Readers of the blog may have seen, from time to time, reference to scurrilous attacks from the blog named ‘UN Watch’. On Friday, its headline story noted the third anniversary of the Goldstone Report, the colloquial label given to the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Gaza war.
It gloats over what it calls the retraction by Richard Goldstone of ‘The core charges of the report—that Israel's leadership intentionally plotted to murder Palestinian civilians, and did so from racist motives’. But they were not the 'core charges'. They were actually very secondary and marginal charges in the report, and to my knowledge the only ones on which Richard Goldstone has changed his mind.
The real core charge is that Israel pursued a strategy that it had developed in Lebanon in 2006 of massive destruction of the civilian infrastructure. The goal was to punish the Palestinians in Gaza for their support of Hamas. I don’t think anyone has come up with a good argument against this conclusion of the report. I suspect that UN Watch would agree that this was the policy being pursued by the Israeli military in Gaza. Probably UN Watch supports such a policy.
Friday’s blog continues: ‘Overnight, anti-Israel intellectuals who had hailed Goldstone as a modern-day saint turned on him with a vengeance, especially those uneasy with their Jewish ancestry, such as Roger Cohen, Richard Falk and William Schabas.’
First, I have never turned on my good friend Richard Goldstone, ‘with a vengeance' or otherwise. I am not ‘anti-Israel’, although I obviously cannot support many of its government’s policies and actions. Nor am I commonly attacked for my Jewish ancestry, with which I am comfortable and proud. Anti-Semitism crops up in unexpected places.