Johannesburg, S. Africa – Judge Goldstone Meets With Jewish Leaders


    Johannesburg, S. Africa -A delegation of  senior South African Jewish communal leaders met with Richard Goldstone.

    The meeting to discuss Goldstone’s participation in the 2009 United Nations fact-finding mission into the Gaza war and the contents of his committee’s report, was held as part of a deal brokered between the South African Zionist Federation and Goldstone that allowed the judge to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah on May 1 in the absence of threatened protests.


    I welcome this opportunity of meeting with you this afternoon.

    At the outset let me say that I have taken no pleasure in seeing people around the world criticize the South African Jewish community and I commend the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and all responsible for bringing an end to the unfortunate public issues that had arisen relating to my grandson’s bar mitzvah. My family and I are delighted that I was able to attend the bar mitzvah on Saturday and that it was such a joyous and meaningful occasion. I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Suchard, the members of the committee and the congregation at Sandton Synagogue for having made this possible.

    Without more, allow me to turn to the Gaza Report that has caused so much anger in this and other Jewish communities. It is well known that initially I refused to become involved with what I considered to be a mandate that was unfair to Israel by concentrating only on war crimes alleged to have been committed by the Israel Defense Force. When I was offered an even-handed mandate that included war crimes alleged to have been committed against Israel by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza my position changed.

    I have spent much of my professional life in the cause of international criminal justice. It would have been hypocritical for me to continue to speak out against violations of international law and impunity for war crimes around the world but remain silent when it came to Israel simply because I am Jewish.

    The State of Israel was established in 1948 by the United Nations acting on the principles of international law. It should not be surprising that Israel has always committed itself to being bound by the norms and practices of international law. I have always assumed that Israel would wish to be judged by the highest standards of international law. One of the cardinal norms, accepted by Israel, is that of “distinction”, the requirement that there be proportionality between a military goal and civilian casualties caused in achieving that goal.

    This was the first occasion on which the UN Human Rights Council was prepared to consider military operations between Israel and the militant organizations from all perspectives and offer Israel the opportunity of telling her story to a United Nations inquiry. I also anticipated that this might herald the start of a new approach by the Human Rights Council to adopt an appropriate policy in which all similar human rights valuations around the world receive equal attention. But sadly for everyone, the Israeli Government squandered that opportunity. That did not prevent the Mission from finding that serious war crimes appeared to have been committed by Hamas and other militant groups operating from Gaza. That finding was also accepted by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the European Parliament. The right of Israel to act in self-defense was also not questioned by the Report.

    The letters that passed between me and both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli Ambassador to Geneva are attached to the Gaza Report and tell the story most openly of my desire for Israeli cooperation and the concerns of Israel with regard to cooperating with our Mission. That Israel refused to cooperate meant that we had to do the best we could with the information we were able to gather. I only wish that the energy that the Government of Israel and its supporters had put into discrediting the Report had been invested in cooperating with our Mission. It is obvious but must be stated: Had Israel provided us with credible information to respond to the allegations we received they would have been given appropriate consideration and could potentially have influenced our findings. That was unfortunately not forthcoming. We cannot undo the past.

    In conclusion, I would state that it is regrettable that the majority of the members of the Israeli Government decided against accepting the first and primary recommendation of the Gaza Mission namely, to launch its own open and credible investigation into the findings contained in the Report. That is still a course open to it and if adopted and implemented in good faith would effectively put an end to calls for international criminal investigations.

    I am not aware that the UN Gaza Report has or is being used to delegitimize Israel by questioning her right to exist as a member of the International Community. I would object to any such use being made of it. I also express my expectation and hope that the UN Human Rights Council will treat all violations of humanitarian law, no matter by who committed, in an even- handed manner and hold all members of the United Nations to the same standards.

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      • they come in nice spoken words or masked as ahmadinejad’s open.
        goldstone is not welcomed among jewish nation any longer.
        as an ”intelectual” he should have known and ignored the jewish side. in intervews with residents of jewish area (as reported) he brushed them and their report aside like nazi gastapo traitor.

    1. From this letter I can see he isn’t only a traitor but also dumb man who doesn’t see the difference between self defense and terror
      By him hamas and isreal equally need to be blamed by terror

    2. Goldstone is the paradigm of a useful idiot. He felt compelled to be a part of this commission of inquiry. One of the fundamental norms in law is equal application of the law. Then, Mr. Goldstone, why is it that the UN is only concerned about alleged international law, war crimes and human rights violations by Israel?

      Why not investigate Putin killing 100,00 Chechneans. How about Clinton bombing Serbia for 70 days, killing over 2,000 civilians (including the staff at the Chinese embassy) and destroying its infrastructure. How about the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the Gulf war? How about the thousands of Civilians killed by NATO bombing in Afghanistan?

      Selective enforcement is racism. You Mr. Goldstone (I hestitiate to honor you with the title “Judge”) are, therefore, a racist and you don’t even know it. What at damn fool!

    3. For once the, generally dense and idiotic, Israeli govt. Did the right thing,
      Joining a tribunal putting Israel and Hamas on the same level is a crime in a,d of itself.
      Goldstone is a cold intellectu*l liberal to whom Isarel and the Jewish people come a distant third after his bacon and eggs

    4. Goldstone, it behooves the mind how idiotic you sound. Even at this late hour one would think you would show regret. But not you. The same arrogance that caused you to head this mission still keeps you from saying I am a moser.

      Why in the world would you believe that Israel must submit herself to an “impartial” UN investigation? Is it because the great & honorable “Judge” Goldstone heads it?

      As the Rambam says (Hilchos Mamrim) , a moser is not part of klal yisroel.

      On you we make a brocho three times a day Vlamalshinim al thi sikva!

    5. Israel was established in 1948 by G-D. Not the United Nazis. Because Goldstone is a useless bureaucrat that never worked a real job in his life, he believes the useless bureaucrats in the UN established Israel. I guess he is unaware of a war that was fought and won by the Jewish people in Israel. The last time I checked, the UN commited zero troops to the effort (to the Israeli side at least!).

    6. I feel bad for the bar mitzvah boy that he had to have his special celebration marred by the presence of a grandfather who legitimised Hamas and demonised the people of Israel. His only solution is to do complete teshuvah, and accept the Torah and its mitzvot as a new way of life. Otherwise, he and his soul is doomed.

    7. The definition of an assimilated jew. No comphrehension of the negative effects his had on our people. How many yiddin will be killed in the name of his “independent report”? Yiddin like this carry blood on their shoulders. The fact that we have not responded with more vehement outrage is a disgrace. He doesn’t deserve to be part of our nation.

    8. goldstone seems like a nice guy and a good jew. it’s too bad so many people are brainwashed to toe the zionist line and attack (both verbally and physically) anyone who dares come to a conclusion that may be construed as “pressuring” Israel.
      These same dangerous extremists are now trying to portray President Obama as an anti-semite, too. No one will ever be right wing enough for them.

      • A good Jew?! A good Jew knows that he has a duty of loyalty to the Jewish nation. Goldstone seems completely unaware of such a thing. He thinks he’s not a Jew, he’s merely a South African of the Mosaic faith. A good Jew also knows that national self-defense is not a crime, that a nation has the right to defend itself with whatever means are available, and if enemy troops or civilians are in the way that is the enemy’s problem. The Torah does not recognise a false equivalency between our own people’s lives and those of the enemy.

    9. Bravo Mr Goldstone. Some critics do not read your comments well. You opened the door to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel to confirm or refute his findings by Israel doing it’s own investigation. Israel refused. Is it because Mr Goldstone was right and his findings would be embarassing to Israel?

      • It’s because Israel knows better than to cooperate with the UN, ever. The very terms of the Goldstone inquiry were insulting. It treated a sovereign nation and a criminal gang as equals, and the nation’s legitimate self-defense as equivalent to the gang’s deadly assault. It assumed that both had to play by the same rules. And it assumed that the nation had a duty not to defend itself at the expense of enemy lives. None of that is even remotely acceptable.


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