The Goldstone Report still stands as a reasonable document
The South African jurist Richard Goldstone voices further and second thoughts regarding his eponymous report in the Washington Post. Likud supporters such as George Mason Law Professor David Bernstein are now chortling, and we can expect some real braying in the little journals around the nation that cater to members of Jewish synagogues and temples. And we'll hear it around the dessert table after Shabbat services at those same temples and synagogues, even among those Jews who say, "I'm a liberal, but when it comes to Israel..."
My initial take on the Report was here.
And my response now was contained in the following comment I posted in response to Professor Bernstein at the Volokh.com website:
The Goldstone Report was released on September 15, 2009.
In October 2009, Goldstone was already trying to explain that it was a preliminary finding and that further investigation was necessary, which was consistent with the report. See:
And here is also an article from the same time where Goldstone says an internal Israeli investigation would put pressure on Hamas to do the same, which explains why Goldstone has NOW said Hamas’ failure to investigate should be noted and criticized:
Too bad the braying Likudniks like an Alan Dershowitz or the folks at AIPAC, who claim to speak for most Jews in America, are going to have their field day…They overstated the criticisms of the Goldstone Report in order to justify the Israeli government’s abject and contemptuous refusal to cooperate with Goldstone, and now they will argue that there was never any truth to any charge against Israeli conduct during the Gaza incursion. And please, folks, I supported the incursion so don’t make assumptions about me on that one…:-)
David, you are a lawyer. If a judge denies a defendant’s summary judgment motion, does he believe the plaintiff’s case is a winner? No, he just believes there is a prima facie case and it needs a trial. If at the trial, the same judge tries the case, he may well find against that same plaintiff (MF Blog adds for lay readers: ...after the judge hears further facts and gets to finally weigh the facts previously provided by each side). I’ve seen it happen, and so have plenty of trial lawyers. That is what Goldstone was doing, and obviously too many of us couldn’t ever get past the political rhetoric surrounding the report.
ADDENDUM MONDAY EVENING 4/4/11:
I love the Internet! I stand--well, sit really, corrected--that the proper analogy is not to a motion for summary judgment. I re-read the Goldstone report early this morning, and realized there were some facts found, and others that were tentative findings. It is really a first step or indictment, as I note in my response to the first commenter. It does not pass legal judgment as if it was a trial. Thus, it was a first step, i.e., again, indictment. I also re-read Goldstone's op-ed again, and re-affirmed his careful statements that since the report was issued, Hamas has done no internal investigation, and Israel at least undertook some steps to answer the report and take some actions. He also said that Israel proved to him that it had a reasoned response to the killing of a family in one example showing it was unintentional, and he concluded that with the new evidence, there is insufficient evidence to say Israel intentionally targeted civilians.
Still, when one considers Israel refused to cooperate in preparing the report when it counted, for the pro-Likud crowd to rip into Goldstone for producing a one-sided report, when he recognized at the time Israel was essentially defaulting, merely shows once again how the Likud ideology of Israeli and American politics work.