The chief rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein, has blasted fellow countryman Judge Richard Goldstone's report on Israel's assault on Hamas last winter as "a disgrace to the most basic notions of justice, equality and the rule of law."
In an op-ed for The Jerusalem Post, Goldstein, who also holds a PhD in human rights law, notes that the report "uses the veneer of respectability that comes with legal methodology, and with the presence of an internationally respected judge, to gain credibility."
Citing recent history close to home, he adds that "the South African Apartheid Government was very legalistic in its approach to racial oppression, and was punctilious about promulgating proper laws, and about maintaining a fully functioning judiciary to give the faÃ§ade of respectability to its repugnant policies."
In the case of the Goldstone mission, the chief rabbi writes, "careful analysis reveals that the legalities utilized are merely a cover for a political strategy of delegitimizing Israel... Any civilized legal system requires that justice be done on two levels: procedural and substantive. The Goldstone mission is replete with procedural and substantive injustices."
Goldstein sets out a series of alleged procedural injustices and, as regards substantive injustices, writes that the Goldstone panel imputes "the worst of intentions to the actions of the State of Israel, finding that Israel's conduct was motivated by a desire to repress and oppress, and to inflict suffering upon the Palestinian people, and not primarily for the purpose of self-defense. It does this without any evidence and then, without any supporting evidence, asserts that many of Israel's military operations, such as that of Lebanon, were motivated by the same goal."
By contrast, as regards the Palestinians, he goes on, "there is very clear evidence as to Hamas's intentions - the Hamas charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel, irrespective of borders. It also calls for the murder of all Jews worldwide. Hamas's clear intention was to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible and to use its own civilian population as human shields. But not a word of Hamas's expressly stated intentions appears in the report."
The various procedural and substantive injustices, argues Goldstein, demonstrate a "complete lack of integrity and fairness of the process. It looks like law, but it is not. It is just politics."