— Sharon Bender
In a Washington Post opinion piece, Judge Richard Goldstone, lead member of a United Nations “fact-finding mission” on the 2008-2009 hostilities between Israel and the terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip, has now acknowledged that, unlike Hamas, the Jewish state did not target civilians and has actively investigated alleged lapses by service members during the conflict. In response, B’nai B’rith International is demanding that the jurist work to retract the mission’s report of nearly two years ago. The Goldstone mission, which was mandated by the Human Rights Council, defamed Israel by accusing it of “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity,” after the Jewish state engaged in cautious, long-delayed counter-terrorism efforts.
More after the jump.
B’nai B’rith-whose U.N. representatives and Jerusalem-based staff intensively monitored the Goldstone mission-has consistently deplored Goldstone report assertions as deeply damaging and without basis in fact. Arab and other states hostile to Israel have capitalized on the report to endlessly perpetuate condemnations of, and threats to push sanctions against, the Middle East’s only proven democracy.
“Though some news outlets came to play a key part in spreading the distorted, prejudicial conclusions of his panel’s report, Goldstone should above all correct the record at the Human Rights Council and other U.N. forums, so that the overtly politicized ‘follow-up’ to the report cease once and for all,” said B’nai B’rith International Interim President Allan J. Jacobs.
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin added: “We reject Richard Goldstone’s suggestion that official Israeli cooperation with the inherently biased ‘fact-finding mission’ would have positively changed the course of its final product. From information released comprehensively for the public record, virtually everything the Goldstone investigators had to know, they did-beforehand. They owe Israel and the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces-who are guided by the most impressive professional and ethical standards-a full and formal apology.”
With escalating recent attacks against Israelis, and feverish Hamas and Hezbollah stockpiling of advanced weaponry, B’nai B’rith appeals to the international community to address the terrorist activity before, not after, Israel is forced to more aggressively protect its citizens.