Israel Goes Gaga Over Goldstone

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What a day. First, AP reported on the UNHRC’s reaction to Judge Goldstone’s about-face:

A spokesman for the U.N. Human Rights Council said for the report to be withdrawn Goldstone would have to submit a formal request to the Geneva-based body, which he has not done.

“U.N. reports are not canceled on the basis of an op-ed in a newspaper,” spokesman Cedric Sapey told The Associated Press.

Fat chance of that happening, I thought.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

AP later reported that Goldstone may help retract his report:

Also speaking on Army Radio, Danny Gillerman, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. who also participated in the phone call with Yishai, quoted Goldstone as saying he was ready to take steps to change the status of the report, but first wanted to “wait for the dust to settle” following his opinion piece in Friday’s Washington Post.

Of course, reality bites. Only in Israel: Yishai under fire over Goldstone invitation.

Plenty of sturm und drang outside Israel too.

• A skeptical LA Times staff-ed says, just the facts, please, Mr. Goldstone:

At the very least, Goldstone needs to offer substantially more explanation than was available in his brief op-ed article. If he honestly believed his initial assertions but now has been persuaded as a result of Israel’s follow-up investigations that he was wrong, then he ought to make the world aware of the facts that changed his mind. (While he’s at it, he might let us know whether it was perhaps irresponsible to have made such sweeping assertions in the first place.)

Fair enough. If this flawed and damaging report is to be retracted, it’ll mean rehashing incidents that Israeli investigators, journalists and bloggers already addressed.

•  Human Rights Watch, a key player which advanced the Goldstone report behind the scenes, is sweating big time. And it’s not just over revelations the organization fawned over a certain Libyan tyrant whose name I dare not spell.

HRW has a lot to lose if the UN does the unthinkable and formally rejects the Goldstone report. Which is why executive director Kenneth Roth was busy defending the report in The Guardian, and in a NY Times letter to the editor.

(See Just Journalism‘s response to Roth.)

• The UK government opposes the idea of retracting the Goldstone report.

The British government said that while Goldstone’s acknowledgment, and what he said in the opinion piece, is important, it was not the only report on the 22-day conflict . . .

Everyone knows 50 million Israel-bashers can’t be wrong.

• While Israel went gaga for Goldstone, Gaza’s agape. Palestinians sent a letter of protest to the EU representative in Gaza.

Why?

EU delegates on the UN Human Rights Council failed to cooperate on a resolution that gets the ball rolling on referring Israel to the International Court of Justice for — among other things — its “failure to comply with the calls of the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly to conduct investigations that are independent, credible . . .”

The protest strikes me as, uh, disproportionate. Not only did the resolution pass 27-3, most of the EU members on the council merely abstained.

• I give the last word to this Chicago Tribune’s staff-ed:

The UN should formally retract the Goldstone report. But it can’t stop there. The UN needs to acknowledge that it has not been an honest broker in the Middle East. It needs to acknowledge that its human rights panel continues to be an embarrassment that greatly undermines the standing of the world body.

The New York Times reported Sunday that the UN may vote this fall to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The UN would declare the boundaries —and that would put Israel in the position of occupying land belonging to a sovereign state and member of the UN.

The UN does not have the moral authority for such a declaration. It has not been an honest broker. Not even close.

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