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Goldstone’s mea culpa! “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”


An op-ed by Judge Richard Goldstone in the Washington Post, author of the infamous “Goldstone Report” on Israel’s war in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead), represents a clear and stunning victory for everyone involved in the effort to demonstrate the egregiously biased and careless nature of the report which bears his name.

We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

he allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

46 replies »

  1. Here’s another “If only we knew then what we know now”, this one from Sarah Silverman:

    ‘If Mercedes could only have seen into the future …The amount of money they would be making from Jewish consumers … maybe they would have helped not kill the Jews but instead, they helped, ugh, er, you know, facilitate a genocide of a people who would ultimately become their best customers.”

  2. As Barak said today, Goldstone should “also publish his current findings before all the international forums where he showed the slanted and twisted report he authored.”

  3. It is a stunning victory, and a remarkable confirmation of the Israeli position on these matters. If, among those who embraced Goldstone, there are those of true, inner conscience, rather than the showy public display of it, this should lead them to reevaluate more than Goldstone, but Hamas and the nature of Israeli self-defense too. We’ll see, though. That’s a lot of self-scrutiny to endure. More likely will be rationalization of all kinds, including – I can see it coming – the claim that the Jew Goldstone finally succumbed to the censure of the Jewish community, excuse me – Zionists.

  4. He was a respected judge, knowledgeable, one had to assume. Why then did Goldstone NOT know then what he is forced to confront and admit to now? His findings did not depend only on Israel agreeing to give evidence – he could have, MUST HAVE known that his methods of evidence gathering were skewed and brought the law into disrepute. He started with the outcome he wanted and bent the facts to deliver that.

    We have to assume that he did know then what he says he has only recently discovered. Why, then, is he disclosing his mistakes only now? Cui bono from this disclosure? And I agree with A. Jay Adler, it won’t be long until the UN says that he’s lying.

  5. Goldstone’s words are a mealy-mouthed apologia for a blood libel, which is almost impossible to retract, as Jeffrey Goldberg writes in his blog post Judge Richard Goldstone: Never mind.

    If Goldstone had wanted, there were dozens of refutations of the claims of war crimes against Israel, from the Elder of Ziyon’s critiques to the website Understanding the Goldstone Report, to the State of Israel itself in a 500-page rebuttal of its own. (I have the links to the above listed in my own blog post on Goldstone’s retraction).

    As to his complaint that Israel should have cooperated with him, why should a country cooperate with a report that sets out as its goal to investigate Israel’s war crimes: not “if” Israel has committed war crimes, but to investigate those crimes.

    The man has unbridled chutzpah. I wonder what caused him to suddenly wake up now. Perhaps one of the Ynet taklbackers is correct – that he couldn’t get a seat in shul for Pesach. Stranger things have happened.

  6. Goldstone had to know at the outset that his selective methods of gathering “evidence” were suspect. He simply counted on not getting caught out.

    Like SarahLeah, I wonder why now, and who benefits from this volte face. Can Goldstone be such a grandiose fool as to think that he will be forgiven and his good name restored because he has confessed to skewing the evidence gathering? What is his real motivation?

  7. Goldberg’s behaviour has the hallmarks of a narcissist who is running short of the vital narcissistic supply which nourishes his paper thin grandiose ego.

    It’s likely that he played the game and wrote the reported they wanted, rather than the truth, for the UN because he wanted a position of stature there. He didn’t get one. It’s also likely that he did not foresee, (because narcissists like him are the centre of their own universe and they believe that the world does and should revolve around them and what they want), the nature of the disgust with which his report was met and the reaction of the South African and other Jewish communities around the world.

    I think his friends and others who “worshipped” him, fell away and shunned him.

    A narcissist uses people to make himself feel good. I believe that this recantation is because he has suffered a significant narcissistic injury, and he needs approval to help him feel better. I do not believe Goldstone to be sincere in it, but we shall see.

  8. All those sites that so enjoyed the report and followed Richard Richard so eagerly will doubtless show the brave & moral concern for the truth no matter how distressing it is, that they stress daily is their concern and will be recanting the opinions based on his previous words. I am talking of Weiss, Silverstein and all those found on their blogrolls.

  9. gut voch to everyone

    goldstone is a self serving, little man…

    his semi mea culpa, means nothing

    and no margie…i will tell you exactly what will happen

    every leftist site will blame the “israel lobby” for pressuring goldstone

    think that norman finkeldick will change one iota of his speeches now that the truth is out??? he sure didnt when hamas gave out the real numbers of combatants killed

    the far left hates the jew

    dont care if that member of the far left was born a jew or not…the far left are the new nazi party

    and herr goldstone is their personal capo

  10. The was a time that the Jewish community would prescribe a cherem on a person like this – no Jew would talk to hem, he would be unwelcome in any Jewish community or synagogue.

    The damage he did to Israel will never be repaired, and he has put himself irreparably outside the community.

    This apology, with its self-serving rationalizations and continuing complaint that Israel will not cooperate with him – why should it? Should an innocent person cooperate with a hanging judge? – is too little, too late.

    I wait to see the Guardian’s version of this to see how his words will be selectively picked apart. That ppaper two years later still has a special section dedicated to Gaza, but nothing like it to Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other place where Western powers have killed thousands. Will they now start taking it down? Somehow I doubt it.

  11. walt said: “the far left are the new nazi party”

    The far left Socialists have a long history of allying with national Socialists.

    Stalin and Shitler – Molotov and Ribbentrop
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact

    AKUS said:
    “The was a time that the Jewish community would prescribe a cherem on a person like this – no Jew would talk to hem, he would be unwelcome in any Jewish community or synagogue.”

    I believe that something like that as taken place with the vile neteuri karta.

  12. By the way, has the Guardian commented on this or even reported Goldstone’s retraction? No? Really? What a surprise!

  13. But Goldstone must have known the reality all along. None of us is asking why’s he’s waited until the publication of the final report to “tell the truth and speak it in his heart.”

  14. I don’t like the title of the Samson Blinded piece this comes from but the final paragraph seems an astute observation:

    Goldstone’s de facto apology was carefully crafted as an op-ed rather than an official retraction. That way, he remains faithful to his friends – anti-Israeli diplomats and liberals – while soothing Israelis.

  15. mitnaged
    I think you have it 100% right. I was trying to think of a way to voice just that opinion without slandering the man, but you beat me to it.

    Any advantage he may have hoped to reap from his work (that even Mary Robinson of Ireland, no friend of Israel, turned down as being too political) has perhaps not materialised and he’s now backtracking in order to in some way redeem himself.

    I think it unlikely. He has put himself beyond the pale.

  16. walt kovacs

    in this piece…you can actually imagine the jew haters heads spinning

    What a sickening place to visit. I had heard about it but never been there.

  17. I have yet to see mention of this in the Guardian or Independent. Has anyone else seen any reporting in British papers?

  18. @Bella 7:46 a.m. – No, there is no mention in either the Guardian or the Indy. Or the Telegraph either come to that. I’ve found reports in the New York Times, CNN and the BBC. I haven’t checked Fox or other news agencies yet.

  19. Well, Mr. Goldstone: Ignorance is no excuse….or
    If you didn’t know you should have known.
    The damage is done.

  20. Cui bono indeed, as SarahLeah says. Remember how Jimmy Carter “apologized” about Israel just at the time his grandson needed the Jewish vote? I’m pretty sure there’s some ulterior motive with Goldstone as well. “If I had know…” If he had known! A millionth of a brain is what’s required to know what the effects of such a blood libel would be!

  21. How is it that the esteemed Goldstone was blind to what all of us can see?

    Doesn’t say much for his insite or his abilities to judge anything rationally or fairly.

  22. OK folks, I have just read on the web – sorry, didn’t record the link but I have a feeling that it was from the Jerusalem Post – that Goldstone is making overtures to the South African Jewish community, which virtually ostracised him, probably in the hope that he can rehabilitate himself with them.

    AKUS, I agree with you – there should have been a cherem on this wretch from the day the report was published, for the damage it has done to Israel’s and Jews’ reputations.

    However, I doubt that it will be enough for him if the S African community take him back (and I hope they will not). He will simply use that as a stepping stone to higher things.

  23. A group of friends and I were just talking about Zionophobia, which often merges into Jew-hatred and waddya know, up it pops in human form (I think) in the shape of Tebboth!

    (Been to the link and seen its bias. Move along folks, nothing to see here)

  24. Conal Urquhart is a little less so in this particular instance.

    A lot of people are suspicious of Goldstone’s motives now and rightly so.

    And where is the contextualising of UNHRC?

  25. Richard, I’m not in London, that’s tomorrow. And I’ve heard of Seph Brown and I don’t think it’s good.

    I tend to agree with Ziontruth that Arabs and not Jews inhabit “settlements”.

    I hope our brave warriors, Jonathan Hoffman and Richard Millett, do go.

  26. Ariadne – Goldstone’s de facto apology was carefully crafted as an op-ed rather than an official retraction. That way, he remains faithful to his friends – anti-Israeli diplomats and liberals – while soothing Israelis.

    I cannot speak for all Jews/Israelis but I will never forgive him.

    I believe that he is an inherently BAD person. I am careful not to use the word ‘evil’ but ‘bad’ covers it very well.

  27. JerusalemMite, I don’t blame you. He didn’t care who was in that commission and he didn’t care what he was told by Israel.

    There’s a lovely poem by Thomas Hardy about a girl who goes awhoring in the big city. She comes back to her native village in silks and other finery. I don’t remember the title of the poem (The Village Maid?) but there’s a line that runs through it’

    “Didn’t you know I’ve been ruined?” said she.

    You can’t get it back and that’s what Goldstone is going to learn.
    His silks and finery turned into sh1t on publication.

  28. Tebboth, the last vestige of the morally twisted – posting lies and excusing that as “stimulating debate.”

    Yours was an utterly predictable answer of course.