I recently wrote a piece criticizing the Goldstone report, and, in the spirit of academic openness and growth, I would like to critique my own critique. I maintain that the Goldstone report had many flaws, indeed Goldstone himself has stated that many of the findings in the report “would not hold up in a court of law.” I maintain that the UN, and especially the UN Human Rights Council, has a deep bias against Israel, and singles it out far more than other states that carry out worse violations.
However, the fact that the Goldstone report has many flaws, that its mandate was skewed, that the UN does not press Libya the way that it presses Israel, does not give the Israeli government the right to write off the report in its entirety and to refuse to cooperate and conduct an in-depth investigation, as the report recommends. Goldstone stated in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post that he would be happy if some of the findings were proven wrong; so would I and all supporters of Israel. But there is no way to prove the findings wrong without an investigation. And if, after investigation, some of the findings prove to be accurate, that is something that Israel and the Israeli people, and supporters of Israel must reckon with, just as the United States had to reckon with Abu Ghraib. So, were I to rewrite my op-ed, I would maintain a criticism of the UN’s bias, the report’s flawed mandate and execution, but would emphasize that the onus is now on the Israeli government to address the report, and to conduct an investigation.