So what does it all mean? This op-ed for some reason, causing more of a stir than the report, itself.
Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly said that Goldstone’s 500 word editorial proves that the entire Goldstone Report should be “thrown into the dustbin of history”. H’aaretz reports that the Israeli Government is set to embark on a quiet campaign with the goal of forcing the UN to adopt the 500 word newspaper editorial over the Goldstone Report (which was the 575 outcome of 188 interviews, 300 reviewed reports, as well as countless solicited testimonies and public hearings.
The US State Department wasted no time to push its interpretation of the Op-Ed as grounds for completely vindicating the IDF from anything resembling War Crimes. According to H’aaretz:
“State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said that the Obama administration read the op-ed “with great interest,” adding that the U.S. Government did not see any evidence that the Israeli Government committed any war crimes, nor did it intentionally target civilians.”
Toner observed that in light of the op-ed, it appears that “Justice Goldstone has reached the same conclusion.” He commended Israel, saying that the U.S. administration believes that Israel “has undertaken credible internal processes to assess its own conduct of hostilities”.
Toner goes on to state how “concerned” the US is about “Anti-Israeli Israel bias in the Human Rights Council”.
Firstly, considering the US’s appalling abuse of its veto power in the Security Council, I’m going to put it out there and suggest that the US has absolutely no right in calling out any other nation or collection of nations for having a “bias” concerning Israel.
Secondly, this reminded me of Stephen Colbert addressing the White House Press conference dinner. What was it he said?… “reality has a well know liberal bias”. It’s that typically Israel-esque habit of whining “why is everybody picking on me?”, whenever they get caught with blood on their hands. Evidently, that line has been picked up on by the US State Department.
So, for the US and Israel, this Op-Ed means that the entire Goldstone Report is worthless. Well, there are a number of things we should consider before jumping to that conclusion:
1. What did the Goldstone Report contend?
The Goldstone report contends many things. In the video in my previous post Adam Horowitz points out that the idea of Israel targeting civilians as part of policy was just a drop in the ocean. The report also contends that the IDF used disproportionate force, did not take proper precautions to minimize civilian casualties and carried out wanton acts of destruction of property
2. What does it base these contentions on?
The Goldstone report, as mentioned earlier, based these contentions on evidence collected from 188 interviews, over 300 reviewed reports, as well as countless solicited testimonies and public hearings. The report, although deliberately hindered by the Israeli Authorities, was extensive and rigorous.
Also, many of these findings have been corroborated by the findings of other Human Rights groups, which have conducted their own research. For example the Amnesty International Report “Fuelling Conflict”.
3. What did the op-ed contend?
The Op-Ed contended that the report did not have sufficient evidence to claim that Israel had directly targeted civilians as part of policy.
4. What did the Op-Ed base this on?
That’s actually a good question. Especially when he US and Israel are using this Op-Ed as an excuse to discard the entire Goldstone report. Welll, the Op-Ed based this on Goldstone’s assurance that the investigations that are being conducted by the Israeli Army will be carried out to the best of their ability and that that should be enough. No, you read it correctly.
Frankly speaking if there is any credible evidence that an aspect of the Goldstone Report is to be “reconsidered”, then I want evidence. And if evidence is an unfinished investigation of the IDF, by the IDF, then I’m not convinced.
P.s. I watched this video this morning. an activist (who I recognize as an American who participated in the Gaza Flotilla, interviews the Al-Simouni Family in light of the recent Op-Ed: