April 5: Readers respond to Goldstone’s belated revelation

Goldstone’s belated mea culpa cannot diminish his own responsibility for the travesty that bears his name.

Sir, – Richard Goldstone couldn’t admit that his original report may not have been accurate without taking a swipe at Israel, suggesting that the one-sidedness of the report resulted from Israel’s failure to cooperate.
But he also mentioned the UN Human Rights Council “whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.”
Surely this history was evident well before Goldstone was selected to head the body’s fact-finding mission. The terms of reference under which his group was to operate clearly confirmed this bias; indeed, the position had previously been refused by the UN’s former high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, because she doubted the fairness of the enterprise.
Goldstone’s belated mea culpa cannot diminish his own responsibility for the travesty that bears his name.

Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – I wonder how many people Judge Goldstone sent to prison or even the gallows before learning all the facts of their case.
Kibbutz Lavi
Sir, – I recall vividly how angry and bitter I was about the Goldstone Report. It was a terrible trauma for the whole country. An earthquake really.
Now, here in Israel, feelings are mixed. Some congratulate Goldstone for his courage.
Some say it is a small victory at best. The most interesting article I read was very critical and called Goldstone a “useful idiot” who played into the hands of the anti-Israel forces that control the UN.
The damage is done. All that can now be done is to discard the report completely – revoke its findings. Perhaps that will happen.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Whatever motivated Richard Goldstone to agree to head the inquiry into Operation Cast Lead, and whatever precipitated his remorse, it remains a problem that his current views, expressed only in a newspaper op-ed piece, will soon be forgotten, while his original report remains in the archives of a United Nations body.
The only meaningful way to alleviate the damage is for him to appear before the General Assembly and present his apology.
Presumably, all nations believing in fair play and honesty in world politics would be able to agree to such an event.
Tel Mond
Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu has instructed the Justice, Defense and Foreign ministries to examine steps that can be taken to cancel the Goldstone Report.
What has been said cannot be taken back, and we will not win this war by being defensive. As Saul Singer was quoted as saying in “They tried to kill us, we won, now we’re changing the world” (Editor’s Notes, April 1), “...with that strategy, [you’re] merely moving from negative territory to zero in the best-case scenario.”
Sir, – As a former IDF officer I was pleasantly relieved to hear Judge Goldstone voice what I already knew, but I find myself worried by the response given by my country’s leadership.
Though calling for the report’s dismissal is important, I feel it is much more important that we note our own fault in the report’s erroneous claims.
Goldstone himself admitted that had Israel been more cooperative these mistakes probably wouldn’t have been made in the first place.
While it is nice to know that the claims have now been brought into question by the very same person who made them, it is unlikely that this will be remembered. Down the road, the vast majority of people will recall only that Israel was condemned and called out for violating human rights.
I truly hope our leaders learn this lesson and cooperate next time – and there will be a next time – to prevent such a report from ever seeing light again.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Wherever I have gone, I have heard the same words” “It is too late, the damage is done.” I have to disagree, because without Goldstone’s recanting this could have gone much further.
Let us also not overlook what was not said previously, namely that Goldstone believes the Human Rights Council has gone overboard by blaming Israel on a regular basis, and that Hamas has not investigated itself.
Remember, it takes courage to repent.

Sir, – Judge Goldstone must be a man of honesty and courage because it requires a lot of courage to confess that one has made a mistake.
The whole world eagerly bought his confirmation of the charges against Israel and praised him for them. However, he himself went further and looked deeper into what really happened and now has come out with far-different conclusions.
As is said, the good done will go to the grave, but the evil lives on. The Goldstone Report has delegitimized Israel and there is no atonement for that.
Sir, – A story is told of a man in Poland, when it was home to over three million Jews, who admitted that he had spoken slander and now regretted his action, and that he wished to repent. His rabbi told him to take a feather pillow, climb up to the roof on a windy day, and tear the pillow apart. After that he should go around the village and pick up each feather.
Judge Goldstone cannot possibly collect all the feathers of anti-Semitism he released, but he should try. His op-ed piece is a start. He should follow up with an interview on the BBC and pay condolence calls on the families of soldiers who gave their lives to protect us and apologize personally for slandering those courageous souls.
If he were to do all of these things, he might be forgiven by the Almighty, and possibly by the Jewish people.

Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – A large part of the credit for Judge Goldstone’s retraction must go to Maurice Ostroff, an ex-South African who fought as a volunteer in the War of Independence and who now resides in Herzliya.
Ostroff runs, single-handedly, a major voluntary PR project for Israel challenging editors, correspondents, academicians, writers, etc. whenever he detects unjust attacks on Israel. He has succeeded in his very fair, polite and analytic way to obtain apologies from the greatest in the world media.
From the day Goldstone and his commission were appointed, Ostroff opened a communications link with the judge and worked tirelessly to bring to his attention some of the experts he should consult and sources of evidence he should consider, and trying to redress the commission’s one-sided approach.
Even after the damming report was issued, Ostroff continued to engage Goldstone, and over many months the judge conceded and agreed with many of his arguments.
Those of us on Ostroff’s distribution list could observe Goldstone’s gradual concessions until this major breakthrough.
The government and the public at large owe a great debt to Maurice Ostroff.

Kiryat Ono
Sir, – After Richard Goldstone’s most recent comments, I think Israel should convene an official inquiry into the workings of the UN’s Human Rights Council, and whether its decisions succeed or fail in aiding human rights. At the same time, a report could be published showing the human rights records of the council’s various members.

Rishon Lezion