Was the article a recantation? As Maurice Ostroff has pointed out, Goldstone’s article, rather than being a departure from previous statements, seems to fit a pattern of a series “about faces” in which he admitted that his evidence would not be admissible in a court of law, that the investigation was not meant to be a formal criminal procedure, and so qualified his initial assertions that it is almost impossible to pin down Goldstone regarding any of his accusations against Israeli actions in general or specific instances. Be that as it may, for supporters of Israel and Zionists, no article or apology, and certainly not this weasel-worded one, could ever possibly repair the damage that was perpetrated by Goldstone. Goldstone himself has given his definitive judgment about the so-called recantation. He announced that he will not retract his report. Therefore, we can probably dismiss any talk of “recantation” as wishful thinking. Goldstone also told the world, in the title of his Op-Ed, what the investigation that he chaired was all about, and what his so-called recantation is about. It is not about the Hamas in any way, about investigations or even-handed justice, according to the evidently unrepentant Goldstone. It is right there in the title: “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes.” For Goldstone and most of the world, this report was about Israeli war crimes, and it still is. This is a blatant libel, because Israel committed no war crimes, and Goldstone presented no legally admissible evidence that Israel committed war crimes. He admits as much and claims the investigation was never meant to probe crimes:
Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank.
That is a very surprising assertion after months of headlines about Israeli “war crimes” supposedly “proven by the Goldstone report. i The U.N. wrote about the Goldstone report “UN mission finds evidence of war crimes by both sides in Gaza conflict” and Goldstone did not object. If he did not “investigate criminal conduct,” how could he find evidence of crimes? No doubt a subtle legal mind could explain how this was possible, but to ordinary folk it looks like the U.N. claimed that Goldstone found war crimes, while Goldstone claims he was not even looking.
The report itself is very odd. In over 1550 pages one would expect casualty lists, detailed transcripts of hearings and examination of evidence. Instead the “evidence” is very often relegated to footnotes, which reference reports of biased NGOs, and most of the report is given over to hand-waving and unsubstantiated allegations.
What was the impact of the original report? As Ray Cook notes:
The report has since been used by every Israel and Jew-hater, every left-wing Hamas groupie, the governments of both friendly and hostile nations and the worldwide media to back up their claims that Israel is a rogue criminal state that targets civilians, uses munitions illegally, uses civilians as human shields…
It is a great source of succour and smugness to the BDS organisations who would Boycott, Sanction and Disinvest from Israel.In other words, the report whose findings were rejected by Israel and its supporters, had become a weapon of Israel’s enemies who could quote the fact that the UN itself regarded Israel as a war criminal.
The Goldstone Report had become, therefore, a form of modern Blood Libel…
The above at once overstates and understates the impact of the Goldstone report. It overstates the case because the Hamas groupies did not rely only the Goldstone Report. They also used other tactics such as crude anti-Semitism (“Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the Gas!”) and fabricated data about a “humanitarian crisis.” It understates the case because the Goldstone Report is not just a malicious accusation. The Goldstone Report was part of, and meant to be part of, a demonic campaign that succeeded in legitimizing a racist and genocidal organization. It is not a random error, but a tool in a systematic conspiracy to legitimate and perpetrate genocide, a crime against humanity. Goldstone and his supporters are participants in this conspiracy.
Without the intervention of judge Goldstone and the Hamas groupies, the nature of the Hamas enemy that Israel is fighting in Gaza would be crystal clear. The Hamas is a racist organization of fascist fanatics who announce that their goal is to exterminate the Jews, that their preferred strategy is violence, that they are opposed to the peace process, that there is a Zionist cabal, documented in the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion to take over the world. When the Hamas was voted into power, their showcase ideologue Azam Tamimi wrote:
…[So] long as the Zionist project serves the purposes of the current World Order… no effort will be spared in sustaining Israel. However, no sane person would imagine that this situation would continue forever. The imperialist West is in retreat and its escalating domestic problems will soon preoccupy it and divert its attention from many foreign affairs that have so far been considered strategic interests. The Zionist entity lacks the ability to self-sustain and therefore cannot survive without the U.S. umbilical cord that supplies it with funds and weapons. …Evidently, the Muslim world is witnessing a massive awakening that may be destined to initiate the change from weakness to strength. When Arab and Muslim gain of strength and confidence coincides with the retreat of the West due to the shrinkage in material and military resources and the augmentation of domestic crises, the end of the Zionist project will come and the State of Israel will no longer be.
Azam Tamimi is considered a Hamas “moderate” because he distinguishes between Jews and “Zionists,” unlike the bulk of the Hamas.
The deeds of the Hamas more than suit their words, as their rocket and mortar fire kill civilians almost exclusively and intentionally, among them a high proportion of children (see Qassam Victims ). Hamas also have a well-documented strategy of using their own population as human shields.
The communiques of the Hamas make it clear that the “occupation” they are fighting is the State of Israel itself. Israeli towns such as Sderot and Beersherba are called “settlements” and Israeli victims who live and travel within Green Line Israel are termed “settlers.” For example, a recent Hamas communique about the attack on a school bus near Kibbutz Saad in the Negev was entitled: Hamas: Resistance hit back, injures two Israeli settlers, and the report read in part:
Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza targeted with number of mortar shells the nearby Israeli settlements, bus driver and other Israeli settler were injured after a shell targeted their bus driving in the southern Israeli kibbutz of Sa’ad April 7, 2011
None of the victims lived in the West Bank. No Israelis live in Gaza. The only Israeli soldier “occupying” Gaza permanently is the captive Gild Shalit. All the Hamas targets are in Green Line, U.N. approved, 1949 Israel. According to the Hamas, we are all “settlers.” “Ending the occupation” means ending Israel. Goldstone signed on to a campaign to legitimize this “narrative” when he wrote his original report.
To be continued…