Goldstone Pulls Back on Report

Talk about pulling a 180. At the start of the month, South African jurist Richard Goldstone admitted that, in his Goldstone Report on the Gaza War of 2009 between Israel and Hamas, he had erroneously accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians.

“I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence [provided by Israel] explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes,” Goldstone wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

At the time of the drafting of the report, Israel had refused to participate in Goldstone’s fact-finding mission into its military offensive and opted instead to hold its own investigations. Ironically, the body that requested the Goldstone Report, the UN Human Rights Council, includes member nations like Libya, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, all nations with a history of vicious anti-Semitism where freedom of religion, sexuality and expression are practically non-existent. Women there are often punished and even killed for social transgressions such as being seen in public hugging a man not of their family and being raped.

Despite his redaction, Goldstone defended parts of the report, including the segments accusing Hamas, the Palestinian-run government of Gaza internationally condemned as a terrorist organization, of human rights violations in Gaza and demanded that the Palestinians investigate them. Israel has in the past investigated its own military for human rights violations alleged to have been committed by its soldiers and, on many occasions, found them guilty of the crimes charged against them and administered proper punishment. To this day, Hamas has yet to hold a single serious investigation into the plethora of human rights violations they’ve been charged with, both against Israelis and against their own citizens.

As is always the case with controversies concerning Israel, there is a hilarious side to this story. This time, it’s the difficulty that Goldstone’s admission has produced for Israel’s enemies. The very same people who lauded Goldstone two years ago for writing a report that accused Israel of targeting civilians have resorted to accusing the same man for “caving in to Zionist pressure” or “being paid off by Zionists” to make this announcement. Of course, there is not a single shred of evidence for either of these claims.

In fact, everything points to the contrary. When the Goldstone report came out, a lot of people accused Goldstone of throwing Israel under the bus and even purposefully aiding Israel’s enemies in their attempts to destroy it. But the fact that Goldstone, a self-proclaimed Zionist, was willing to publish a document based on the information he had available at the time and containing charges that created a public relations shitstorm for Israel proves his capacity for true objectivism.

Anti-Zionist reaction to Goldstone’s redaction has revealed yet another hypocrisy inherent in the anti-Zionist narrative Ń an obsession to destroy Israel, through sword or pen, so intense that it transcends all logic. Who are these people to say that the man who personally authored the Goldstone Report, the man who has now studied all the relevant evidence from the Gaza War on both sides and spoke with the relevant high-profile individuals, the man who to his credit levied charges against both sides involved in the war rather than just one, who are they to say that this man doesn’t know what he is talking about? Based on personal discussions, I’ve learned that many of these people are college students who have never left the protective bubble of their college campus and choose to wage the war against Israel from the comfort of their laptops, basing their opinions not on objective research but one-sided propaganda.

If Israel’s enemies genuinely cared about the Palestinians, then they would support Goldstone’s demand that an investigation looking into Hamas’ humanitarian violations, including shooting Palestinian dissenters in Gaza’s streets and throwing them from hospital rooftops, be held.  Amazingly, these are the same people who are currently raging against the governments of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and the other Arab countries experiencing unrest for using excessive force against their own people. Yet when the government fighting against Israel is found to be doing the exact same thing, the exact same people suddenly stop caring about the victims and focus their hatred instead on Israel. I’ve spoken with countless Zionists and even those with neutral opinions who express far more concern for the future of the Palestinians than any so-called pro-Palestinian ever has. Advocating for the destruction of a country does not equate to caring about a different civilization; it just proves that person’s inability to see any solution to a problem outside of violence.

It’s sad that the term “pro-Palestinian” has become synonymous with “anti-Israel,” because the two are, ideally, very different concepts. In practice, however, “pro-Palestinian” sentiment has never actually existed. It would be better termed as “anti-Israel.” Even entertaining the pipe dream that Israel is guilty of all the accusations its enemies has held against it, it would still not excuse their complete silence whenever Hamas commits crimes against the Palestinians. The Goldstone Report is just more proof that, sadly, true pro-Palestinians are an endangered breed of activist.

AE Anteater is a fifth-year English major. He can be reached at