Special Report

The Goldstone Report’s Cold Logic

By 10.23.09

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Those who claim the Goldstone Report was written simply to blacken Israel's name are missing the point. That is and can be done almost daily by directly feeding the media half truths and propaganda to use in articles that reinforce the narrative of Palestinian suffering at the hands of the occupying Israelis.

Rather, the purpose for producing the Goldstone Report was to provide a "rationale" for domestic courts around the world that are sympathetic to militant Islam to arrest Israelis -- whether they be political leaders, military officials or ordinary soldiers -- and prosecute them for war crimes under so-called " universal jurisdiction" laws.

Universal jurisdiction is the principle that if the political and legal institutions countries will not go after leaders or citizens who participated in crimes against humanity similar systems in other nations, at any level, can arrest and prosecute. It was a confection originally spun by leftists who believed that it provided the only means to hold war criminals accountable, particularly if their own country lacked the legal system to do so. Universal jurisdiction advocates maintain that such individuals can be jailed and prosecuted without due process or other legal restraints. Universal jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court are only supposed to be applied when a country does not or cannot act to prosecute and in limited cases. But as Henry Kissinger has observed: who decides when a country can't act or doesn't want to? Does it depend on the outcome someone wants?

In 2001 Kissinger (who himself was the subject of a universal jurisdiction arrest warrant) warned of an unprecedented movement to turn international politics into legal proceedings. Now universal jurisdiction is being used to bring about Israel's annihilation.

Goldstone can't do enough to recast the report and his leadership as a wholehearted effort to save the Zionist experiment from itself. However, anyone who took the time to read the 650-page report can see the inquiry was structured in a way to establish the grounds for universal jurisdiction:

First, show the operation amounted to crimes against humanity. The Goldstone Report dismisses all military tactics designed to eliminate the risk of engaging in asymmetrical warfare as "so-called operational necessity." Israeli military plans to hit targets, clear positions, hold areas based on intelligence and on the ground observation of units are dismissed as premeditated crimes. One example of a war crime: Attacking the Gaza police who are trained by Hamas, armed by Hamas, and blend in with Hamas to launch rockers.

Second, conclude that Israel's operation in Gaza was part a systematic effort to oppress the Palestinian people. Goldstone cites the razing of a chicken farm -- which provided eggs in Gaza -- and the bombing of a sewage system as war crimes, for instance, even as he treats the well-known use of Gazans as human shields by Hamas as mere speculation. It regards Operation Cast Lead as an extension of a policy of "repression" that has systematically deprived people in Gaza of their freedom.

Finally, the report claims, because Israel is unwilling to respond to the "repression" of which the war crimes are merely a part with "criminal investigations that comply with international standards the Mission supports the reliance on universal jurisdiction as an avenue for States to investigate violations of the grave breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, prevent impunity and promote international accountability." Goldstone missed the hundreds of civil and military court investigations of IDF actions in Gaza.

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted Goldstone's recommendation encouraging every nation to prosecute Israelis for war crimes. And both were was taking their cue from anti-Israel NGOs they know, including the French pro-Palestinian organizations who sued the Israeli president, foreign minister and defense minister at the start of the war. As international law expert David Kaye notes: "…numerous prosecutors, particularly in Europe, will take the conclusions of the Report and initiate investigations under their domestic universal jurisdiction laws." Several Israel leaders have already canceled travel plans because they might be arrested.

Universal jurisdiction was conceived to insure that war criminals would be unable to hide from judgment anywhere on the globe. The Goldstone Report characterizes the soldiers (including my son who served in Operation Cast Lead), political officials and military leaders of Israel as a criminal element in the world community. Through universal jurisdiction it permits its enemies to turn the Jewish state into the Warsaw ghetto, another venue for keeping tabs, according to the Nazis, on the "criminal class." To the extent the Obama administration and American Jewish organizations such as J Street give legitimacy to the report by supporting investigations of the military operation Israel launched in response to terrorist attacks, they are complicit in this strategy. If that happens, Israel may truly be a nation apart.

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About the Author
Robert M. Goldberg is vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and founder of Hands Off My H ealth, a grass roots health care empowerment network. His is new book, Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used To Hijack Medical Science For Fear and Profit, was published last month by Kaplan.