Right of Reply: Goldstone's sorry search for symmetry

Right of Reply Goldston

Richard Goldstone 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Richard Goldstone 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
I can prove the phoniness of Judge Goldstone's claim in his Jerusalem Post op-ed September 22 in which he claimed that had the Israeli government submitted its case to his Commission, the latter could have been encouraged to move in a new direction, "beneficial to Israeli interests." The implication of Goldstone's statement is that Israel, not the Commission, is responsible for the latter's errors of omission and commission. I personally submitted a nine-page, annotated and referenced brief to the Commission last July. Goldstone's claim that the Commission was driven by the evidence is refuted by the fact that the Mission ignored my brief and its attached evidence. Subsequently, I have published additional evidence showing that the high male-female ratio of fatalities among Palestinians in Gaza argues for the combatant status of many whom human rights organizations classified as non-combatants, and supports other investigations making the same point. The punch lines of my brief were: "Between June 1, 2008, and Jan 29, 2009, the UN's executive organs, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, remained silent in the face of [Hamas' and Iran's] incitement, [to genocide], ignoring their responsibilities under the UN Genocide Convention. This silence persisted despite the precedents from previous genocides, notably Rwanda, that such hate language is a warning sign, predictor, and catalyst of genocide.... If the Commission fails to call for criminal prosecution of the known facts concerning the cruel and inhuman mistreatment of Gilad Schalit, the Hamas rocket and terror attacks directed against civilians, and the incitement and hate language by Hamas and Iran, it will recycle the culture of impunity for such violations of human rights to life, respect for life and human dignity. By failing to pursue these actions, it will itself have become a complicit bystander to these crimes...." IN SUPPORT of the above points, I submitted Elena Bonner's eloquent statement on behalf of Gilad Schalit, data on Israel providing more medical permits to Gazans during a period of increasing rocket attacks, and documentation of Hamas' and Iran's incitement to genocide using the dehumanizing metaphors of Mein-Kampf type hate language. Iran, as is well known, is a supplier, enabler, instructor and enabler of Hamas, and its government is now the world's epicenter for incitement to genocide. The Goldstone Commission ignored all the above. In short, the Commission was not driven by the evidence, but by its preset agenda and rigged mandate. Judge Goldstone, in his past capacity as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal Rwanda (ICT-R), knows that incitement to genocide is a crime against humanity, as specified by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court. The ICT-R presided over the trials of six Rwandan journalists and public figures who were found guilty of genocidal incitement on Rwanda's one radio station. Later, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the conviction of Leon Mugasera, a Rwandan official who fled to Canada, even though his incitement preceded the genocide in Rwanda by several years - a noteworthy precedent for prosecuting Ahmadinejad and Hamas. In May, the UN Gazette reported the trial of Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, the former prefect of Butare, had opened before the ICT-R in Arusha. Ntawukulilyayo faced three counts of genocide, including incitement to genocide, and the charges included failing to prevent, aiding and abetting and, in some cases, even ordering genocidal killings in areas under his jurisdiction. This man was arrested in France in late 2007 and extradited to the ICT-R a year ago. Just last week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated his statement that Israel is a cancerous tumor, and Ahmadinejad again used the UN as a platform to promote his demonization of Israel. Both over the years have repeatedly used dehumanizing metaphors of Mein Kampf and Nazi propaganda, e.g. cancer, microbes, filth, disease - the worst form of incitement. Genocide scholars and experts on international criminal law recognize that state sanctioned incitement to genocide is an early warning sign, predictor, promoter and catalyst of genocide. But Goldstone, despite the Rwandan precedent, has been loudly silent on proposals such as the Responsibility to Prevent Petition of Professor of Irwin Cotler, calling for the indictment of Ahmadinejad for his incitement to genocide, Iran's illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons and brutal suppression of human rights, and he has been a bystander to Hamas incitement to genocide. IN HIS search for the appearance of false symmetry between Israel - a society committed to life, live and let live, and Hamas - an authoritarian, repressive terror organization committed to death, Judge Goldstone has advanced the use of "asymmetric lawfare" on behalf of the asymmetric warfare waged by genocidal terrorists ("armed organizations" in his report). Judge Goldstone's ignoring of state-sanctioned incitement and hate language by Hamas and its benefactor, Iran, is the equivalent of a traffic cop ignoring radar evidence that a driver is doing 190 kph on a city street and has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.30%. Judge Goldstone has been negligent in failing to apply the lessons of the Rwanda tribunals - his tribunals - to incitement to genocide by Hamas and Iran, its enabler. He should endorse the call of Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the Canadian Liberal Party, to indict all those Iranian leaders who are using Mein Kampf type language to incite to genocide, and do the same for Hamas and Hizbullah. He has become a bystander - the worst thing one can say about a professional dealing with incitement to genocide - and the defense attorney for genocidal terror. My prediction is that infamy will be his destiny. A last point: What counts is not whether the rulings of the Commission are or are not "beneficial to Israel's interests," but whether they serve justice, life and respect for life for all, everywhere, now and tomorrow. They do not. The writer is head of the Genocide Prevention Program at Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine and associate director at Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, and head of World Genocide Situation Room at Genocide Prevention Now (GPN).