NEW YORK - Just as Israel prepares to rebut a report condemning its military offensive in Gaza last winter, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz is charging the authors of the Goldstone Report with basing their conclusions on biased evidence and flawed analyses.
In a 49-page critique, "The Case Against the Goldstone Report: A Study in Evidentiary Bias," Dershowitz accuses the Goldstone Commission of employing different criteria in assessing evidence against Israel and Hamas.
"They skew it one way against Israel and another way against Hamas," Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Wednesday.
According to a copy of Dershowitz's analysis, "The Goldstone Report, when read in full and in context, is much worse than most of its detractors believe."
"It is far more accusatory of Israel, far less balanced in its criticism of Hamas, far less honest in its evaluation of the evidence, far less responsible in drawing its conclusion, far more biased against Israeli than Palestinian witnesses, and far more willing to draw adverse inferences of intentionality from Israeli conduct and statements than from comparable Palestinian conduct and statements," he added.
Dershowitz's analysis comes just as Israel is set to deliver a response on Thursday to the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.
Although technical, the analysis addresses the crux of the report.
"It undercuts the entire thrust of the report when you see they used totally different criteria when evaluating evidence against Israel and evidence against Hamas. It's the Achilles heel of the report," said Dershowitz.
"Every doubt is resolved against Israel and every doubt is resolved in favor of Hamas, and the end resolution is a charade of justice."
According to Dershowitz, all four members of Goldstone's fact-finding committee had an agenda, including the UN staffers who wrote up their findings.
Citing the presence of Hamas security guards during witness testimony, Dershowitz said, "That Goldstone would say that Hamas wasn't there when he was making interviews is absurd."
Charging that few defenders or critics have read the Goldstone Report in its entirety, he said the report "doesn't satisfy even the most minimal standards of honestly and credibility, and it's something Goldstone ought to be ashamed of.
"He is truly a villain because he allowed his good name to be used to lend an imprimatur to such a bad report," he said.
Dershowitz said that Goldstone had done so "for his own vanity" and to advance his career in international circles.
"He's willing to sell Israel out to do it," he said.
Dershowitz expressed hope that an IDF report would dispel misguided conclusions that Israel targeted civilians and Hamas did not use human shields. But he said there should be an independent, quasi-judicial investigation by Israel into its actions during the Gaza operation.
"I don't think what Israel did in Gaza is perfect. I think there were mistakes; there may have been crimes committed by individual soldiers and I think that has to be investigated by a distinguished, quasi-judicial committee," he said.
That concept, however, would contradict a plan being pushed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who are hammering out a plan to create a judicial investigative panel to review internal IDF investigations of alleged wrongdoing during Cast Lead. Such a panel would not have the authority to question soldiers or officers.
The Goldstone Report, made public this past fall, accused both Israel and Hamas of crimes against humanity, demanding that both sides launch independent investigations or face possible criminal charges at The Hague.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to address the General Assembly on February 5 with a report on any progress made by either side.
Hamas on Wednesday said its own investigation of alleged wrongdoing cleared Palestinian armed groups of intentionally firing at civilians, the AFP reported.
"The committee worked around the clock to uncover the facts, despite
the certainty that there were no violations of international human
rights law that amount to war crimes," the news agency quoted Hamas
justice minister Muhammad Faraj al-Ghul as saying.
A 52-page document will be submitted to the UN in the near future.