Saturday, April 17, 2010


I don't understand the criticism of Judge Richard Goldstone for his Report on the Israeli attack on Palestinians in Gaza in January 2009. The U.S. State Department, the NYT's David Brooks, as well as the liberal J Street group -- all say that the Goldstone Report is biased against Israel. But they never say why or give examples. Have any of these critics ever read the Report? If so, they need to cite examples by giving page numbers and specific overstatements or untruths. Otherwise, their comments are what we called in law school worthless and "conclusionary."

Barry Bearak writes in The New York Times on some fallout faced by Judge Goldstone in his desire to attend his grandson's bar mitzvah in Johannesburg.

Writes Bearak:

"Judge Goldstone, 71, is certainly no grandpa retreating into retirement. After the end of apartheid, he served on South Africa’s highest court until 2003. He was also the chief prosecutor for the United Nations’ war crimes tribunals on Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

"In early 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council selected him to lead an investigation into possible violations of international law during the three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. He said he was “shocked, as a Jew” to be chosen.

"The Goldstone Report, released last September, concluded that, based on the available evidence, both Israel and Hamas had taken actions amounting to war crimes. But the findings focused mostly on the Israelis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel later said, “We face three major strategic challenges: the Iranian nuclear program, rockets aimed at our civilians and Goldstone.”

"Here in the judge’s home country, many Jews suddenly viewed him as a heretic. He was accused of faulty reasoning. He was accused of being co-opted. He was accused of being the worst kind of anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew."

The point of all of this is that these critics of Goldstone and his Report are engaging in all sorts of name-calling and slander. If a person disagrees with the Report, it is not enough to say that Goldstone is biased or self-hating Jew. The most important part of any argument especially this one is what follows "because," as in, "This report is biased against Israel because . . ."

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