Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fighting the Goldstone Report

P. David Hornik
26 January '10

“There are three primary threats facing us today: the nuclear threat, the missile threat and what I call the Goldstone threat.”

So said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech last month to the Knesset. In bracketing the “Goldstone threat” with two military threats, at least one of them existential, Netanyahu was not exaggerating. The report of the Goldstone Commission, led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone under the auspices of the notoriously anti-Israeli UN Human Rights Commission, was published in September 2009 and accuses Israel of committing war crimes in its January 2009 military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. The report thereby hands a major propaganda victory to Hamas and vindicates the terrorists’ strategy of using whole populations as human shields.

Among the best rebuttals to the report that have been published are those by Trevor Norwitz, a New York lawyer, who called it “an abominable travesty of justice,” and a much briefer one by Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa, who called it “a disgrace to the most basic notions of justice, equality and the rule of law.”

But the report’s grim impact continues. On the legal front, the UN General Assembly endorsed it in November (though democratic states either voted against or abstained), and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to refer it to the Security Council. On the terror front, the fact that Hezbollah is now storing weapons in 160 Shiite villages in southern Lebanon shows how effective the human-shield strategy has become, and how hamstrung Israel will be in future antiterrorist warfare, if it fails to overcome the Goldstone libel.

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