This was a rather unexpected statement from a jurist who headed a malicious United Nations Human Rights Council inquiry. Goldstone received applause for his recent article, even from some who had heavily criticized him before. It is convenient for Israel that Goldstone suddenly appears as its defender on an important issue. This is all the more helpful as he is a South African who is familiar with what apartheid means.
Goldstone has also retracted some of the accusations against Israel in his UNHRC report in an op-ed in the Washington Post in April this year. There he wrote that “if I knew then what I know now the report would have been different.” In this article he said that due to Israel’s investigations and a subsequent United Nations Committee Report it was now clear that Israel did not target civilians intentionally.
However, in this article he also made several statements which show his bizarre views of Hamas, a terrorist organization with genocidal intentions. One was that he had hoped that now Israel was investigating what his report said were serious war crimes Hamas would do the same. Another absurd statement was: “As a minimum 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.”
Full-fledged apology needed
Should we in view of these two articles exonerate Goldstone for having headed an investigation that plays a major role in the defamation, demonization and de-legitimization of Israel? There is a simple way to understand why forgiving Goldstone now would be a major mistake. One should read the recently published book titled: “The Goldstone Report “Reconsidered;” A Critical Analysis. It is edited by Gerald Steinberg and Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor.
In one of the book’s essays, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler calls the Goldstone mission: “Tainted to the Core.” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz titles his 50 page essay “The Case against the Goldstone Report; A Study in evidentiary Bias.” American jurist Trevor Norwitz, who is on first name basis with Goldstone, puts many questions to him about “Your procedurally flawed investigation,” and so on.
It would be positive if Goldstein wrote more pro-Israeli articles in important papers. These, however, cannot offset the immoral behavior of his commission. What is needed is a full-fledged apology. In essence it could read as follows:
“I want to present my apologies to Israel for the Goldstone Report. I should not have accepted the assignment from the UNHRC. I knew that former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson had refused to accept the UNHRC mandate as it was biased. I should have known that the composition of the commission I headed was a partisan one. I should have in particular understood that Christine Chinkin should not have been a member as she had already expressed her opinion that Israel had committed war crimes. I want to ask her and the other members of the commission to apologize as well.
“I knew from my lengthy experience that the commission should not have relied on hearsay and anonymous accusations as evidence. The claims against our commission that we did not investigate critical facts are justified. The way we legitimized the terror organization Hamas is even more unforgivable than many other examples of our carelessness, misjudgments and mistakes.
“I have destroyed my own reputation of fairness with the report the commission I headed has published. Far more severe is the harm I have caused to the State and people of Israel, the cause of justice, the profession of international humanitarian law and to democracy in general.”
Once Goldstone writes a similar apology we should recognize that he has truly repented. Until now he has only thrown a few morsels to Israel as a minor compensation for major damage.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism