Richard Goldstone, the formerly respected South African jurist who disgraced himself by lending his name to a sinister and libelous U.N. report condemning Israel for war crimes, has now issued a very public retraction. "If I had known then what I know now," he wrote in The Washington Post, "the Goldstone Report would have been a different document." New information has persuaded him, he said, "that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy" by Israel.
While this recantation is better than none, it invites the question: How could Goldstone not have known the relevant facts? A 10-year-old could have known the relevant facts.
Goldstone was initially approached by the U.N. Human Rights Council and asked to preside over an "investigation" into "all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression."
The very wording of the resolution contained enough information for a reasonable man -- no less a judge -- to recognize the utterly tendentious nature of the enterprise. The use of the term "occupied" to refer to Gaza might have tipped him off that something was amiss, since Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. Had his eyes been open, he might also have been given pause by the words "current aggression."
But asking only to broaden the mandate to include human rights violations by Hamas, Goldstone agreed to be used. And let's not kid ourselves. He was valuable to the baying hyenas at the U.N. because he is himself a Jew.
Beyond the verdict-before-the-trial wording, Goldstone might have considered the fact that one of the commission's four members, Christine Chinkin, signed a public letter denouncing Israel for "war crimes" before the investigation got under way.
Or Goldstone might have considered the history of the Human Rights Council. Anne Bayefsky, of Eye on the UN, outlined its record between 2004 and 2009: