Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Standing Up to Goldstone

Congress is to vote today on H. Res. 867, which calls for the administration to kill any further promotion of the Goldstone Report in international institutions. This is a declarative measure, which bears no necessary executive significance. Congress is the legislature, the President heads the executive, and as any 6th grader has heard, they're separate and balanced and all that.

Still, declarations and symbols play real roles in life, on all sorts of levels, so when possible it's better to get them right than wrong. Which is why Goldstone himself and the forces backing him see the need to to foil the adoption of the resolution. (The forces backing him apparently share a telephone number with Human Rights Watch, but I'm not getting into that). Goldstone sent a letter to Representative Howard Berman, a Democrat from California and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee where the measure is under discussion, explaining why he and his colleagues ought first to read his report, and then not do what they're proposing to do.

Berman has now replied, and sent Goldstone's letter and his rebuttal to all the relevant House members. You can read it here. While I can think of derogatory things to say about the report that are not in Berman's rebuttal, it's clear that whoever wrote it for him has read the Goldstone Report: most of the grist of the rebuttal is taken from the report itself.

One of the strange things about the report is that if you dislike Israel, there's lots in it that will warm your cockles. However, if you're into factual analysis, the report supplies endless demonstrations of its own profound biases and general lack of honesty and seriousness. Someone in Berman's office has done this homework.


Anonymous said...

One more reminder...Goldstone will be debating Dore Gold of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Thursday at Brandeis. Info about the event (including the live video feed) is available on the web site. Yaacov, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on this debate taking place in one of the last embattled cores of traditionally Jewish, university pro-Israel sentiment.

AKUS said...

Whatever the merits of bringing the Goldstone report before the House (and I think it might be best to let the report fade into the obscurity that most major countries wish for it), Berman's response shows again, in detail, the sheer sloppiness of Goldstone's report and his own apparent ignorance of what his report actually says and the actual mandate under which he operated.

Moreover, given Goldstone's objections to his own report, I wonder why he objects to the House condemning it?

As I noted on October 16th:


Indeed, although attention has been focused on the issue of Gaza in the Council’s deliberations this week, the final Resolution reads like a grab-bag of every complaint that could ever have been thrown at Israel, especially with any connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

If anything could demonstrate the truly Oz-like world of UN politics, today's news brings the following stunning item in Ha’aretz – Goldstone criticized the UNHRC’s endorsement of his own report!!

South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who headed a United Nations investigation into the conduct of Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas during Israel's offensive in Gaza last winter, criticized on Friday the United Nations Human Rights Council's decision to endorse the report his commission had compiled.