Richard Goldstone is a retired justice of South Africa ’s Constitutional Court . He is Jewish and a Zionist. So, when this distinguished jurist issued a report commissioned by the UN’s Human Rights Council, it was known that the Goldstone Report would gain worldwide attention. It did. That’s because this September 2009 report condemned both Israel and Hamas for “possible crimes against humanity.”
This is the first time a credible figure like Goldstone lent his name to such an explosive allegation. To place Israel on a par with known terrorist groups like Hamas was gravely damaging to the Jewish state. But Justice Goldstone’s reputation for integrity and his attention to detail caused even some Israelis and defenders of Israel ’s conduct in the Gaza War (2008-09) to have second thoughts.
Now, it seems Justice Goldstone himself is having second thoughts. In a Washington Post column, the South African admits that “if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
Goldstone belatedly acknowledges that Israel has thoroughly investigated some 400 allegations of operational misconduct against the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). To date, Hamas has investigated nothing. Goldstone points to one terrible incident, in which 29 members of the al-Simouni family of Palestinians were killed in their home because an Israeli commander apparently misread data from a drone.
Now, Justice Goldstone is calling on his sponsor, the UN Human Rights Council, to condemn the recent murders of a young Israeli couple and three of their little children as they slept in their West Bank home. One of the victims in the religious settlement of Itamar, near Nablus , was a baby sleeping on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath. The murders took place last month.
Thus far, the UN Human Rights Council seems not inclined to condemn these West Bank killings of Jews too hastily. That was not the case, of course, when Justice Goldstone issued his earlier report indicting Israel . Then, Human Rights Council members loudly denounced Israel and conveniently forgot about the Goldstone Report’s findings on Hamas.