In Context observed about Judge Goldstone:
There's something horrifying about the amount of damage that a slight to one man's ego can do. I'm well aware that there was more to the Goldstone report than that, but nevertheless it appears to me to be a factor that can't be ignored. The fact is that, his protestations notwithstanding, it's Goldstone who has made the controversy over this report all about him.
Well that ego has bruised again, this time by Israeli President Shimon Peres (h/t My Right Word):
Richard Goldstone, who authored the United Nations report accusing Israel of perpetrating war crimes in its Gaza offensive earlier the year, is a man devoid of any real sense of justice and is intent on harming Israel, President Shimon Peres told Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during their meeting in Brasilia on Wednesday.
"Goldstone is a small man, devoid of any sense of justice, a technocrat with no real understanding of jurisprudence," Peres told his Brazilian counterpart, adding that the South African jurist "was on a one-sided mission to hurt Israel."
Goldstone didn't try to hide his bruised ego:
South African jurist Richard Goldstone lambasted President Shimon Peres on Thursday for a personal attack on him, which the president launched in response to a damning report he compiled on Israel's winter offensive in Gaza.
"I would say that the President's comments are specious and ill-befitting the Head of the State of Israel," Goldstone said in an interview with Haaretz.
"I am content to be judged by my actions over the course of my career both in terms of my professional judicial career and my voluntary service."
His report's "message" has been addressed, many times, by many sources--factually--and Goldstone's response, over and over again, is that people can't attack him on the facts so they attack him personally. He sticks to this defense even in when he is confronted with evidence that directly contradicts his report, seeming shocked that such evidence exists. So Goldstone is either utterly disingenuous, if not outright lying--and he's been doing this dance since the beginning. The martyr role is getting tiresome.
Since he asked for it, let's judge the judge.
One of his most damning assessments was the commission's account of the attack on the Maqadameh mosque.
The Goldstone Committee also failed by thoroughly examining the data. If Committee members had examined the names of the Palestinians killed at the Maqadmah mosque, they would have discovered that their identities and the membership of many of them in terrorist organizations contradicted the "eyewitness" claims that there were no terrorist operatives in the area, and contradicted as well the conclusions of the Report in that respect.
Seven of the 15 Palestinians killed at the mosque were members of terrorist organizations who had participated in fighting the IDF, most of them members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, and a few of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Regarding one of them (Ahmed Abu Ita of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades), it was reported that he had gone to the Maqadmah mosque to meet "friends," i.e., other armed terrorist operatives.
(This isn't some sort of post facto analysis. Elder of Ziyon discovered that one of those killed was a Hamas operative prior to the release of the Goldstone report by using publicly available sources.)
Halevi notes elsewhwere that a number of the witnesses the commission to this strike were from the Silawi family, who had an agenda. (Halevi also notes there, that the questions asked of the witnesses were hardly comprehensive.) Yet the commission accepted their testimony uncritically.
The Goldstone Commission's report is based on many omissions and distortions as shown in this case. Yet Goldstone feels:
Goldstone emphasized that his conclusion that war crimes had been committed was always intended as conditional. He still hopes that independent investigations carried out by Israel and the Palestinians will use the allegations as, he said, "a useful road map." ... "We couldn't use that report as evidence at all," Goldstone said. "But it was a useful roadmap for our investigators, for me as chief prosecutor, to decide where we should investigate. And that's the purpose of this sort of report. If there was an independent investigation in Israel, then I think the facts and allegations referred to in our report would be a useful road map."
Nevertheless, the report itself is replete with bold and declarative legal conclusions seemingly at odds with the cautious and conditional explanations of its author. The report repeatedly refers, without qualification, to specific violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention committed by Israel and other breaches of international law. Citing particular cases, the report determines unequivocally that Israel "violated the prohibition under customary international law" against targeting civilians. These violations, it declares, "constitute a grave breach" of the convention.
That first paragraph should be chilling. Goldstone feels that Israel is now guilty of war crimes until proven innocent. Is it any wonder that Israel's president would attack him? Golddstone has declared Israel a pariah, Peres should not have been silent.
Goldstone's commission - effectively accepting a mandate from the OIC - has set out impossible standards for a democracy, specifically Israel, from defending itself against terror. All of Israel's efforts to protect civilians were arbitrarily deemed insufficient.
Like another Richard he seems unable to take criticism. Unfortunately he's so convinced of his own righteousness that he won't just go away for a few years.
Crossposted on Yourish.Posted by SoccerDad at November 13, 2009 8:16 AM