Richard Goldstone had an op-ed
in Thursday's New York Times defending his 'commission's report on Operation Cast Lead. Richard Landes does a masterful job of fisking it
paragraph by paragraph. Here's a small excerpt:
Read the whole thing
I accepted because my fellow commissioners are professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation. The case against the composition of his committee — not one person sympathetic to Israel, at least one, Christine Chinkin, openly hostile — has led two groups of lawyers, in England and in Canada, to demand Chinkin’s disqualification since she had already pronounced herself — long before she saw any real evidence — on Israel’s guilt. Goldstone, even as he tossed out the petition on a subtle technicality, admitted that Chinkin’s case was borderline and the report reconfirms her prejudice. So whence comes this bland denial?
But above all, I accepted because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war, and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm. While this sounds great to the liberal ear, these laws were formulated for conventional warfare. When the war is asymmetrical and the attacker hides among civilans for protection — using human shields — the laws need reinterpreting. It’s precisely this explanatory context of insurgents using human shields as cover for attacks on enemy civilians, that Chinkin dismissed from the beginning, and that the Commission, even though it occasionally considers evidence for it, systematically minimizes.
Here it is worth noting that this failure to recognize the problem has on the one hand been exploited by UN member states and officials of the UNHRC and by NGO officials to attack Israel’s legitimacy. This is worse than naïveté – by masking and excusing this criminal behavior, this approach constitutes a major contribution to the perpetuation of global conflict.