Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Amazing U-Turn Of Richard Goldstone

April 5 2011
On April Fool's Day 2011, an article appeared in The Washington Post written by Judge Richard Goldstone which, in one stroke, threw into the whirlwind of history the conclusions of his UN Fact Finding Mission on The Gaza Conflict of 2008-2009. 

Known as the Goldstone Report, its hard hitting conclusions were delivered to the UN Human Rights Council on 29 September 2009, nearly eight months after Operation Cast Lead launched by Israel devastated most of the Gaza Strip killing 1400 people, most of them innocent civilians with about a third of them children.

Cast Lead was the main subject of the investigation by the Goldstone Commission. Its conclusions, condemning Israel for perpetrating potential war crimes committed then, were well publicised worldwide resulting in an avalanche of hatred and abuse from Zionists and Israelis alike directed against Judge Goldstone himself and labelling him as a self-hating Jew.

For a while, it seemed that the Goldstone Report would joint the myriad of reports, resolutions and investigations, of other war crimes and costing millions of US dollars, only to end up collecting the dust of history on the shelves of the UN archival system. Until, of course, April Fool's Day 2011.

Judge Goldstone's Washington Post article starts with a twisted admission that "we know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza War of 2008-2009 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission...and if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document." Hindsight, when we seek it, becomes a blessing in disguise.

Reading his amazing admission, we beg Judge Goldstone to tell us what did he find recently which his Mission did not find in 2009 to make him change his mind about a massacre: is it perhaps that there is maybe less blood-stained earth in Gaza now than before, or did he come across some green farmland with healthy cattle grazing peacefully; or is it that he suddenly saw the UN sheds standing intact and filled with humanitarian aid ready for distribution to the starving people of Gaza; or perhaps he visited many of the religious buildings standing intact and with muezzins calling the faithful to prayer in peace and tranquility; or perhaps he visited the famous Gaza zoo and saw that, in fact, it was full of live and cared-for zebras; better still, perhaps he found out that the devastated university buildings have not been destroyed after all but are buzzing with happy young students going about their daily academic lives; even better, he may have visited the Al-Sammouni family and saw that they are really living a normal family live as if nothing had happened to their 29 family members; that would certainly beat the Bobby Ewing shower scene in the resurrected Dallas TV drama of the 1980s. Perhaps what we all saw on our television screen for 24 hours a day during those shocking 21 days during Cast Lead was nothing but a weird mirage. 

So how do you get away with such a U-turn, Judge Goldstone? 

It is crucial to remember that everything that Israel does or says has a personal wrapping around it: there is no collective action and has never been a collective guilt. For example, in his Washington Post article, Judge Goldstone volunteers that Israel, after conducting hundreds of internal investigations into its conduct of the Gaza war, may find that "if the officer [responsible for the massacre of Al-Sammouni family] is found to be negligent, Israel will respond accordingly". So, Cast Lead has been downgraded from a war crime operation to a simple error by a soldier. You can bet your grandmother's golden bagel that this investigation will die a slow death. Just like many others 'conducted' internally by Israel.

If that was not enough, Judge Goldstone then proceeded to bite the hand that fed him by declaring in his article that "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." Trying to repent on the altar of Zionism could not have been more farcical.

For Zionism and for Israel, its surrogate child, it is easier to dehumanise a person than to face the judgement of history. Israel's best form of defence was to go after Judge Goldstone himself rather than the fact is his Report. Since the publication of his Report in September 2009, Judge Goldstone has been facing Zionist attacks from inside and outside Israel against his person and his professional integrity as a well know South African judge. These attacks have been nothing but shameful and irresponsible. They employed all means of intimidation, including religious smear, to inflict a humiliating and moral damage on someone whose credentials have been well proven in humanitarian law. For a practicing Jew, the final insult came to judge Goldstone in the form of a two pronged ethnic/religious attack: he was called a 'self-hating Jew' and he was barred from attending the bar mitzvah of his grandchild in South Africa. Remember, this show went on uninterrupted in the public arena.

One might think that, under such a devastating onslaught, the mightiest of us would buckle. Most of us would, but perhaps, not all of us. But you have to have it embedded in you this principle of courage and universalist inclination, to be able to deflect these attacks. As Professor Ilan Pappe wrote in his eloquent piece on this subject for the Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11895.shtml) "...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."

And 'terror' it brought. This defamation of character, dear judge Goldstone, should have been a reason for you to stand up against this Zionist onslaught, rather than an easy u-turn which does brings only embarrassment and humiliation upon your colleagues on the Commission you headed. When Israel's deputy minister of defence declared to the Gazans in early in 2008 "...that the Palestinians are going to bring upon themselves a Holocaust", one must take real stock of the new company one keeps. 

Judge Goldstone has another weakness besides the fear generated by the 'self-hating Jew' label: he declared himself a Zionist. Any self respecting Jew knows that you cannot be both a Jew and a Zionist. As he must also know (but chooses perhaps not to express it), there has never been a good Zionist or a bad Zionist. Only a Zionist. Judge Goldstone must at this juncture is his life stand by the powers of his conviction, and must realise that he cannot have it both ways. Otherwise, his Goldstone Report will certainly be relegated to the dusty shelves of the UN archives alongside the myriads of other worthy reports. Worse than that, he will loose all credibility he so courageously and rightly acquired through a distinguished career culminating in the Goldstone Report. A u-turn now is a u-turn away from it all. 

Antoine Raffoul


"Palestine is the heart of Arab countries" - PalestineFreeVoice


 Richard Goldstone I never trusted him, I was suspicious of the intent of this " fact-finding" mission, and its true purpose,I believed this report was created with the conscious aim of answering not the needs of the Palestinian people but by the conscious surface of a psyche whose intent is to cover up the immediate needs of his own people, the perpetrators.
"..... You can' t just assume that a person with the title judge or a  hospital orderly got there honestly and won' t manipulate the hell out of you."

Personal communication from Psychologist Schreibman to H. Cleckley, 2/10/86

Hiyam Noir

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