Â Â Richard Goldstone isn’t exactly a familiar household name in America.Â However, in Israel, GoldstoneÂ was very well known until very recently as a Jewish apostate, a label he tried to shuck when he issued a retraction of his previousÂ allegations of Israeli atrocities commitedÂ during theÂ GazaÂ war of 2008-2009.Â
Briefly, Goldstone, an eminentÂ Jewish South African judge,Â saw his name affixed to a United Nations’ report on that 3-week war.Â As a result of the Goldstone Report, commisioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council, he was reviled in Israel and elsewhere by Israel supporters as a wayward juristÂ suffering from a “moral inversion” who “preserved his judicial reputation while perpetrating a blood libel against Israelâ€ and with worse epithets because he had dared to expose Israeli war crimes in Gaza.Â Â
The Goldstone Report charged Israel’s IDF withÂ a systematic, official policy to inflict punishment on civilians in Gaza.Â Titled, â€œHuman Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,â€ the English language pdf version may be read here in its entirety: http://bit.ly/1BjEXrÂ Â Â
The final version issued by the anti-SemiticÂ U.N. HRCÂ deleted most references to Hamas atrocities and focused on the disproportionality of Israel’s retaliation.Â Â Fourteen Israeli settlersÂ had beenÂ killedÂ in unprovoked Hamas missile attacks; some 700 enemy combatants were killed by the IDF as well as 714 Gaza civilians including at least 412 children.Â (Hamas claimed 1200 dead children.)
Â Â The Goldstone Report concluded that Israel, whichÂ touts itself as havingÂ â€œthe most moral army in the world,â€ committed the most heinous crimes imaginable against defenselessÂ Gazan non-combatatants.Â Â Â
There was no question that the IDF was battling a grossly amoral enemy which hadÂ secreted weaponry in mosques, hospitals, and schools and had launched missile atttacks from private homes, and Israel contends it gave advance warnings, none of which mitigates Israeli war crimes.Â
On April 1, 2011, coincidentally April Fools Day, Goldstone issued a retraction of the Goldstone Report.Â While reiteratingÂ findings of â€œpossibly crimes against humanityâ€ by both Israel and Hamas, Goldstone now denies the “intentionality” of Israeli crimes contending its atrocities were the results of mistakes, not intent, and that the refusal of Israel to cooperate in the investigation was merely incidental to the report’s conclusions.
Clearly displayingÂ an epiphany in the matter, Goldstone claimed new information had come to light which caused him to change his mind.Â Â His retraction isÂ an unremitted condemnation of Hamas’ tacticsÂ from which heÂ diverged into condemnation ofÂ U.N. silence on “the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds,” as if that slaughter were an excuse for Israeli actions.Â
See Goldstone’s retraction, which he concludes with,Â ”Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards [the laws of armed conflict] will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war,” here:Â http://wapo.st/fm8UaA
No one is contesting the barbarism of Hamas or that terror organization’s hatred of Israel and its commitment to eradicating that tiny nation from the face of the Earth.Â Israel and its IDF, though,Â are supposed to be above it all, more civilized, Mideast paragons which merit the billions of dollarsÂ America sends them annually to serve as a bulwark againstÂ extreme, Arab regimes and movements.Â
Â Â Goldstone’s retraction was greeted tepidly by many in the Jewish community who considered it aÂ ”half-apology” that doesn’t compensate for the aid and comfort the Report gave to Iran and other Muslim nations by exposing Israel’s war crimes.Â Perhaps the most glaring retraction flaw is Goldstone’s failure to condemn Israel’s uncooperative approach to the HRC investigation and its subsequent secret investigation of its own.Â
It’s all very reminiscent ofÂ Israel’s actions during and following its unprovoked attack on the USS Liberty in 1967.Â Â The Liberty commander and its surviving crewmen swear to this day that the Israeli Air Force was fully aware they were attacking an American reconnaisance vessel and was intent on sinking it and murdering everyone on board. (http://www.gtr5.com/)Â Â Â Â
One has to wonder if Israel is as innocent and moral as it claims to be.