How could an eminent jurist not have known the relevant facts?
by Mona Charen
April 5, 2011 12:00 A.M.
Richard Goldstone, the formerly respected South African jurist who disgraced himself by lending his name to a sinister and libelous U.N. report condemning Israel for war crimes, has now issued a very public retraction. “If I had known then what I know now,” he wrote in the Washington Post, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” New information has persuaded him, he said, “that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy” by Israel.
While this recantation is better than none, it invites the question: How could Goldstone not have known the relevant facts? A ten-year-old could have known the relevant facts.
Goldstone was initially approached by the U.N. Human Rights Council and asked to preside over an “investigation” into “all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression.”
The very wording of the resolution contained enough information for a reasonable man — no less a judge — to recognize the utterly tendentious nature of the enterprise. The use of the term “occupied” to refer to Gaza might have tipped him off that something was amiss, since Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. Had his eyes been open, he might also have been given pause by the words “current aggression.”
But asking only to broaden the mandate to include human-rights violations by Hamas, Goldstone agreed to be used. And let’s not kid ourselves. He was valuable to the baying hyenas at the U.N. because he is himself a Jew.
Beyond the verdict-before-the-trial wording, Goldstone might have considered the fact that one of the commission’s four members, Christine Chinkin, signed a public letter denouncing Israel for “war crimes” before the investigation got underway.
Or Goldstone might have considered the history of the Human Rights Council. Anne Bayefsky, of Eye on the UN, outlined its record between 2004 and 2009:
The council has passed more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all other 191 U.N. members combined. The council has one (of only ten) formal agenda items dedicated to criticizing Israel. And one agenda item to consider the human rights of the remaining 99.9 percent of the world’s population . . . It has terminated human rights investigations on Belarus, Cuba, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And all investigations of ‘consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms in such states as Iran, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have been ‘discontinued.’
As for Hamas, which is never labeled a terrorist organization throughout the Goldstone report, there has been copious evidence since 1987 that this offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (and client of Iran) has engaged in massive human-rights violations, including deliberate targeting of civilians (Arabs as well as Israelis), kidnapping, torture, and hiding military equipment in mosques, hospitals, and schools. The Hamas Charter states that, “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad.”
For the better part of four years, Israel suffered more than 10,000 missile attacks against its civilians from Gaza. When it finally used military force to stop the attacks, Israel, in the words of British colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.”
All of this was not just knowable when Goldstone signed on as front man for the U.N. lynch mob, it was known. The Goldstone Report was intended, and has since been employed, to stigmatize any Israeli self-defense as a war crime. In 2009, Israel’s foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, cancelled a trip to London after learning of an arrest warrant. Just recently, Israeli president Shimon Peres was threatened with arrest in Switzerland.
Goldstone claims to be moved now by evidence that Israel has investigated more than 400 claims of misconduct against its armed forces whereas Hamas has done nothing to police itself. Rubbish. The aforementioned ten-year-old could have predicted that.
No, apparently Goldstone’s conscience troubled him. While that’s progress for him, the retraction cannot possibly correct his shameful contribution to lies, slander, and the moral perversion of the so-called “international community.”
— Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2011 Creators Syndicate.