Judge Richard Goldstone: 'Never Mind'

By Jeffrey Goldberg

This is as shocking as it is unexpected: the South African Jewish judge Richard Goldstone, who excoriated Israel for allegedly committing premeditated crimes against civilians in Gaza -- contributing, more than any other individual, to the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state --  now says, well, Israel didn't actually set out to target Palestinian civilians, unllike Hamas, whose plainly-apparent goal was to murder Israeli civilians.

It is not clear, reading Goldstone's mea culpa in The Washington Post, that he fully understands the consequences of his work:

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and "possibly crimes against humanity" by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying -- its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee's report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

Well, I'm glad he's cleared that up. Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/04/judge-richard-goldstone-never-mind/73366/