Following his scathing critique of the Goldstone Report, for which Israel is preparing a response, Harvard Law School’s Professor Alan Dershowitz calls Goldstone an “evil man.”
Speaking with Army Radio on Sunday morning, Dershowitz said that Goldstone – whose report to the United Nations on Israel’s anti-terrorism Operation Cast Lead accused Israel of war crimes – “is a traitor using his Jewishness to malign Israel… He is an evil man, one who allowed himself to be used against the Jewish people, an absolute traitor.”
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In his internet-publicized analysis of the Goldstone report, Dershowitz wrote that it is “much worse than most of its detractors (and supporters) believe. It is far more accusatory of Israel, far less balanced in its criticism of Hamas, far less honest in its evaluation of the evidence, far less responsible in drawing its conclusion, far more biased against Israeli than Palestinian witnesses, and far more willing to draw adverse inferences of intentionality from Israeli conduct and statements than from comparable Palestinian conduct and statements.”
Goldstone’s report, Dershowitz wrote, “is worse than any report previously prepared by any other United Nations agency or human rights group. As Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, the advocate general of the Israeli Defense Forces, aptly put it: ‘I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League. We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional: It’s a vicious lie.’”
Methodology Worse than Conclusions
Dershowitz said that though the conclusions are harmful and unfavorable to Israel, it is Goldstone’s “methodology, analysis and substantive findings” that should be criticized. Dershowitz wrote that he has offered to debate Goldstone about his findings, but that Goldstone “has refused, as he has generally refused to respond substantively to credible critics of the report.”
Different Standards for Israel, Hamas
Prof. Dershowitz chiefly targets two aspects of the report. One is the fact that it uses different criteria for judging Hamas actions and Israeli actions: “Its writers applied totally different standards, rules and criteria in evaluating the intent of the parties to the conflict.” For instance, when faced with doubts about various incidents, in Israel’s case they were resolved against Israel, “concluding that its leaders intended to kill civilians,” while doubts regarding Hamas activities were resolved in favor of Hamas, “concluding that it did not intend to use Palestinian civilians as human shields.”
“Moreover, when it had precisely the same sort of evidence in relation to both sides - for example, statements by leaders prior to the commencement of the operation - it attributed significant weight to the Israeli statements, while entirely discounting comparable Hamas statements. This sort of evidentiary bias, though subtle, and perhaps not readily apparent to the non-legal reader, permeates the entire report.”
The Goldstone report also “takes a completely different view regarding the inferring of intent from actions. When it comes to Israel, the report repeatedly looks to results and infers from the results that they must have been intended. But when it comes to Hamas, it refuses to draw inferences regarding intent from results. For example, it acknowledges that some [Hamas] combatants wore civilian clothes, and it offers no reasonable explanation for why this would be so other than to mingle indistinguishably from civilians. Yet it refuses to infer intent from these actions.”
Conclusions are Wrong
Secondly, Dershowitz writes that the two central conclusions reached in the report are “demonstrably wrong.” The report’s two conclusions are that 1) Israel used the 8,000 Hamas rocket attacks on its citizens as an [excuse] for the real purpose of the operation, which was to target innocent Palestinian civilians for death, and 2) Hamas was not guilty of deliberately and willfully using the civilian population as human shields. It found “no evidence” that Hamas fighters “engaged in combat in civilian dress,” “no evidence” that “Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack,” and no support for the claim that mosques were used to store weapons… As we will see, the report is demonstrably wrong about both of these critical conclusions.”
Dershowitz told Army Radio that he feels Israel should respond to the report by conducting its own inquiry, by a committee headed by a former Supreme Court judge.
He said that he and Goldstone were friends and colleagues for a long time, “but now I see him as a traitor… It’s as if they would have taken a Jew to edit the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He uses his Jewish last name to kosher his slander of the Jewish People.”