What should be done with the Goldstone Report?

 I found this solitary letter from a human rights lawyer who deals principally with alleged infringements of Palestinian human rights, together with a rather selective and lame response, lurking among the online letters to Guardian Unlimited of 6th October 2009. Of course no comments were allowed. The title of the letter gives us a clue about the intentions and political bent of the first contributor – none other than Daniel Machover, a human rights lawyer and British/Israeli citizen who joined the ranks of the ignominious when he tried and failed to effect the arrest of Maj-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, in London, for alleged war crimes. (Machover was awarded the title of “Mamzer of the Month” for that little escapade by the Lion of Zion blog in February 2008).
Of course the good news is that the Goldstone Report, another plunge into the depths of ignominy, this time by a judge who is a Jew and who, according to his family, “loves Israel”, will not now be presented to the UN Human Rights Council.
I hope that readers will bear with me if I, unlike our counterparts on the dark side, take some time to contextualise why the removal of the Goldstone Report from the UN agenda (although it was as a result of American intervention) is at least a small step towards restoring a sense of ethical conduct and perhaps lessening bias against Israel at the UN:
We know that Goldstone was not the first to be asked to head up the UN mission to investigate alleged war crimes by Israel in Gaza in 2008/2009. Mary Robinson, the former Irish President and hardly an unbiased critic of Israel refused it, saying that it smacked more of politics than of human rights. Goldstone was reported to have said that he was “shocked” that he had been invited to head the mission but he nevertheless undertook the task. He is quoted by Richard Landes to have said:

“…I accepted because my fellow commissioners are professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation…

It is now widely accepted that (given the makeup of the UN Human Rights Committee) Goldstone was invited because he was a Jew and that the mission’s findings against Israel were a “done deal” before its visit to Gaza.
The neutrality of the mission was compromised before it began which is one reason for Israel’s refusal to co-operate with it. Professor Christine Chinkin, one of the members, had been a signatory to an open letter in “The Times Online” which made clear her anti-Israel bias. Goldstone knew this but would not recuse her or himself resign from the mission.
It is also known that the mission was accompanied throughout its visit to Gaza by Hamas officials.
During the Commission’s five-month investigation, a handful of Israelis were allowed a few hours to testify about Hamas terror attacks. Photos taken while an Israeli described their ordeal show Richard Goldstone taking a nap!
The Israeli Government’s initial response to the report from this spurious and relentlessly biased “fact-finding” mission was published on 29th September 2009, and contained the following paragraphs which summed up its opinion of it:

[3] … the Report advances a narrative which ignores the threats to Israeli civilians, as well as Israel’s extensive diplomatic and political efforts to avoid the outbreak of hostilities. In this narrative self defense finds no place – Israel’s defensive operation was nothing other than a “deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population” (¶ 1690(2)1).

4. In support of this vicious and unfounded assertion, the Report has no qualms about bending both facts and law. In the spirit of the one-sided mandate it was given by the HRC resolution, and the clearly stated political prejudices of some of its Members,  the Mission carefully selected its witnesses and the incidents it chose to investigate for clearly political ends. Yet even within this self-selected body of evidence, the Report engages in creative editing, misrepresentations of facts and law, and repeatedly adopts evidentiary double standards, attributing credibility to every anti-Israel allegation and invariably dismissing evidence that indicates any wrongdoing by Hamas. [emphasis added]

In light of the foregoing, you would hope that any self-respecting international body, or a thinking individual would agree that any resolutions or motions of censure which might result from such a travesty should not be countenanced by a UN committee. In the case of the Guardian in general however, (note, the article was not published on CiF) you would be very, very wrong.
For we have Daniel Machover, another darling of the anti-Israel establishment who is a member of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights inveighing against this “unfairness.” Machover writes of accountability for the victims of Gaza, carefully ignoring (as of course did the Goldstone mission itself) the evidence of experts such as Col Richard Kemp who could testify about the lengths to which the IDF were prepared to go and did go to avoid civilian casualties wherever possible.   Dr. Mirela Siderer testified about her experience of being shelled, only for that testimony to be almost ignored.
Machover quotes Goldstone’s accusation against the IDF of war crimes and “possible crimes against humanity” and says that “Goldstone’s words cannot be improved on.” (They can and were; indeed Goldstone himself subsequently backtracked in respect of the allegations against Israel of war crimes. Interviewed on CNN, Goldstone said that despite the report, Israel’s actions could not be compared to war crimes around the world that have taken place in recent years, such as those committed in Yugoslavia. “I don’t like making comparisons,” he said, (which of course begs the question as to why the mission which bears his name did and so erroneously).
But wait … what’s this? At the end of the article is a shorter statement by one Adam Glantz of Hendon, Viriginia, US, which says among other things that the Goldstone report is “less than half a story” because it does not investigate Hamas’ excesses. Mr Glantz fails to mention the evidentiary double standards and the misrepresentations of law and fact which fatally compromise the rigour and honesty of the Goldstone report which Machover wants us to accept and take action on. Perhaps Mr Glantz was not allowed to do so – this is, of course, Guardian On Line. Who, indeed, is Adam Glanz? The article gives no biography for him. Is he somehow meant to act as spokesman for us all, and to lessen criticism of The Guardian’s inherent anti-Israel bias? (Note to Guardian Editors – that will not work!)
Perhaps readers would like to share their opinions about what action should be taken on the Goldstone Report. My own suggestion is none at all. It should be allowed to rot alongside all the other biased decisions against Israel which have disgraced the UN since Israel’s inception. Goldstone himself has been shunned by his own community for the shameful way in which he conducted the enquiry. He will have to work hard to become acceptable and believable again to them and to his colleagues.

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