An open letter to Richard Goldstone

An open letter to Richard Goldstone

I know this letter will, in the first instance, evoke a reaction: Is he kidding? But I would hope that after this understandable initial, human reaction, that you will give its content some consideration and maybe even act on it.

My call to you is to do what may seem impossible: to repudiate the very report that has your name attached to it and that more and more is simply known as the Goldstone Report.

I have had great respect for you over the years. Your work at the head of the South Africa Reconciliation Commission and in helping to find a just solution to the Bosnian conflict deserves the highest commendation.

Moreover, I know you to be a proud Jew who serves on the board of trustees of Hebrew University and who has a daughter living in Israel.

With this background, I wondered in the first place how you could take on the chairmanship of the investigation of the war in Gaza mandated by the U.N. Human Rights Council. After all, the Human Rights Council has repeatedly demonstrated its bias against Israel and in its stated mission for the investigation began with assumptions presuming Israeli guilt.

And, of course, after the report was finished and became public, I wondered how you could lend your name to a report that turned reality on its head, that undermined Israel’s right to self-defense (was there ever a more just war than this, about a country that absorbed thousands of rockets targeted at civilians for eight years?), and that corrupted the vital international war against Islamic extremism and against terror in general.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. I know that you are moral and principled. I surely don’t agree with the attacks that label you a self-hating Jew. And I find it hard to believe, considering your independence in the past, that you were pandering to certain human rights groups and left-wing intellectuals always looking for Western nations and institutions to indict out of some deep guilt about colonialism.

How then can I explain your behavior? I am left with the belief that you actually thought you were tempering an inevitable assault on Israel through the Council by serving as chair and by labeling Hamas as well guilty of war crimes. I have to believe that you convinced yourself that you were trying to help Israel not only by creating tremendous pressure on Israel to set up its own independent investigation, but also by placing Hamas on trial for its behavior.

If that were the case, then you are guilty of dangerous naïveté that has placed the state of Israel and the Jewish people in significant danger. As expected, very little attention is being paid to the critique of Hamas in the report. It has become the major focal point for action by every anti-Israel force in the world to justify everything from arresting Israeli leaders to boycotting the Jewish state and to continuing terrorist actions against the very existence of Israel.

Efforts are being made to undo the damage. The government of Israel has made clear that the report’s recommendations, if implemented, will make it well-nigh impossible to continue the peace process.

The United States made clear its opposition to bringing it to the Security Council and was joined by Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Ukraine, and Slovakia in voting on Oct. 16 against its adoption by the Human Rights Council in the blatantly biased resolution.

We hoped your own public criticism of the totally one-sided resolution approving your report was a small first step toward recognizing and acknowledging that you were deceived by the Council into believing it had any real interest in a balanced approach.

Nothing, however, would have as dramatic an impact as an announcement by you that you no longer can attach your name to the investigation, that you didn’t realize the tenuous findings – you yourself admitted they could not be upheld in a court of law – would have such an insidious effect on the safety and good name of the Jewish state and on the vital struggles against international terrorism.

You could go on to say that it was your hope that your chairmanship would lead to a balanced response and would lead Israel, a balanced democracy and country ruled by law, to take further action itself. But you were wrong. And you’ve come to realize you are partially to blame for the damage. And so you now wish to separate yourself from the report, from the findings and from the efforts to use this report for destructive purpose.

Not an easy thing to do. But it is the right thing to do. Think about it.

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