The Guardian and Goldstone

A Guest post by AKUS

By now many reading this will have read, or been informed about, Richard Goldstone’s semi-apology in the Washington Post on Friday, April 1 (Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes) for his role in defaming Israel via the infamous “Goldstone Report”.

At the request of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Goldstone led an inquiry into the events of Israel’s “Cast Lead” action against Hamas in Gaza in December 2009. The report has been used ever since as a primary document for the condemnation of Israel, and as recently as last month formed the basis for six more resolutions condemning Israel at the UNHRC.

(The irony of this inquiry and the continuing focus of the UNHRC on Israel’s imagined transgressions can hardly be lost on those witnessing the current war in Libya – and the regime’s vicious assault on anti-Gadaffi forces – given that Libya was one of the primary instigators of the Goldstone report).

Melanie Phillips, in her inimitable style, has adeptly dissected Goldstone’s attempt to shift the blame for his failures, but I will content myself by pointing out just five of the ways in which Goldstone admitted that his report was inaccurate, or based on false information or no information at all (for which he blames Israel), that Israel (but not Hamas) has actually implemented his request to conduct inquiries (which it would have done anyway, as a matter of course) and his revelation that the UNHRC is hopelessly biased against Israel:

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

“The 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 andf 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.”

“Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants).”

“We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. [The UNHRC independent investigator] McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.”

“I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.”

In light of his latest article, his admission of his naiveté, to say the least, and his retractions, is it any wonder that Israel decided to have nothing to do with this hanging judge?

Evidence of Goldstone’s high opinion of himself is never absent for long in his column. He apparently believed that he, a South African Jew would have influence with Hamas.

In fact, he was carefully selected by the cynical rogues at the UNHRC because of the credibility he would provide precisely because he is a Jew, who, despite his actual record, claimed to have been an opponent of apartheid, the accusation so commonly leveled at Israel:

At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

It apparently took an investigation committee of independent experts led by Mary McGowan Davis to cause the supposedly independent Goldstone to reconsider. An alternative explanation is available here: What made Goldstone change his mind about the Gaza war report? A third is that since it appears he will not be offered a job he treasured at the UN, he feels betrayed and decided to turn on his former sponsors.

When Goldstone issued his infamous report, the Guardian did not hesitate to use it to darken Israel’s name.

(I have appended a list of some of the numerous columns the Guardian published about the report, or that reference the report.)

They even had Goldstone himself, in the role of the classic useful idiot, contribute an article on CiF explaining why “as-a-Jew” he felt compelled to take on the task that Mary Robinson, the former Irish President and frequent critic of Israel, refused, saying that it smacked more of politics than of human rights when she realized that she would simply be a tool in the hands of the automatic anti-Israeli lobby at the UNHRC.

Here is an excerpt from Goldstone’s article that appeared on “Comment is Free” on October 21st, 2009. I emphasize the classic claim of the “as-a-Jew”, which makes people like Goldstone so useful:

Israel’s missed opportunity

I would have been acting against those principles and my own convictions and conscience if I had refused a request from the United Nations to investigate serious allegations of war crimes against both Israel and Hamas in the context of Operation Cast Lead.

As a Jew, I felt a greater and not a lesser obligation to do so. It is well documented that as a condition of my participation I insisted upon and received an even-handed mandate to investigate all sides, and that is what we sought to do.

The Guardian, which would have pounced on any other report Goldstone might have issued that contained anything, no matter how small, that could be used to condemn Israel once again, has not republished Goldstone’s April 1 retraction.  It took until April 3rd to bring his mea culpa to its readers’ attention in an article by Conal Urquhart. Urquhart, married to a Palestinian supporter named Kirstie Campbell, who worked for the British Red Cross in Gaza and is now a spokesperson for the UN World Food Programme (UNRWA), is apparently relieving Harriet Sherwood while she is back in the UK (though the relief at being spared more of her fatuous articles may be shared by us and the Guardian editors equally).

Note the language in these excerpts from Urquhart’s article:

Judge Goldstone expresses regrets about his report into Gaza war

However, in a new article in the Washington Post, Goldstone appeared to backtrack from some of his findings.

He wrote that subsequent Israeli military investigations had confirmed some of the report’s findings but also indicated that, “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy” by Israel.

According to Urquhart, Goldstone only “appears to backtrack” when, in fact, Goldstone flatly admits that the report’s core findings were false (of course, Goldstone claims the blame lies with Israel for not cooperating with him).

Urquhart also brushes aside Goldstone’s retraction of the most damaging accusation he made – that Israel deliberately targeted civilians. Instead of writing “but also indicated that, “civilians were not intentionally targeted” the words “and stated” is the correct summary of Goldstone’s most important retraction.

The second article (as I write this) is by Aluf Benn of Ha’aretz, who now appears to have been added to the Guardian’s stable of reliable Israeli writers who can be trusted to cast a negative view on anything that Israel does “as-an-Israeli”.

The Guardian headlines the article in a way that makes it appear to provide valuable and much-needed guidance for what it continues to spin as criminal behavior typical of Israel:

Despite its flaws, the Goldstone report has changed Israel’s behaviour in Gaza

In 2009, Goldstone portrayed Israel and Hamas as morally equal; in 2011, he grants Israel, which conducted hundreds of inquiries over its military behaviour in Gaza, a higher moral stance than Hamas.

This is obviously good news. But it’s doubtful whether the Israeli inquiries, few of which have led to indictments and convictions, would have been carried out without his report and its threat of referral to the Hague. Moreover, the fear of another incriminating report serves as a powerful deterrent against a sequel. Israel has changed its behaviour in Gaza, favouring pinpoint strikes in response to rockets and mortar bombs. But it would not forget and forgive the reprimand from the South African judge, even after his public about-face.

It is simply not true that Goldstone’s report forced Israel to carry out investigations into its soldiers’ behavior during Cast Lead. Israel carries out investigations after every major military action and it was reports, mostly later shown to be false, in the Israeli press that led to the excessively large number of investigations (compare, for example, Israel’s 400 inquiries with the negligible number the Allies have carried out in Iraq). The report is also seen as a deterrent against Israel repeating Cast Lead – but there is no mention of it acting as a deterrent to the terrorists running Gaza, or Goldstone’s apology for thinking that it would:

Compare the version that Aluf Benn wrote for the Guardian with what he wrote in Ha’aretz:

Goldstone retraction shows West’s changed attitude toward Israel in light of Arab world turmoil

Israel achieved a major public relations coup this weekend, comparable to the United Nations rescission of its notorious resolution equating Zionism with racism. South African Judge Richard Goldstone, who came to symbolize more than anyone else the efforts to delegitimize Israel as a civilized and law-abiding country, has now retracted his allegations that Israel had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead.

In his opinion piece published in Friday’s Washington Post, Goldstone underlined Israel’s clear moral superiority over Hamas, saying the Israel Defense Forces did not intentionally hit civilians in its operation in the Gaza Strip, while Gazans by contrast did in fact deliberately hit Israeli civilians.

Goldstone also acknowledged being naive in thinking Hamas would conduct itself as a law-abiding government and investigate allegations of its own war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by those firing rockets and mortar shells from the Strip into Israel. He has come to the understanding, however belatedly, that Hamas is not interested in humanitarian laws or human rights, but rather only in waging war against Israel.

The Guardian has delighted in spreading the worst lies about Israel. It was instrumental in spreading the Al Durrah libel, the “Jenin Massacre” libel and the lies about the Mavi Marmara affair. It used Goldstone’s report as a primary source for spreading the lies about Israel after Cast Lead – that Israel deliberately targeted civilians, that most of the dead were civilians (now denied by Hamas itself!), that it used Arab civilians as human shields during Cast Lead, that it targeted schools and mosques for no reason (even UNRWA’s John Ging retracted that accusation after the Guardian immediately spread the initial reports that Israel had shelled a school).

Will the Guardian finally admit that the source for true and accurate reporting about Israel and the Palestinians come from the IDF and Israeli government sources? One of Israel’s great strengths, and not a small factor in its resounding defeats of powerful Arab armies, has been to tell the truth about what is happening on the battlefield. In the end, the truth comes out, whether it is pictures of destroyed tanks spread across miles of desert in Sinai or the realization by Hamas that claiming that it is counter-productive to claim that the majority of those killed during Cast Lead were civilians. Now the truth about the infamous Goldstone report has emerged from the pen of the very man responsible for it.  Goldstone has finally realized that he was nothing but a useful idiot, played by those who needed a Jewish Judas sheep to lead, they hoped, Israel to the slaughterhouse.

It is past time for the Guardian to take down its “Gaza page”, left in place to provide fodder for those who wish to ignore Hamas’ attacks against Israeli civilians and show a one-sided, biased view of Gaza, and admit that they were wrong. They were wrong about Al Durrah, they were wrong about Jenin, they were wrong about the Mavi Marmara, they were wrong about Cast Lead, they are wrong about Hamas, they are wrong about Gaza, and they were wrong about Goldstone. They are wrong about Israel, and it is beyond time for them to admit it, and issue their own retraction, let alone publish Goldstone’s.

That being said, Goldstone has done damage to Israel and Jews of historic proportions. There will be those who continue to cite his report, or selected portions from it, as if he had never published his retraction. He is a man who has placed himself outside the Jewish community, and should be rejected by all Jews. In an earlier time, Jewish communities would have issued a cherem against him – a rule decreeing that he is no longer recognized as a Jew, nor welcomed where Jews congregate. His is a name that will go down in the long annals of Jewish history with a few select others who betrayed their people in order to try to win praise and position among those who would destroy us.

(Here you will find a partial of articles and letters from the Guardian referencing Goldstone’s report either above the line or below the line, even on matters that have little or nothing to do with Israel. The sheer volume, written by one member after another of the rogue’s gallery that the Guardian employs directly or on contract to demonize Israel, is indicative of the obsession with Cast Lead and support for Hamas that permeates the Guardian’s reporting about Israel and, in fact, the Middle East.)

20 replies »

  1. Excellent analysis, AKUS, which shows up the Guardian’s mindless Israel-hatred in all its ignominy.

    The Ha’aretz article shows that Goldstone’s attempt at mea culpa was indeed as a result of a narcissistic injury he sustained at Stanford University. Goldstone recanted only because he was shown to have been wrong in public and his sense of self depends upon being taken seriously. A narcissist uses people to make himself feel good. Because his ego has been damaged and he needs approval to help him feel better, he probably could not resist getting up at the meeting mentioned in Ha’aretz. As usual he underestimated others who he probably thought would not dare to argue with him. Even the mea culpa is self-serving – he is trying to make himself look good and feel better, but I’d be willing to bet that he is seething inside because he has been shown in public to be a liar and a fool.

    The following is from the Ha’aretz article. Note in particular the last paragraph in bold:

    “Bell told Haaretz that, in his opinion, the whole experience of the last few months – where Goldstone has heard what many people have to say about him and his report – “caught up with him.”

    “He tried to claim that he did not make a mistake, but after that night – it seems to me – he understood that he could not claim such a thing and be taken seriously,” said Bell.

    “If [Goldstone] hadn’t have sat there and people hadn’t have confronted him at other events, he would not have done it,” said Bell, referring to the column Goldstone wrote in the April 1 edition of the Washington Post, entitled ‘Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes.” (emphasis added).

    For myself, I believe Bell. Goldstone was trying to make the best of a very bad few hours by appearing to be contrite. I doubt that he meant it.

    The Guardian should publish a full apology for basing so much of its anti-Israel rubbish upon the findings of this dishonest report.

  2. I don’t even bother reading the guardian since they locked my account for criticizing Brian Whitaker, their resident English Arabist and Gadaffi lover.

  3. AKUS, well done for a veritable tour de force!

    This is a very meaty article which covers all the bases. I would however add the following:

    Whenever Goldstone was criticised for the approach of his report, he would weasel his critics that his was merely a fact finding mission and those findings would not be admissible in a court of law. That being the case, why did the UN base so many sanctions against Israel on it?

    The other aspect is the inclusion on the panel of the egregious Christine Chinkin who shortly beforehand had signed a letter published in the British press which accused Israel of war crimes.

    This blatant bias should have been enough for her to be recused from the panel but Goldstone would have none of it because he trusted her and had known her for a long time. Goldstone argued that Chinkin was only one panel member, which implied that the others could counter any bias.

    Later on, of course, we heard about him sleeping through the testimony of one of the residents of Sderot which was under almost continuous rocket fire see

  4. Mitnaged

    was it the power of the anti goldstone debate team….or was it the vehement jew hate he heard from the other side?

    dore gold ripped apart the report to his face 2 years ago….presenting significant evidence of where the report got it wrong…at that time, all goldstone would say was, ” i wish that israel had cooperated with us”

    he retracted notihing…in fact, he went so far as to suggest military tactics

    fact is, goldstone was defending his report right up to february, at another debate held at uc berkeley

    it doesnt really change anything…this morning on democracy….errrrr…communism now….the mondoweiss crowd, represented by lizzie (i wish i was living in poland) ratner and adam (lispy) horowitz, went out of their way to say that goldstein only backtracked from a “part” of the report…and of course, there are the other three jew haters that made up the panel…who love every sentence of it still.

    never mind, that if goldstone’s name were not on that report, not one person would have even paid attention to it

    as an aside…i have noticed that the majority of male anti israel folk are a bit light in the loafers, weasely looking and have seriously irritating voices….what is up with that?

  5. It took The Guardian quite a while to get something up on CiF about Goldstone’s recantations. I wonder what was going on in the secret meetings of the inner core of The Guardian. I can suggest some headings.

    How to spin the recantations to minimize the impact of what they reveal.

    How to move the emphasis away from what they state to what they don’t state.

    How to explain why Goldstone has recanted.

    How to integrate this disappointment in to the obsessive Guardian drive to have Israel ‘disappear from the map’.

    The best that they could come up with is just another HaAretz article. HaAretz also seems to be in high spin to minimize the implications of Goldstone’s retractions.

    It must be horrible for The Guardian and HaAretz to read the words, ‘It was not Israel’s policy to target innocent non combatants’. The NIF is probably devastated too

    The poor dears.

  6. Akus that was absorbing & illuminating. Your investigative thoroughness is admirable and in stark contrast to the superficial efforts of the Guardian journalists who seem to think that their work is done when they’ve found a point to lambast Israel with.

    The Strenger thread shows the influence of this approach where people who have absolutely no idea of the real state of affairs in Israel put forward their theories and are rewarded with tens of recommendations, the whole thing spinning out of control until the Israel of their group imagination bears no resemblance to the real place. When objections are made to their fantasies there are the equivalent of howls of laughter that we could be so wrong about their precious construct. This might in itself sound fantastic but reading the actual below the line entries is an education in the corruptive influence of prejudice and fanaticism. (By corruptive I mean damaging to concepts of truth & justice and similar intangibles)

  7. Thank you. Illuminating and iformative.


    Did anyone else see Israeli channel 10 last night? It turns out that the mysterious blogger who has been the first source to reveal Anat Kam’s name, the Abu-Sisi story, and other undisclosed issues, agaisnt Israeli censorship, is none other than our Guardian-veteran friend Richard Silverstein, in his blog Tikun-Olam (a.k.a Old Richard is fixin’ the world step by step).

    He said in the interview it wall all out of deep deep love to Israel. Royal douche!

  8. The Guardian – finest purveyor of anti-Israel porn in the land:

    Pimp my News!

    Bitch-slap my Byline!

    Strut my Column!

    The Guardian – streets ahead in the fetish flesh trade.

  9. Walt I doubt that it was the vehement Jew hate – Goldstone is capable of ignoring that to get the job done. He would never have agreed to head up the Goldstone enquiry otherwise. No, he was shown to be a fool in front of his peers at the Stanford debate. He is trying to pull his nuts out of the fire.

    He is a classic narcissist, whose ego is paper thin and he needs narcissistic supply in the form of admiration to feed it. He must have basked in the ignominious “glory” of the initial reception of his report, but, being a narcissist who is the centre of his own universe and for whom people exist only to serve his needs and therefore can be ignored when their views don’t chime with his, he cannot have foreseen the opprobrium with which it and he would be greeted.

    Dore Gold’s debate with him began the process of narcissistic injury to that paper thin ego, but the narcissism triumphed and he laid himself wide open at the debate at Stanford to more of the same. And he got it.

    Narcissists dare not be seen to be failures in ANYTHING and they must always be seen to be right. They will often go to ridiculous lengths to bend the truth to make themselves appear right. To be perceived otherwise threatens their fragile sense of self very much more than it might a person who is emotionally mature and centred. If they are found out (they often tend to be smooth talkers and liars) to have been lying or wrong they react either by falling to pieces because of the narcissistic injury, or with narcissistic rage. Enraged narcissists brood on the imagined injury to their overweening pride, invariably brought on by their own activities, and plan revenge.

    Goldstone cannot bear to admit to himself that he was wrong, that the terms of the investigation were terminally flawed – it would cost him too much psychologically. I have little doubt that his “contrition” is surface-deep – he still believes it was everyone else’s fault and not his.

    The way to counter the damage from such a poisonous individual is never to trust him, and let him forget the woeful mistakes he has made. He is wounded now, and dangerous, and continuing to remind him of his lies and failure is what is needed for the final coup de gras to his overinflated sense of self.

    And Richard Silverstein is, I think, another from the same tree, but far less intelligent and less well-connected.

  10. Natalie – It is incredible that Israel, of all places, should ask him to visit. But perhaps they think this time he can be used as a propaganda ploy in the same way as the UNHRC used him. I think he should never be allowed in the country.

    Richard Cohen has a good piece in the WP today (after a rather strange beginning):

    “As Goldstone acknowledges, Israel has looked into every charge of war crimes — incident by incident. Some soldiers have indeed been punished because some awful things happened. But overall, Israel adheres to a morality we all recognize and admire — and that its enemies, Hamas in particular, do not. Those who gleefully embraced the Goldstone report have to ask themselves why. They may hate the answer.”

    The Goldstone Report and Israel’s moral standing

  11. Good points, Akus. But as I’ve already said, if His Honour’s allowing himself to be used as a propaganda tool it’s because he can’t get enough gloire – of the sort he received during his good ol’ days in immediate post-apartheid S.A.
    Celebrity and publicity are as addictive as any chemical we could name. If he were sincere, he would never have agreed to take the risky job in the first place. It was not a job for a nice Jewish boy – after all, there was too much at stake for us all.

  12. NatalieIreneWood – Goldstone should be paraded from town to town, and particularly through Sderot, barefoot and in sackloth, and be made to beg their forgiveness for the damage he has done them.

    And he should be made to stay in the southern Negev for the next few weeks to endure alongside the honest citizens there the fruits of his malignant report.

    And then he should be forced to do it again.

  13. Half of me wants to see al-Gardistan continue with its vile anti-Israel agenda. It’s so blatant that the rag just finds itself ever more steeped in ridicule:

    We are in bile
    Steeped in so far that, should we wade no more,
    Returning were as tedious as go o’er

    (apologies, Will)

  14. Dhimmi Carter did a similar turn when one of his relatives from for some office.

    Published 09:52 22.12.09
    Latest update 10:30 22.12.09
    Jimmy Carter to U.S. Jews: Forgive me for stigmatizing Israel
    Ex-president offers ‘al-het’, says ‘we must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances’.

    When I looked at jimmys website there was NO mention of his apology – so jimmmys apology was BOGUS.

  15. “In an earlier time, Jewish communities would have issued a cherem against him – a rule decreeing that he is no longer recognized as a Jew, nor welcomed where Jews congregate. His is a name that will go down in the long annals of Jewish history with a few select others who betrayed their people in order to try to win praise and position among those who would destroy us.”

    Excellent. My point exactly.
    There is only one honorable way out for Goldstone. He knows what it is.

  16. Fool Me Once – yes, I saw the Silverstein circus.
    Hilarious that he compared himself to Assange. (Hope he hasn’t been to Sweden lately…)
    My bets re. his sources here are Didi Remez, Joseph Dana and/or Jonathan Shapira.