the roof of your tanks, attack a neighbor, and then legitimately blame the people defending themselves for the deaths of those civilians because they destroyed the tanks.

    "the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine" - a few quick questions for you; how many Palestinians were there in in 1948? How many are there today? Given the fact that there are multiples more today then 60 years ago, is Israel the worst 'ethnic cleansers' in all of human history or are they not really trying to commit genocide against the Palestinians? But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good accusation.

    "nor can they claim to be Zionists as well as champions of peace, justice and human rights in Palestine" - Why is being a Zionist, that is having a desire for the Jews to have homeland in the land of Israel, antithetical to 'justice and human rights in Palestine'? Not a believer in the two state solution I see. Would that make you a supporter of a single Palestinian state, and if so what do you think should become of the current Jewish residents?

  5. @Anti-zionist

    "there is no evidence whatsoever like anything you described "strapping civilians on the roof of tanks"" - I was not saying that Hamas was strapping civilians to tanks, I do not recall hearing about that ever happening as a tactic in real life, it was meant to illustrate a point. The point is that the death of person used as a human shield is the fault of the people using them as shields; especially when the other side goes through extra lengths putting their troops at greater risk to try to avoid that collateral damage. Are you really trying to dispute the point that Hamas uses human shields?

    "in 1948, 720,000 people were forced from their homes, often at gun point by the Israeli military in order to make room for jewish settlement and expansion, It is what zionists call "population transfer" its not genocide but it is ethnic cleansing ." - there was large exodus of Arabs during the creation of Israel. The vast majority of those that left however, never saw an Israeli soldier. They were encouraged to leave by the neighboring Arab countries to make it easier for them to 'push the Jews into the sea'. The Israelis actually encouraged the people to stay. Concurrently Jews from neighboring countries were forced out and into Israel in comparable numbers (if not more) to the Arabs that left of their own accord. Interesting how that does not seem to bother you as much, if at all.

  6. anti zionist4/06/2011 12:34 PM

    "The point is that the death of person used as a human shield is the fault of the people using them as shields"- I totally agree.

    The Guardian has compiled 3 videos and testimony from civilians of alleged war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers during the Gaza war, including the use of Palestinian children as human shields, the targeting of medics and hospitals, and drone aircraft firing on civilians deliberately. Three teenage brothers from the al-Attar family have claimed that "they were taken from their home at gunpoint, made to kneel in front of tanks to deter Hamas fighters from firing at them and sent by Israeli soldiers into Palestinian houses to clear them".

    An Israeli military official responded to these allegations: "The IDF operated in accordance with the rules of war and did the utmost to minimise harm to civilians uninvolved in combat. The IDF's use of weapons conforms to international law." An Israeli embassy spokesperson considers these allegations suspect because of Hamas pressure, adding: "Anyone who understands the realities of Gaza will know that these people are not free to speak the truth. Those that wish to speak out cannot for fear of beatings, torture or execution at the hands of Hamas."- right

    However, in a report on the Gaza conflict, released July 2, 2009, Amnesty International wrote that Israel did use human shields in Gaza. Amnesty claimed to have found cases in which "Israeli troops forced Palestinians to stay in one room of their home while turning the rest of the house into a base and sniper position, effectively using the families, both adults and children, as human shields and putting them at risk. The report also criticized Hamas for human rights violations, but "found no evidence Palestinian fighters directed civilians to shield military objectives from attacks, forced them to stay in buildings used by militants, or prevented them from leaving commandeered buildings."

    The Israeli military responded only by calling the report "unbalanced" and saying that it ignored "blatant violations of international law perpetrated by Hamas."- right.

    Israel has a long history of using human shields however.
    On March 12, 2010 the Israel Defense Forces prosecution filed indictments against two staff sergeants of the Givati Brigade for allegedly forcing a 9 year old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosives in January 2009. The IDF said it opened the investigation after the incident was brought to its attention by the United Nations] On October 3, 2010 a conviction in this matter was handed down by the military court against both defendants, though neither soldier was jailed.

    If you want to talk about "human shields" then it is israel who is much more the cowardly actor. It's very convenient I imagine for people who apologize for israeli war crimes to point the finger at a joke like hamas, but thinking people don't buy the bullshit.

  7. anti- zionist4/06/2011 1:28 PM


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