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September 30, 2009: Goldstone Report

November 10, 2009

The Goldstone Report — which charges Israel with war crimes: the deliberate targeting of civilians — has now been presented to the UN Human Rights Council, which commissioned it, and which will surely accept its findings after discussion.

There will then be a move to send the report on to the UN Security Council, which, if it accepts it, may send it forward to the Hague and the International Court of Justice.


Problems with the report include the following:

[] The mandate by the Human Rights Council — itself overtly and blatantly anti-Israel — to the Goldstone Commission, which did the investigation, was biased from the beginning: Only Israel that was to be investigated.

[] Hamas, with its use of human shields, was given a free ride.  When a Hamas leader who testified actually referred to human shields, the report concluded that “it did not consider [the statement] to constitute evidence.” Said Goldstone, in open correspondence:  “We did not deal with the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas [which is what Hamas did].  We avoided having to do so in the incidents we decided to investigate.”

[] The commission was nothing more than a kangaroo court, as there were judges sitting on it who stated before the investigation even started that they knew Israel was guilty.

[] Israel’s right to self-defense is not mentioned once in the report.

[] “Evidence” presented by Palestinians was accepted without corroboration.

[] The report was based in the main on statements by anti-Israel NGOs (e.g., Palestinian Center for Human Rights).  NGO Monitor — which called the report “575 pages of NGO ‘cut and paste'” — found numerous false and unsubstantiated allegations that were included.


Dr. Elihu Richter, of the Hadassah School of Public Health, charged, in the Post:

“I personally submitted a nine-page, annotated and referenced brief to the Goldstone Commission last July showing that the high male-female ratio of fatalities among Palestinians in Gaza argues for the combatant status of many whom human rights organizations classified as non-combatants. However, the Commission was not driven by the evidence, but by its preset agenda.”


For further background on the issues and the bias of the charges, see here (especially “Article and Reports”):



Outraged? Aghast at the overt bias, without even a pretense at evenhandedness, which might lead to punitive measures against Israel?  Good that you should be.  Let every decent person everywhere demand a stop to this.

Dr. Jan Sokolovsky, Executive Director of the International Commission for Jewish Legal Affairs, has put out a call for people to act to block acceptance of this by the Security Council.

The Council has 15 members — five permanent and 10 temporary. It requires a permanent member to veto the motion — and the US is the only one that would do this.  Otherwise, it would require some combination of seven abstentions and ‘no’ votes by temporary members to block acceptance of the report, as nine votes are needed to pass it.  As this is an exceedingly unlikely prospect, the US veto is the only chance to stop this.

There has been indication that Secretary of State Clinton prefers to see the Report kept in the Human Rights Council, and US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice — who called the report “unbalanced, one-sided, and unacceptable” — has said the same. But we can take no chances here.


Messages are best very brief.  For example (using your words): The Goldstone Report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council is highly biased and constitutes a blood libel against Israel.  Please expend every possible effort to contain it in the Human Rights Council, and, if this fails, please veto its acceptance in the Security Council.


President Barack Obama

Fax: 202-456-2461   White House Comment line:  202-456-1111

e-mail form via:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 

Fax: 202-261-8577 or 202-647-65434

Main switchboard to the State Department: 202-647-4000 

State Dept. Public Communication Division

(accepts opinions from the public — best to connect here): 

Fax: 202-647-2283   Phone: 202-647-6575

E-mail:  secretary@state.gov 


Anne Bayefsky, who heads Eye on the UN, has put out a joint statement on Goldstone on behalf of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and the Hudson Institute.  In part, it reads:

“The Goldstone mission will go down in history as the 21st century’s equivalent to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – a notorious work of fiction which spun a conspiratorial web of deceit and distortion that has fueled hatred of Jews ever since.

“At its core, the Goldstone report repeats the ancient blood libel against the Jewish people – the allegation of bloodthirsty Jews intent on butchering the innocent. Or as the Goldstone mission casts this abomination for a modern audience: Israel ‘deliberately…terrorize[d] a civilian population;’ Israeli ‘violence against civilians w[as] part of a deliberate policy.’ (paras. 1211, 1690)

“With this report the UN has come full circle. Rising from the Jewish ashes of crimes against humanity, it now purports to render the Jewish people’s exercise of the right of self-defence as itself a crime against humanity.”


And so, the world continues in its insane ways, with Palestinians using every avenue possible to try to weaken us.

In yet another version of universal jurisdiction, British law permits private individuals to lodge complaints of “war crimes” against military personnel, even if they are not British and the alleged crimes were committed elsewhere.

Drawing on this, 16 Palestinians from Gaza called on two British law firms to act on their behalf; the law firms — knowing that Defense Minister Ehud Barak was due in the country shortly —  applied to the courts for an international arrest warrant, claiming that Barak had committed war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Convention during military operations in Gaza.  


Barak — who was on his way to Britain, and received advice from many quarters to turn back — behaved with admirable determination and courage, refusing to change his plans.

At the end of the day, the court threw out the petition for arrest. This was in response to arguments submitted by the British Foreign Office, which had been in constant consultation with Israel’s Foreign Ministry, that Barak was a state guest and therefore not subject to such a law suit. Barak has come to Britain for meetings with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Said Barak:

“We do not intend to let terror win. We will not apologize in any way for our just struggle against terrorism. We will do everything possible so that the representatives of Israel, security officials and soldiers of the IDF will continue to freely travel the world. The theater of the absurd whereby those who defend their citizens need to be on the defensive has to end. Otherwise, the world is likely not only to give a prize to terrorism, but to encourage it.”

I salute him for this.


Our Security Cabinet has agreed to the release of 20 women Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an up-to-the-minute video tape of Gilad Shalit that serves as evidence that he is still alive.  This was worked out by the Germans, who are now mediating negotiations for Shalit’s release, and was approved by our negotiating team, headed by Hagai Hadas. 

This is supposed to take place on Friday, amid cautions that this does not mean a deal is almost finalized.

The women scheduled for release have all served at least two-thirds of their sentences, and none was involved directly in the murder of Israelis.  (Indirectly, in a couple of instances, yes.)  It is being said that this 20 would be deducted from the final number of prisoners that Hamas is demanding in exchange for Shalit.

Almost all of the women are from Judea and Samaria, and not from Gaza. What occurs to me then is that if this release takes place, it may have the effect of strengthening Hamas politically in Judea and Samaria.

Wait and see is the best policy here.


A hasbara, or public relations, tour of the US coast to coast, I understand, is being planned for this fall with several ministers participating. The topic:  Israeli rights.  This is exceedingly good news, for this subject has been vastly neglected since the beginning of Oslo. 

There has been talk unending about our obligations, and what concessions we ought to make.

And there is talk about our security requirements.  Thus, there has been a campaign for us to establish “defensible borders.”  I never liked that.  Yes, of course, we need defensible borders. But if an area of Judea and Samaria — in the heartland of our ancient heritage — is not needed for our defense, does this mean it’s all right to surrender it?  Not in my book it doesn’t.

If the current government, weary with the emphasis on concessions, is now prepared to push our rights and to educate others to the matter, I celebrate.  This is a theme I will return to.




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