Goldstone recants: Just good news

The BP Editorial Board

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“If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document” –Richard Goldstone, April 1, 2011.

It only took a year and a half of constant pressure and demonstrations, but one of the biggest pieces of ammunition in the infamous Goldstone Report has officially been recanted by its principal author.

“I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted,” Judge Richard Goldstone wrote in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.

You could almost hear every government official in Israel letting out a long-deserved sigh.

What Mr. Goldstone retracted was the incendiary conclusion that Israel had deliberately targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead.  While he said more investigation was needed, he admitted that his own report continued long-standing bias toward Israel on the part of the U.N.

He further criticized the terrorist organization Hamas for failing to conduct any investigation at all into alleged war crimes, and said that every mortar and rocket targeted into Israel constituted a war crime of its own, because it was aimed explicitly at a civilian population.

Why did Judge Goldstone retract key parts of the report he worked so hard and long to publish?  Pessimists like Ha’Aretz reporter Akiva Eldar contend that the withdrawal was perhaps just “a bid by him to secure a place of honor at the Passover seder table,” a sly reference to an incident last year when the South African judge and activist decided to skip his grandson’s bar mitzvah after learning that demonstrators would mar the event if he showed up.

Honestly, though, why would we even consider devaluing such an encouraging and apologetic admission?

Instead of snuffing out this once-in-a-blue-moon acknowledgement of the U.N.’s bias against Israel, let’s think about quickly accepting Goldstone’s words and using them to our advantage.

For once, let’s ride a comfortable wave of ‘Israel is actually trying to be just and moral’ for as long as we can.

Thankfully, Israel’s president and prime minister have jumped on the opportunity, lobbying U.N. officials to completely rescind the original report.

Admittedly, the report is a long way from full repudiation. Still, it’s time to embrace a temporary victory and push forward toward peace in the Middle East.

Instead of fretting about Judge Goldstone’s motives; enjoy every bite of matzo next week a little more knowing that Israel is closer to being recognized as ahero instead of a villain.

And if Richard Goldstone, too, can enjoy his matzo a little more this year because of pressure taken off him, so be it.

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