Goldstone defends Israel against 'apartheid' claims

In 'NY Times' op-ed, South African judge who presided over UN's Goldstone Report decries "unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel."

November 1, 2011 09:09
2 minute read.
Judge Richard Goldstone

Goldstone 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Judge Richard J. Goldstone, known for accusing Israel of war crimes in a 2009 UN report, defends the Jewish state against claims it pursues “apartheid” policies in an opinion article published in The New York Times on Monday.

The South African justice presided over the Goldstone Commission, which, in addition to the war crimes claims, linked Israel to possible crimes against humanity in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

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Goldstone subsequently softened his claims against Israel in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post in April, in which he stated, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

He continued his more conciliatory tone towards Israel in Monday’s Times.

“While ‘apartheid’ can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations,” Goldstone wrote in the Times.

Goldstone argues that while there is more de facto separation between Israeli Arabs and Jews than Israelis should accept, the situation in no way resembles South Africa’s apartheid system.

“Israeli Arabs – 20 percent of Israel’s population – vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.”

The judge states that in the West Bank as well, “there is no intent to maintain ‘an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.’” “Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters,” he states in the article.

Goldstone adds that the need for reconciliation between the sides “has never been greater,” and the Palestinian Authority’s bid for UN recognition of a state “has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure."

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