New Senate Letter on Goldstone

I’ve pasted below the text of a letter circulating in the Senate right now, one that is very likely to garner the signatures of many, even most of the Senate for the resolution it discusses. (Note: see here an article regarding similar legislation in the House)

This is just more fallout from Richard Goldstone’s irresponsible Washington Post op-ed. But we should also understand that this question goes well beyond Israel. The Goldstone Report, despite whatever flaws it might have, had the potential to be a major step forward in accountability.

The United States, as the world’s leading military power (and all the more so because it is rapidly losing ground economically to its competitors) has little interest in an international system of accountability. In that sense, Israel is sort of the vanguard in that battle against accountability. Israel will fight the fight on the front line, with US backing.

Thus, the attack on the Goldstone Report, reinvigorated by Goldstone’s own op-ed, is not only about Israel’s ability to attack Gaza with impunity and maintain its occupation without fear of repercussion, but also about the USA ensuring that the world continues on a “might makes right” basis. It is that system which international law threatens.

Here is the text of the Senate letter. I had hoped to be able to move on to other issues by now, but, as Al Pacino once put it, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

April 11,2011

Dear Colleague,

We invite you to sponsor S.Res. 138, a bi-partisan Senate resolution calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council to rescind the Goldstone Report, on the UN Secretary General to redress damage done to Israel, and on the US government to do all can to end all further actions ar the United Nations in carrying out this report.

As you know, in 2009 the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed a United Nations Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone. At the time, we had expressed our deep concerns with the biased premise and flawed conclusions and recommendations of the report.

About a week ago Judge Richard Goldstone published an op-ed in the Washington Post retracting his premise that Israel committed war crimes during 2008 war in Gaza and intentionally killed Palestinians. In his words, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

We agree with Justice Goldstone, and have introduced a resolution urging the UN panel to stop carrying out the report’s recommendations and take measures to ensure that the panel no longer launches false attacks and accusations against Israel. Goldstone’s admission of error is not enough to undo the damage and libel made against Israel.

Legitimizing tills erroneous report sends a dangerous message to countries defending themselves against terrorism. The UN Human Rights Council members must put Judge Goldstone’s words into action and immediately revoke tills inflammatory, anti-Israel document.

Sincerely,

Kirsten E. Gillibrand
US Senator (D-NY)

James E. Risch
US Senator (R-ID)

3 thoughts on “New Senate Letter on Goldstone

  1. After “Why?”, a new resolution on the floor of the US Senate was the first thing I thought of as I read Goldstone’s op-ed. That it has taken this long for those in the pay of the Lobby to come up with a letter is only because of an unusually busy time in Washington.

    Like Goldstone’s op-ed, this letter will only keep the issue of Cast Lead visible in the media, so for that we should be thankful. And if we’re really lucky, we may even get around to talking about the details of Cast Lead and other Israeli crimes once the topic of Goldstone himself gets boring.

    In my view, there isn’t anywhere enough debate about the context of Goldstone’s findings. The easy assumption that the I-P conflict is a battle between equals; that Cast Lead can be investigated without reference to the illegal siege of Gaza and the illegal occupation of the West Bank; and that Cast Lead is somehow unrelated to Israel’s smothering of Palestinian democracy in its cradle — all of that is just ludicrous. Instead of the sniveling tone of his op-ed, Goldstone would have done Israel a favour had he used that opportunity to remind us that the report was too narrowly focussed and iterated the context in which Cast Lead was fought.

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