NEW YORK, April 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC called today on Judge Richard Goldstone to formally ask the UN Human Rights Council to revise and update his commission's 2009 report on Israel's campaign against Hamas in Gaza in a way that aligns its conclusions with his new thinking on what transpired.
"If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document," Goldstone writes in a Washington Post opinion column.
"The Washington Post is not the place for Judge Goldstone to recant the biased and damaging UN report he wrote on the Gaza conflict," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Judge Goldstone should apologize to the State of Israel for the accusations of intentionally targeting civilians, which he now admits were unfounded. He should present his updated conclusions to the UN Human Rights Council, as well as to the General Assembly, which endorsed the skewed report, and press for its rejection."
AJC opposed the Goldstone report because it dismissed the suffering of Israeli victims of Hamas rocket attacks and falsely impugned Israel's defensive operation in Gaza as an intentional collective assault on Palestinian civilians.
The Goldstone report made no moral distinction between the behavior of the terrorist organization Hamas and the State of Israel, and in so doing, undermined the United States and other democracies facing asymmetrical warfare from adversaries who are willing to deliberately attack and kill civilians to advance their evil designs.
"Judge Goldstone's admissions, two years later, reveal a shocking naivete about Hamas, which the U.S. views as a terrorist organization intent on destroying Israel," said Harris. "The Goldstone report essentially gave impunity to Hamas for its ongoing war crimes."
In his Washington Post column, Goldstone confirmed that "there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity." He also acknowledged that it was a mistake to assume that Hamas would curtail its rocket and mortar attacks, which have continued, on Israel.
Israel, in contrast, did carry out full investigations and Goldstone credits its findings for his new conclusions. Nonetheless, Goldstone asserted again in his column that Israel's lack of cooperation with the Commission led to the original conclusions.
"Judge Goldstone may continue to believe that Israel did not cooperate, but he knows Israel gave him reports and also opened its own investigations," said Harris. "Judge Goldstone knows deep in his soul that he and his team chose to ignore or selectively excerpt the Israeli evidence."
Israel has suffered serious harm in the eyes of the international community as a result of the UN Human Rights Council endorsed Goldstone Commission.
"Some may appreciate Judge Goldstone's candor, but the UN report he authored already has become a tool in the arsenal of those who demonize Israel," said Harris. "Regrettably, during the past two years Goldstone himself has contributed greatly to the broad smear against Israel by disseminating his report's unfounded allegations in numerous interviews and articles. We hope he will defend his new thinking with the same vigor he employed to promote his earlier report."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee