Judge Richard Goldstone will not retract his anti-Israel report on alleged IDF war crimes, despite his admission that Israel did not intentionally attack civilians. His refusal comes hours after he said he will visit Israel in July because he “loves” the country.
The retired judge headed the U.N. Human Rights Council panel that damned Israel and barely mentioned Hamas in its investigation of Israel’s counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead defensive campaign two years ago.
He told the Associated Press that he was misquoted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who said in a telephone call that Goldstone would retract the report. The conversation was held through an interpreter, and a spokesman for the minister said that there was a lack of clarity in Yishai’s statement to reporters.
Israel and most Jewish leaders in the Diaspora castigated Goldstone for his 2009 report that Israel intentionally attacked Gaza civilians, many of whom Hamas terrorists used as human shields while attacking Israel with thousands of missiles and mortar shells. Pro-Arab groups, including Jewish leftists, supported the Goldstone Report.
He wrote in The Washington Post last week that he was wrong but told AP, “I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time." He added that “further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration.”
A South African Jewish leader wrote in The Johannesburg Times that Goldstone’s "mea culpa” was not an expression of being pro-Israel. On the contrary, Victor Gordon, Chairman of the Pretoria Council of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, asserted that Goldstone is “trying to shift the blame onto Israel for not cooperating” with his probe.
Israel stood by its long-standing policy of not compromising security by leaving IDF soldiers and officers open to international questioning.
“One is left with the suspicion that Goldstone's about-turn was prompted more by the investigation by a U.N. committee of independent experts, chaired by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, which cast new light on Israel's actions in Gaza,” wrote Gordon.
He also said that one lesson learned from the mistaken report is not to trust mainstream media. “The rush to judge Israel in the most critical terms is legendary, with some organs of the media more guilty than others. However, the overwhelming tendency to portray Israel in the most negative light is an ignominious epitaph that will adorn the media's headstone for years to come,” according to Gordon.