(Another) Open Letter to Judge Goldstone

The following appears (in an earlier draft) in the Jerusalem Post. This version contains links, and an added paragraph on incitement (HT/Elihu Richter).

Dear Judge Goldstone,

I am one of those who have read your report, and have followed your subsequent comments about it. I just read your most recent statements in the Jerusalem Post and Ha-Aretz (for those who can’t read Hebrew, consult the CAMERA’s discussion). Once again you repeat, unchanged, two prominent claims:
1) If only Israeli had cooperated, things might have been different; and
2) No substantive criticism has arisen to challenge your findings.

Now your first claim is a counter-factual, hence speculative. But even then, it’s misleading. While Israel didn’t cooperate officially, through various channels (Israeli NGOs, Daniel Reizner, the former head of the International Law department at the IDF), Israel submitted extensive evidence to your committee. You not only ignored these submissions, but to this day refuse to put them up at the UNHRC website devoted to your Mission.

Your second claim, however, is more concrete; and here the evidence against your is formidable. There is an extensive and substantive critique of your Report. In fact most close readers – even neutral ones – find the Report surprisingly unprofessional and stunningly credulous in its handling of evidence. These critiques are available online (collected at a handy website), and your denial that they have any substance contradicts your second claim categorically. Why would it have made any difference if Israel had participated in the Mission’s work, since you have and continue to ignore any evidence that contradicts your findings against them? Are you really saying, it’s too bad Israel didn’t participate because then the findings would be still more damning?

Take, for example, the recent publication of a 350-page compilation of evidence that Hamas used human shields, which your report repeatedly denies occurred. You, by your own admission, chose not to investigate Hamas misuse of Shifa Hospital (¶468), of mosques (¶465), of ambulances (¶474), etc. Indeed you only acknowledged Hamas involvement in one of the “36” incidents you examined (¶479). And yet, are not Hamas’ use of Palestinian civilians as shields relevant to your accusations of alleged Israeli “war crimes” and “possible crimes against humanity,” which depend on the IDF deliberately firing on civilians rather than at combatants hiding in their midst?

One Gazan told a journalist:

The Hamas militants looked for good places to provoke the Israelis. They were usually youths, 16 or 17 years old, armed with submachine guns. They couldn’t do anything against a tank or jet. They knew they were much weaker. But they wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at the [the civilians’] houses so they could accuse them of more war crimes [emphasis added].

By ignoring the issue, you have played into this cannibalistic strategy and left Palestinian civilians in the grip of a predatory and merciless elite.

Despite your claims of even-handedness, Hamas reads your report as vindication:

All paragraphs in the Goldstone report convict Israel and totally exonerate Hamas from any misconduct. For instance, the report exonerates Hamas from the accusation of using civilians as human shields and attributes this accusation to Israeli forces… even when the report is dealing with the rockets that were launched from Gaza, it speaks about military groups without naming Hamas.

They read your report carefully. They noticed you almost never mentioned them and when you did, it was largely favorably.

Far from supporting international human rights, your report may well have allowed an organization that despise those rights for both friend and foe, to deliberately victimize its own people in a bloody PR campaign against Israel.

For all your claims of courageously criticizing Hamas, you actually only charged them with deeds of which they are proud – targeting Israelis. You studiously avoided the truly shameful material – their targeting of their own civilians, their cruel engineering of a “humanitarian crisis” by, for example, blocking medical supplies and ambulances at the Egyptian border.

And if their victimization of their own civilians might be shameful in the eyes of their own people, how much the more would a systematic discussion of their incitement to hatred and genocidal violence be in the eyes of the Western world. You had extensive evidence of this problem presented to your committee by people who are specifically concerned with, and experts in, the problems of genocide, and you yourself know from the Rwandan case how incitement can lead to genocide. And yet… not a word. Would it have made too strong a case for Israel? Or were you afraid of Hamas’ disapproval?

The fact that you have (presumably) read the substantive critiques of your Report, and really do think they’re “marginal,” calls into question the soundness of your judgment. They may be wrong, but they are fundamental. It is for you to respond. You say Israel should want to be held to the highest standards of human rights; surely you wish to be held to the highest standards of legal reasoning, no?

And yet, you have avoided any criticism. CAMERA, one of your more severe and always substantive critics, actually submitted a formal inquiry to you about specific but vital aspects of your report. After repeated requests for acknowledgment, you responded, “I confirm receipt of your letter. I have no intention of responding to your letter.” This is part of a pattern in which you avoid either debates, or potentially critical interviews, a pattern followed by the other members of your mission.

It is as if you felt you could safely ignore the critique and preach only to the choir, a world-wide community of human rights activists, who fete your accomplishment continuously. As the fox told the crow: “all flattery exists at the expense of he who listens to it.” If you just listen to those who praise you and shun those who speak their mind, then you become a legend in your own mind, and you mistake your reputation for reality. In the end, you shore up a grotesque farce of “international human rights,” orchestrated by the Organization of Islamic Conference and the UNHRC, which actually promotes all the forces most hostile to your cause.

If international law is going to defend human rights, it must do so on the basis of a fair assessment of the evidence, of an honest exchange of criticism, not by assuming the innocence and honesty of the Palestinian underdog. Despite Bertrand Russell’s warning about the fallacy of the superior virtue of the oppressed, your colleague Hina Jilani seems to feel that “it would be cruel not to give credence to [the Palestinians] testimony.” You trample underfoot the biblical wisdom: “Neither favor the powerful nor be partial to the poor, but judge justly.” Indeed you have favored the powerful (Hamas) by considering them the poor (Palestinians), when in fact they victimize their own powerless.

If you have any respect for the rights you claim to uphold, especially those of the Palestinians, any concern for your own intellectual integrity, or for the understanding of the global audience you address, then you will take your critics more seriously, and respond to them, both in writing and in public exchanges.

13 Responses to (Another) Open Letter to Judge Goldstone

  1. Eliyahu says:

    Eugene Ionesco’s play, The Rhinoceros, has a lot of insights relevant to the “peace camp” and to people starring in the field of “international human rights advocacy” and “peace” advocacy. I think the term rhinoceros or qarnaf [קרנף] in Hebrew fits richard richard goldstone rather well. He’s a rhino in Ionesco’s sense. He is morally insensitive. He is an opportunist. He is devoid of scruples in his field of endeavor. He serves as his master’s voice. He has masters as he indicated by saying that he really didn’t want to take on the assignment. But he is part of a movement and/or a gang and cannot refuse, no more than a mafioso can refuse an assignment. He is expected to comply. His field of endeavor, his assigned task, is to pose as a highly moral man while acting immorally. He puts on the pose of a man of conscience, of a serious man. But he is shallow. He has a weak conscience.

    Ionesco’s play referred to what happened in Vichy France as normal, relatively decent people became corrupted by favors, by receiving positions giving them power over other people, by the opportunity to bully others, etc. These people became like the thick-skinned, supposedly insensitive rhino in Ionesco’s metaphor. Unfortunately, the rhino metaphor can describe what is happening throughout the world, including the civilized world.

  2. SE says:

    And this is the guy who as a judge under apartheid south africa sentenced twenty eight blacks to death and four to lashes. This was the legal system at the time, he says, and he could do nothing else but uphold it.
    A combo of a feeble mind and a feeble conscience, balanced only by an oversized ego.
    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

  3. Harvey Fox says:

    Judge Goldstone’s report just confirmed what people already knew: Israel uses Palestinian children as human shields when they’re not burning them alive with white phosphorous. Re CAMERA and all such “Israel is the victim” operations. They mock the suffering of the Palestinians and openly applaud Israel’s Nazi cruelties towards them. No one with any moral standing takes them seriously. Why should an honorable man like Judge Goldstone? His report should have woken Israel up. Instead we hear the stale accusations of “anti-Semitism” and calls for the murder of Judge Goldstone by so-called “responsible” members of the Jewish community. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow and apologists for mighty Israel’s cowardly murderous racism against a helpless people need to swallow that pill with a huge jug of castor oil. Most Jews have had it with Israel and are deeply ashamed of its unremitting Evil.

  4. Richard Landes says:

    dear mr. fox.
    thank you for your comment. i’m always interested in other points of view. can i ask you tho, if you are just being rhetorical, or if you really believe that the Israelis behave towards the Palestinians as the Nazis did towards the Jews?

  5. […] a recent comment on a Goldstone post, Eliyahu made the following comparison: Eugene Ionesco’s play, The Rhinoceros, has a lot of insights relevant to the “peace camp” […]

  6. Ben says:

    Who knows where this will lead, but, in addition to Professor Landes’ question to him, I would ask Mr. Fox if he believes that the Palestinians behave towards the Israelis as the Jews did towards the Nazis.

  7. Eliyahu says:

    Mr Fox seems to get his information from the “usual suspects.” That is, the MSM, anti-Israel NGOs, etc. If he is a “leftist” or considers himself such, can he justify credulously “information” or reporting from those sources?? After all, aren’t the MSM mainly owned by bourgeois enemies of the working class?? And the NGOs, don’t most of them get funding from govts?? So right there you have a deception, a subterfuge. And don’t govts have interests that they might want to conceal? Why does Mr Fox accept info from those sources?

  8. obsy says:

    I better mark the following explicitly as sarcasm, so that the Foxes out there don’t take it literally:

    Mr Fox is wrong in one point: Israel does not use Palestinian children as human shields and does not burn them alive ― it uses them as donors of organs for transplants.
    [ *famous laugh of Dr Evil* ]

    That’s at least what I have read in the papers.

  9. E.G. says:


    [sarcasm on]

    Only children?
    Do they have something against adult brains?
    What about Youth activism? And Militancy? Are they considered unKosher or what?

    [sarcasm off]

  10. JD says:

    “If he is a “leftist” or considers himself such,”

    He’s not. He’s a traditional anti-Semite, perhaps imbibing left-sounding anti-Semitic templates. The “unremitting Evil” at the end gives himself away. Like an actor who slips out of character.

  11. […] Augean Stables » (Another) Open Letter to Judge Goldstone http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2010/05/12/another-open-letter-to-judge-goldstone – view page – cached + “Post-Modern” Anti-Semitism: Cognitive Egocentrism, Moral Schadenfreude, and “Progressive” Anti-Zionism * Multiple-Part Essays + PJ (OSM) Media Launch + Mainstreaming Conspiracy Theories + Open Letter to Jostein Gaarder * HERZILYA CONFERENCE + Conceptual Principles + Program with Links + Bibliography * Saïd and Honor-Shame * Richard Landes CV Tweets about this link Topsy.Data.Twitter.User[‘jubelfoster’] = {“photo”:”http://a1.twimg.com/profile_images/418963838/western1_normal.JPG”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/jubelfoster”,”nick”:”jubelfoster”}; jubelfoster: “Exposing Richard Goldstone's many lies. http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2010/05/12/another-open-letter-to-judge-goldstone/ ” 1 day ago view tweet retweet Filter tweets […]

  12. […] ignorante, arrogante Faktenleugner Goldstone kriegt wieder sein Fett weg: The Augean Stables hat einen weitere offenen Brief an den Hass-Propagandisten veröffentlicht. (in […]

  13. incognito says:

    When god distributed idiocy Fox must have stood several times in line.

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