Richard Goldstone’s astonishing admission that his findings on Israel’s 2008-09 operation in Gaza were seriously flawed and misinformed does not undo the damage already done by the rush to judgment and conclusions of the original report [“Revisiting Gaza,” op-ed, April 3].
It is now all but clear that the Goldstone Report was marred by spurious evidence and foregone conclusions. The specious conclusion that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians was made without any convincing evidence, and since Mr. Goldstone’s report was issued, it has played a key role in fostering the campaigns of de-legitimization of Israel.
Whatever the differences of the past, Mr. Goldstone’s re-evaluation and retraction of his report is an important correction of the historical record, shedding light both on Israel’s high moral standards and the anti-Israel campaigns that are at large.
Abraham H. Foxman, New York
The writer is national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
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If I were an Israeli, I would not know whether to laugh or cry over Richard Goldstone’s admission that his infamous report was wrong when it accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians in the 2008-09 Gaza war.
Mr. Goldstone’s naivete is breathtaking. He thought his report would “begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council.” It was his “hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would” investigate the launching of rocket and mortar attacks into Israel. And he acknowledges “that the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying.”
Mr. Goldstone complained that he was missing evidence because the Israelis declined to cooperate. If he did not have evidence from one party to the conflict, he should not have issued a report. He could then have complained about whether Israel should have cooperated with the inquiry, but at least he would not have issued a report loaded with factual inaccuracies and, therefore, false conclusions.
It is little wonder that the Israelis decided not to cooperate.
Frank R. Goldstein, Frederick
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Richard Goldstone’s retraction cut the ground from under war-crime charges against Israel by Human Rights Watch. Although I founded Human Rights Watch and was its chairman for most of its existence, I have openly criticized it because its Gaza reports were seriously flawed. Judge Goldstone now concurs.
I hope this puts the matter to rest and that Human Rights Watch makes every effort to undo the harm caused by its flawed reports. It is time to heal and to create an atmosphere conducive to peace negotiations in the Arab-Israel conflict.
Robert Bernstein, New York
The writer is founding chairman emeritus of Human Rights Watch.
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