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    Entries in Goldstone report (2)

    Thursday
    May132010

    Legitimating bigotry: The legacy of Richard Goldstone by Alan Dershowitz

    Richard Goldstone, author of the notorious Goldstone report, did not become a South African judge in the post-Apartheid Mandela Era, as The New York Times and other media have erroneously reported. He accepted a judgeship during the worst days of Apartheid and helped legitimate one of the most racist regimes in the world by granting the imprimatur of the rule of law to some of the most undemocratic and discriminatory decrees.

    Goldstone was - quite literally - a hanging judge. He imposed and affirmed death sentences for more than two dozen blacks under circumstances where whites would almost certainly have escaped the noose. And he affirmed sentences of physical torture - euphemistically called "flogging" - for other blacks. He also enforced miscegenation and other racist laws with nary a word of criticism or dissent. He was an important part of the machinery of death, torture and racial subjugation that characterized Apartheid South Africa. His robe and gavel lent an air of legitimacy to an entirely illegitimate and barbaric regime. 

    It is no surprise that Goldstone kept this part of his life secret from academic colleagues, friends and the general public. I recall him at the lunch and dinner tables in Cambridge describing himself as a heroic part of the struggle against Apartheid. Now it turns out he was the ugly face of Apartheid, covering its sins and crimes with a judicial robe. How differently we would have looked at him if we knew that he had climbed the judicial ladder on whipped backs and hanged bodies. 

    Now that his dirty secret has been exposed to the world, he has invoked the defense raised by German judges at Nuremberg: "I was just following the law." This cowardly defense was rejected at Nuremberg and by the international law that Goldstone claimed to be applying against Israel in the Goldstone report. It should be resoundingly rejected by the court of public opinion. Goldstone's friend and former judicial colleague, Arthur Chaskalson, has rushed to the defense of his fellow South African judge, saying that it was "better to have an honest judge on the bench than another kind." Putting aside the issue of whether Goldstone was an honest judge - the Goldstone report strongly suggests he is "another kind" - the German judges offered precisely that argument at Nuremberg. "I did it to help the Jews."

    In the film Judgment at Nuremberg, based on a real case, the judge argued that by unjustly sentencing one Jew to death, others might be helped. He also said he had no choice but to apply unjust laws. He was convicted. Goldstone may have persuaded himself and other judges who served the Apartheid regime that by hanging and torturing some blacks, they would be helping other blacks, but the only ones that were helped were the racists who ran the Apartheid regime and Goldstone himself, who used his Apartheid judgeship as a stepping stone and career booster. 

    It is interesting that Goldstone made a similar argument to friends as to why he accepted the chairmanship of the investigative commission offered to him by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He acknowledged that the Council was biased against Israel. Indeed, it treats Israel much the way Apartheid courts used to treat Black Africans: Just as there was special justice (really injustice) for blacks, so too there is special justice (really injustice) for Israel. Goldstone claims he took the job "to help Israel," just as he took his previous job to help blacks. In both cases he cynically hurt those he said he wanted to help, while helping only himself. In both cases he was selected to legitimate bigotry. In both cases, better people than him refused to lend their credibility to an illegitimate enterprise. But Goldstone accepted, because it was good for his career.

    Goldstone is an ambitious opportunist who lacks the courage of his convictions - if he ever had any. He has always put personal advancement over principle. He is a master of rationalization and self justification. This time he has run out of excuses. He's been exposed as a poseur who will sell his integrity for a careerist opportunity. Fortunately he now has little integrity left to sell.

    Monday
    Nov232009

    The Goldstone Report - Using Terminology in Service of Deception [Eli E. Hertz]

    Summary ... The rhetoric by Arab leaders on behalf of the alleged 'Palestinian' people rings hollow. Arabs never established a Palestinian state in 1947 when the UN recommended to partition Palestine. Nor did the Arabs recognize or establish a Palestinian state during the two decades prior to the Six-Day War when Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control; nor did the Arabs cry out for autonomy or independence during those years under Jordanian and Egyptian rule. So much for facts and accuracy.

     

    Justice Richard Goldstone and the United Nations Human Rights Council, sought to rewrite history by labelling Judea and Samaria (known as the West Bank [sic]) "Occupied Palestinian Territories" [Paragraph 11], calling Israeli Arabs "Palestinian citizens of Israel" [Paragraph 111], referring to Israeli Arab villages as "Palestinian Israeli communities" [Paragraph 110] and calling Arab inhabitants of Gaza "Palestinian People in the Gaza strip" [Paragraph 1,859]. Essentially Goldstone is endowing Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza with an aura of bogus peoplehood and statehood, as well as a false history as if title or ownership could be assigned out of thin air.

    No legal binding authority has empowered Goldstone or any UN organ, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or the Human Rights Council to decide that the territories of the West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria, and Gaza could be transformed into "Occupied Palestinian Territories" or "Palestine." Goldstone's use of these dishonest, loaded terms empowers terrorism and the Palestinians [sic] with the right to use all measures to expel Israel.

    Palestine is a Geographical Area, Not a Nationality

    Arabs, the UN and its organs, and lately the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as well, have repeatedly claimed that the Palestinian [sic] Arabs are a native people — so much so that almost everyone takes it for granted. The problem is that a stateless Palestinian people is a fabrication. The word Palestine is not even Arabic.

    Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian people distinct from other Arabs appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule. During that rule, local Arabs were actually considered part of, and subject to, the authority of Greater Syria (Suriyya al-Kubra).

    Historically, before the Arabs fabricated the concept of Palestinian peoplehood as an exclusively Arab phenomenon, no such group existed. This is substantiated in countless official British Mandate-vintage documents that speak of the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine — not Jews and Palestinians.

    In fact, before local Jews began calling themselves Israelis in 1948 (when the name "Israel" was chosen for the newly-established Jewish State), the term "Palestine" applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before the state's independence.

    Some examples include:

    The Jerusalem Post, founded in 1932, was called The Palestine Post until 1948. Bank Leumi L'Israel, incorporated in 1902, was called the "Anglo-Palestine Company" until 1948. The Jewish Agency — an arm of the Zionist movement engaged in Jewish settlement since 1929 — was initially called the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Today's Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1936 by German Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, was originally called the "Palestine Symphony Orchestra," composed of some 70 Palestinian Jews. The United Jewish Appeal (UJA) was established in 1939 as a merger of the United Palestine Appeal and the fundraising arm of the Joint Distribution Committee.

    There Has Never Been a Sovereign Arab State in Palestine

    The artificiality of a Palestinian identity is reflected in the attitudes and actions of neighboring Arabs who never established a Palestinian state or advocated one prior to the Six-Day War in 1967.

    Only twice in Jerusalem's history has it served as a national capital. The first time was as the capital of the two Jewish Commonwealths during the First and Second Temple periods, as described in the Bible, reinforced by archaeological evidence and numerous ancient documents. The second time is in modern times as the capital of the State of Israel. It has never served as an Arab capital for the simple reason that there has never been a Palestinian Arab state.

    The rhetoric by Arab leaders on behalf of the Palestinians rings hollow. Arabs never established a Palestinian state when the UN in 1947 recommended to partition Palestine, and to establish "an Arab and a Jewish state" (not a Palestinian state, it should be noted). Nor did the Arabs recognize or establish a Palestinian state during the two decades prior to the Six-Day War when the West Bank was under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control; nor did the Palestinian Arabs clamor for autonomy or independence during those years under Jordanian and Egyptian rule.

    So much for facts and accuracy. For the record, here is the Goldstone Report.