The Zeitgeist Politics

Global Politics with a focus on The Middle East

Goldstone speaks, goes on the defensive

with 7 comments

You would have been under a rock if you hadn’t noticed the veritable storm of controversy surrounding the Goldstone Report since its release. Justice Goldstone himself has not been under said rock, and he’s also noticed the fairly rhetorical manner in which his report is being attacked. His first and foremost challenge to critics: read the bloody thing! The man has a point, the Obama administration has denounced the report in strong words, and assisted Israel with its diplomatic offensive to have the report ignored. Most are assuming that the US will use its veto on the Security Council to make sure the report is not accepted (if Russia or China, both of which have come out in opposition to the report, don’t get there first, though admittedly Russia did back it in the UNHRC).

Lebanon’s Daily Star has a good round-up of the choice quotes from the al-Jazeera interview Justice Goldstone gave:

“I have yet to hear from the [Barack] Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are,” South African former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone told Al-Jazeera television.

“I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are,” added the jurist…

“I’ve no doubt, many of the critics – the overwhelming majority of critics – have not read the report,” he said, adding that the criticism had become personal. [Daily Star]

You can view the full interview here.

One other thing that struck me about the interview was Goldstone’s continued preambles of “As a Jew…”, it strikes me because it gives an idea of how deeply personal the attacks have been. I’m sure Justice Goldstone and his family have suffered a great deal in these past few weeks, what with their commitment to Israel and Jewishness questioned, as well as their very humanity and ethnic identity denied. I think the criticism from some members of the Zionist lobby has been a fairly nasty piece of work indeed.

Goldstone also wrote a piece that appeared in Jerusalem Post and Guardian’s comment-is-free, in it we have the same entreatments to read the report rather than go into personal attacks, also an interesting bit of rebuttal from him regarding the dismissal of the UNHRC’s recommendation to have the report looked at on the basis that its members have questionable human rights records themselves:

Israel and its courts have always recognised that they are bound by norms of international law that it has formally ratified or that have become binding as customary international law upon all nations. The fact that the United Nations and too many members of the international community have unfairly singled out Israel for condemnation and failed to investigate horrible human rights violations in other countries cannot make Israel immune from the very standards it has accepted as binding upon it.

Indeed, the Human Rights record of its members should not be used to mask the question at hand, if Israel committed war crimes in Gaza then it should be properly investigated and brought to justice for doing so. Questioning the human rights records of members such as Angola, Nigeria and Egypt as a reason to have the Council’s recommendation ignored does more to harm Israel’s reputation. Israel, claiming to be a bastion of democracy and law, should be striving to exceed such expectations, not compare itself to countries with Human Rights records severely blighted already.

All-in-all I find Goldstone’s defense to be adequate, well-reasoned and somewhat alarming. It is not too much to ask that if the report be criticised, then it should be properly read and the sections of the report with which issue is taken to be pointed out. Stonewalling it without even addressing it is not a constructive thing to do.


Written by alexlobov

October 23, 2009 at 12:15 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Your writing is always a pleasure to read for its clarity, Mr Lobov.


    October 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm

  2. thank you, sir 🙂


    October 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm

  3. goldstone report is one sided the peace can come only with . this kind of attack on Palestinian murder . but we live in sick world that a crock and a liar report one sided and not what cause this action . if we look why this action happened we see that the Palestinian murder cause at . i even support stronger actin against the Palestinian i think this was to little for the people that support death .
    alot of thing wrong in israel in alot of way israel is a dirty country .
    yes i am Disraeli i know how dirty inside politic can be . the court and other government institution.

    but to bring peace we must attack this people they no other way .
    the Arab with help of European and united nation killing jewish people 2000 years


    October 24, 2009 at 2:56 am

  4. BTW today I attended a session about this at school titled “Should Israel be prosecuted for war crimes” with two speakers – Rami Khouri, who I am sure you are familiar with, who argued for, and some dude from CAMERA, who was much more fun and entertaining to listen to, and basically argued that this report is a bunch of bullshit. 🙂


    October 24, 2009 at 8:15 am

  5. did that CAMERA guy address anything specific within the report? had he even read it?


    October 24, 2009 at 12:14 pm

  6. He had read the report. He said the methodology was flawed – all Israeli soldier testimonies critical of the country were included while those in favor, from the same people, were put aside. Also, he said nowhere was Hamas directly blamed, even though one of their government ministers apparently admitted they were using human shields or something. He said despite the admission the report did not think that evidence was conclusive. He also said the report was sanctioned by the HRC which is an offshoot of an HR organization within the UN that was disbanded precisely because it was biased against Israel.


    October 29, 2009 at 10:14 am

    • How ridiculous. Hamas is directly blamed, and at the end of the day Israel is always going to criticize the UN/a UN offshoot/anyone who criticizes them and accuse em of being biased. Moving on…

      Saba Imtiaz

      October 30, 2009 at 4:29 am

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