Goldstone misleads US Congress on Chinkin, contradicts previous admission

So now Judge Richard Goldstone is accusing the US Congress of being “misleading” in its draft resolution concerning his ignominious mission and report. (Turns out the letter was at least typed on the computer of George Soros spokesman Morton Halperin.) Let’s see who’s really being misleading.

Goldstone defends the colleague of his who had declared Israel guilty in advance:

U.S. Congress Draft Resolution, Whereas clause #4: Whereas the `fact-finding mission’ included a member who, before joining the mission, had already declared Israel guilty of committing atrocities in Operation Cast Lead by signing a public letter on January 11, 2009, published in the Sunday Times, that called Israel’s actions `war crimes’;”

Richard Goldstone: This whereas clause is misleading. It overlooks, or neglects to mention, that the member concerned, Professor Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics, in the same letter, together with other leading international lawyers, also condemned as war crimes the Hamas rockets fired into Israel.

The only one being misleading here is Goldstone. Let us recall what Chinkin did. In a joint statement published on 11 January 2009 in the Letters section of London’s Sunday Times, entitled “Israel’s Bombardment of Gaza is Not Self-Defence — It’s a War Crime,” Chinkin publicly and unequivocally declared that Israel was guilty of committing acts during Operation Cast Lead that were “contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law,” and of committing “prima facie war crimes.”

Her letter began by “categorically reject[ing]” Israel’s right to claim self- defence against Hamas rocket attacks, “deplorable as they are.” She stated that “Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence.”

Our legal brief from this summer, summarily dismissed by Goldstone, anticipated the specious argument — one of several that Goldstone has used to defend that which he himself (see below) knows full well is indefensible — that her one line on Hamas sanitized her preemptive guilty verdict against Israel. We wrote:

The end of the statement includes one passing sentence on Hamas crimes, immediately followed by the qualifier that Israel’s “operations in Gaza amount to an aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas.” No reasonable person could read the statement without concluding — as the Sunday Times headline writer did — that the crux of Prof. Chinkin’s joint statement was that “Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence-it’s a war crime.”

In note 5 we added:

Some will no doubt seize upon this one sentence to exculpate Prof. Chinkin. This is to no avail. First, no reasonable person can read her statement in its entirety (see Exhibit A) and deny that its central thesis is that Israel is an aggressor and war criminal. Second, even if the one sentence on Hamas were to be given weight, the gross abuse of due process arising from Prof. Chinkin’s commitment to a preconceived outcome regarding individuals on one side of the conflict — her absence of an open mind on the question put before the Mission — is hardly assuaged by an additional prior determination regarding individuals from the other side.

Finally, Goldstone fails to tell Congress that which he already conceded, in an interview with South African’s Business Day on August 2nd: “If it had been a judicial inquiry, that letter she’d signed would have been a ground for disqualification.”

The question that Goldstone has never answered: if he promised that his fact-finding inquiry would be impartial, why should its status as judicial, quasi-judicial, or non-judicial, have lessened the minimal requirements of impartiality? Was he and his mission subject to any standards at all, and if so, which?  Our legal brief invoked the basic standards of international fact-finding, but to even these he effectively pleaded immunity.

Goldstone’s message to Israel  has boiled down to this: The ends do not justify the means. Yet in continuing to look away from that which he knows to be wrong, sacrificing the principles of natural justice for his naively-held objective of enforcing justice and peace in the Middle East through the UN’s most biased bodies, it is this very principle that he violates time and again.

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