* More revelations come out about Richard Goldstone, the hero of the international anti-Israel left
* Goldstone sent at least 28 black defendants to the gallows as a South African judge under the Apartheid regime, and ordered four other blacks to be whipped
* Now he says he regrets it and was simply following the law at the time
* The NY Times and other media misled readers when they implied Goldstone only became a judge in the post-Apartheid era
* “I recall him at the lunch and dinner tables in Harvard describing himself as a heroic part of the struggle against Apartheid”
* Israel again asks UN and European countries that supported Goldstone’s phony charges against Israel, to renounce Goldstone’s UN report attacking Israel
* NY Times and Financial Times Israel-criticizing columnists finally admit West Bank prosperity
There is another dispatch today, which can be read here: Israel stole our goats, says Lebanon (& Saddam’s UK MP defeated).
1. Goldstone: Just following orders
2. Yes, it was
3. “His robe and gavel lent an air of legitimacy to a barbaric regime”
4. Iran’s entry to UN Women’s Rights Commission finally gets some media coverage
5. Now UN set to let Libya sit in judgment on human rights
6. A body bag for a democrat, a villa for a convicted killer
7. Expats in U.S. vote in mock Egyptian election
8. Israel expected to win acceptance into OECD today
9. NY Times, Financial Times columnists admit West Bank prosperity
10. Enormous airport to open in Mecca
11. Turkey plans first nudist hotel
12. China launches 24-hour English news channel
13. “Smatterings of hope on the West Bank” (By Gideon Rachman, Financial Times)
14. “Sunny days in Israel” (By Roger Cohen, New York Times, May 7, 2010)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
GOLDSTONE: JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS
Judge Richard Goldstone was responsible for sending at least 28 black South Africans to death when they appeared before him during the apartheid regime, Israel’s largest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot has revealed after a thorough investigation.
Goldstone, who last year headed the UN committee which charged Israel with “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity,” handed down the sentences while serving as a judge in the South African Court of Appeals.
Goldstone wrote in one of his rulings that the gallows are the only deterrent for killers.
Goldstone responded to the Yediot Ahronot report by saying that he was a part of the system and had to respect the laws of the state, occasionally having to enforce laws he was opposed to, including the death penalty.
WHIPPING BLACK MEN
Even when it came to far less serious offenses, Goldstone sided with the racist policies of the Apartheid regime, Yediot Ahronot also reported. Among other things, he approved the whipping of four blacks found guilty of violence, while he acquitted four police officers who had broken into a white woman’s house on suspicions that she was conducting sexual relations with a black man – something which was then considered to be a serious crime in South Africa.
In another incident, Goldstone sentenced two young black men merely for being in possession of a video tape showing a speech given by one of the senior officials in Nelson Mandela’s party.
Some of Goldstone’s allies among the South African judiciary claimed in his defense that Goldstone had also done much to try and oppose apartheid.
But Yediot Ahronot journalist Tzadok Yehezkeli, who co-wrote the story, said “it was Goldstone’s choice to be a judge under apartheid, and because of this decision, he ended up doing things that served the apartheid laws.”
YES, IT WAS
Goldstone also said in response to Yediot’s article this weekend:
“I would say that these events took place 25 - 30 years ago. At that time a number of democracies had not abolished the death sentence. I do not understand why my actions as a judge in those years preclude me from judging war crimes now.”
Goldstone also insisted he opposed apartheid even though he chose to serve as one of the judges enforcing it.
Haviv Rettig Gur of The Jerusalem Post, who has covered this story, says that “Goldstone has a habit of agreeing to serve corrupt and immoral systems [apartheid and the UN Human Rights Council] in the utterly naive hope of reforming them from within.”
As I pointed out in dispatches last year, Goldstone acknowledged that his own report on Israel would not hold up in a court of law, yet insisted that Israel had to refute those claims or be judged guilty.
Goldstone told The Jewish Chronicle online yesterday: “It was a difficult moral decision taking an appointment during the Apartheid era.”
Yes, it was.
At any rate, Goldstone seems to be a man without a moral compass.
Only in 1995 when Nelson Mandela took power was the South African constitution amended and the death penalty abolished. Hundreds of people sitting on death row were spared, including some that Goldstone himself sent there.
“HIS ROBE AND GAVEL LENT AN AIR OF LEGITIMACY TO A BARBARIC REGIME”
Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who is a longtime subscriber to this email list, adds:
“Richard Goldstone, author of the notorious Goldstone report, did not become a South African judge in the post-Apartheid Mandela Era, as The New York Times and other media have erroneously reported. He accepted a judgeship during the worst days of Apartheid and helped legitimate one of the most racist regimes in the world by granting the imprimatur of the rule of law to some of the most undemocratic and discriminatory decrees.
“Goldstone was – quite literally – a hanging judge. He imposed and affirmed death sentences for more than two dozen blacks under circumstances where whites would almost certainly have escaped the noose. And he affirmed sentences of physical torture – euphemistically called ‘flogging’ – for other blacks. He also enforced miscegenation and other racist laws with nary a word of criticism or dissent. He was an important part of the machinery of death, torture and racial subjugation that characterized Apartheid South Africa. His robe and gavel lent an air of legitimacy to an entirely illegitimate and barbaric regime.
“It is no surprise that Goldstone kept this part of his life secret from academic colleagues, friends and the general public. I recall him at the lunch and dinner tables in Cambridge [Harvard] describing himself as a heroic part of the struggle against Apartheid. Now it turns out he was the ugly face of Apartheid, covering its sins and crimes with a judicial robe. How differently we would have looked at him if we knew that he had climbed the judicial ladder on whipped backs and hanged bodies.”
Separately, Goldstone has said in his latest piece (published in Britain’s Guardian last week): “I am not aware that the UN Gaza Report has or is being used to delegitimize Israel by questioning her right to exist as a member of the International Community. I would object to any such use being made of it.”
What planet is he on?
Among past dispatches on this concerning the Goldstone Report, please see:
* “Goldstone’s crime against human rights” (& a mental patient at the UN) (Sept. 28, 2009)
* Dachau survivor asks Goldstone: How dare you? (& Peres: Goldstone “legitimized terrorism”) (Sept. 21, 2009)
*As the UN endorses Goldstone report, even Goldstone now criticizes the UN (Oct. 17, 2009)… Are the British and French proud of their governments for putting them in the same voting camp as Angola, Kyrgyzstan and Madagascar, three of the worst dictatorships in the world?
IRAN’S ENTRY TO UN WOMEN’S RIGHTS COMMISSION FINALLY GETS SOME MEDIA COVERAGE
Since I criticized the mainstream media for not mentioning that Iran had been appointed by the good-for-nothing, African-child-raping UN to its UN Women’s Rights Commission, I am glad to see that several newspaper columnists who subscribe to this list have now mentioned this appointment – and criticized it – including columnists for The Washington Post and The (London) Sunday Times.
Still, it has not garnered nearly the attention it ought, and the failure by the Obama administration’s representative at the Women’s Rights Commission to attempt to block Iran’s appointment, ought to be a scandal of the first order. (Hillary Clinton, where are you?)
(For background, please see the dispatch: No joke: UN adds Iran to Women’s Rights Commission (& Hamas extends ban on fun) May 1, 2010.)
NOW UN SET TO LET LIBYA SIT IN JUDGMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Following success at the UN by Iran, UN member states (the majority of which are dictatorships) may this week reward another of the world’s worst human rights offenders, Libya, by voting it onto the appallingly misnamed UN Human Rights Council.
There are 13 other countries standing besides Libya, but many UN members love to vote for a good old dictatorship. That way the UN Human Rights Council can continue to concentrate on criticizing Israel and ignore the entire rest of the world, as they have habitually done in the past.
To demonize Israel most recently they have relied on Judge Richard Goldstone (see above), to produce slanderous reports, while turning a blind eye to well-documented killings and other mass abuses in recent months in Iran, China, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere.
A BODY BAG FOR A DEMOCRAT, A VILLA FOR A CONVICTED KILLER
Hundreds of Libyans are jailed and tortured each year and Libya has banned the free press and open use of the internet.
For example, last year 58-year-old political dissident Fathi Eljahmi was returned home in a body bag, having been tortured to death by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi for the crime of advocating democracy. Meanwhile, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer imprisoned for his role in the 1988 Pan Am bombing over the Scottish town of Lockerbie which killed 270 people, who was released last summer on “compassionate grounds” by the Scottish government after it was claimed he was “close to death,” is now living in a luxurious villa, provided to him by the Libyan regime.
According to the 2006 resolution founding the Human Rights Council, member states must “take into account the candidates’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made hereto.”
I’ll leave readers to judge whether the UN is worthy of integrity and respect.
EXPATS IN U.S. VOTE IN MOCK EGYPTIAN ELECTION
On May Day, Egyptians in America voted for the first time ever in a free and fair electoral process that included Hamdeen Sabahi, Mohamed ElBaradei, Ayman Nour, Amr Moussa and Gamal Mubarak as candidates.
The voting, which took place in front of the Egyptian embassy in Washington, was part of a mock presidential election staged by the Egyptian Association for Change.
Protesters held Egyptian flags and lined up to cast their mock votes to demonstrate their demand for open elections in Egypt. They also demanded an end to the state of emergency in Egypt that has been in force for almost thirty years.
ISRAEL EXPECTED TO WIN ACCEPTANCE INTO OECD TODAY
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is expected to invite Israel to join later today as the organization’s 32nd member state. The decision by the OECD must be unanimous. The strong performance of the Israeli economy in recent years, which continues even as much of the rest of the world grapples with severe economic problems, means Israel has been fast-tracked for accession to the OECD. No country is expected to oppose Israel’s membership.
Israel is the only country in the West that has managed not to increase its deficit during the global economic slowdown. Its medical and high-tech companies are world leaders. On May 26, Israel will officially be classified as a developed rather a developing economy.
UPDATE: The OECD has unanimously voted to invite Israel to join, together with two other small and successful democracies, Slovenia and Estonia. Here is the official announcement.
NY TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES COLUMNISTS ADMIT WEST BANK PROSPERITY
For over two years, these dispatches have been recounting how the West Bank – far from being a humanitarian catastrophe as regularly claimed on the BBC and by UN officials and NGO spokespersons – is in fact undergoing a mini-economic boom. I based this on repeated trips I have made to the West Bank and have outlined the situation in a series of articles I wrote for The Wall Street Journal, The National Post in Canada, The Australian and other papers.
Finally, some mainstream liberal newspaper columnists known for their hostility to Israel are beginning to acknowledge this too.
Last week, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen who is usually so nasty about Israel, acknowledged that not only the Israeli economy is improving fast, but so is the Palestinian one.
Cohen writes, for example: “The yellow pages, yes, the yellow pages from the West Bank town of Kalkilya were in his hand, and he found them interesting because, in recent years, they had tripled in thickness, an indication of the expansion of business and decline in violence.”
Cohen also acknowledges far from being a dangerous place, at present Tel Aviv feels like “New York’s West Village of a balmy Sunday.”
(His full article is below.)
Meanwhile, chief Financial Times foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman, who is a subscriber to this email list, and has long been a critic of Israel, begrudgingly admits that life on the West Bank isn’t as bad as he previously suggested it was, having been convinced of this by none other than Yasser Arafat’s nephew.
“The place does seem noticeably more prosperous,” Rachman says, although he still can’t bring himself to acknowledge that the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, have done much to aid this development.
(Full article below.)
ENORMOUS AIRPORT TO OPEN IN MECCA
The Saudi parliament, the Shura Council (members of which are appointed by the king) has unanimously approved plans to build an international airport outside Islam’s holiest city, Mecca, in an effort to cater to more than two million pilgrims who visit the city each year.
Since only Muslims are permitted to enter Mecca, the council said that the new airport must be located outside the city center, so as to allow non-Muslims to serve as pilots and cabin crew flying pilgrims there.
TURKEY OPENS FIRST NUDIST HOTEL
While there has been a trend towards Islamization in Turkey in recent years, not everything there is going that way.
One wonders what the Turks’ new friends in Hamas will make of the fact that the Turkish government last week allowed the country’s first nudist hotel to open.
Hotel Adaburnu-Gelmar, in Datca, on the southwest coast of Turkey, has its own beach. It is being operated by a British-based provider of naturist holidays.
But in the evening guests must dress for dinner: nudity is only allowed on hotel grounds from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
[I previous published this item on NRO and The National Post and sent it to some people then.]
CHINA LAUNCHES 24-HOUR ENGLISH NEWS CHANNEL
Following in the footsteps of other less-than-democratic governments such as those of Iran (“Press TV”), Qatar (“Al Jazeera English”) and Russia (“Russia Today”), China has launched a global, English-language television news network, part of efforts to extend the communist government’s media influence abroad.
The government-controlled China Xinhua News Network Corp. has begun trial broadcasts of its English TV service 24/7, including news segments, feature stories, weather updates and special bulletins.
The channel is officially set to launch on July 1. It has not yet been announced what countries would receive the channel, but the Chinese are likely to follow Russia Today and Press TV both of which are fast spreading their broadcasts globally, using cable and satellite providers in Europe and elsewhere.
Chinese authorities have expressed disapproval of much of the international coverage of sensitive events in China, such as human rights.
China already broadcasts a 24-hour Arabic language channel airing in 22 Arabic-speaking countries, reaching a total population of nearly 300 million people.
Last year, China launched an English-language daily newspaper, as I reported in these dispatches at the time.
[All notes above by Tom Gross]
“NEW YORK’S WEST VILLAGE OF A BALMY SUNDAY”
Sunny days in Israel
By Roger Cohen
The New York Times
May 7, 2010
TEL AVIV – A cool breeze came in from the sea, knocking over salt shakers at the Zorik Café. It was a beautiful day in Israel, clear skies, brilliant light, and the volleyball players were out. Young couples in low-slung jeans sipped smoothies and ate poached eggs.
Things are calm in Tel Aviv. Menace is beyond the horizon. Nobody thinks twice about boarding a bus, hanging out. It was pleasant to sit and people watch, see the smiles and bear hugs. New York’s West Village of a balmy Sunday.
In walked a stocky guy in jeans and an open-neck shirt, olive-green eyes, a ready smile and a mop of dark hair flecked with gray. He was Col. Avi Gil of the Israel Defense Forces, and here’s what he told me:
“When I was in the Special Forces a few years back, I could not tell my wife everything and one day I was in Nablus and there was an incident. I was a company commander and the operation went on from 5:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and the soldier just to the left of me was injured and also another soldier beside me. Later in the day I went to see them in hospital in Petah Tikva and then I came home to Tel Aviv to get civilian clothes for my cousin’s wedding and I’d almost died that day and I said nothing. I don’t know what’s better, Afghanistan for seven months or living like that. When you live in your homeland and that homeland is small, that is the situation.”
Gil smiled. Life in Israel is many-layered, tranquility and anxiety always tussling for the upper hand, like argumentative siblings. What, I thought, was that Orwell line about sleeping safe at night because rough men stand ready? I couldn’t summon it and, besides, Gil wanted to show me something.
The yellow pages, yes, the yellow pages from the West Bank town of Kalkilya were in his hand, and he found them interesting because, in recent years, they had tripled in thickness, an indication of the expansion of business and decline in violence.
After his Special Forces stint, Gil had gone on a two-year assignment to Washington (liaising with the U.S. Marine Corps), and had only returned to the West Bank in November 2009 as a senior officer. He’d found the transformation, as measured on his yellow-pages gauge, striking.
“It’s in our interest to maintain the peaceful trend in the West Bank and I’m willing to take some chances,” Gil said. “It’s fragile, but the fact is nobody wants to fight.”
What sort of chances? Well, Gil meets regularly with his Palestinian Authority counterparts – “Today, I trust them,” he said, underscoring the “today” – and he provides intelligence on militants. He’s ceding ground. In December he went into Tulkarm 19 times, but only twice last month.
Roadblocks are coming down – to 14 from 42. Gil admires the state-building of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, although he thinks Fayyad is “walking on the edge” because his pledge of nonviolence has not stopped stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails.
“When I go into Kalkilya,” Gil told me, “I’ve stopped using body armor, but I do take my rifle.”
That, I think, is not a bad image of Israel today, prepared to relax slightly but mistrustful; feeling burned and misunderstood; seeing the outside world as hostile (including President Barack Obama); unconvinced of the possibility of peace but not prepared to dismiss it entirely; wanting at some level to think Fayyad can forge a reliable Palestine but also persuaded that Arabs are still bent on its destruction; led by a right-religious-Russian-settler coalition that reflects lasting rightward shifts in its society; enjoying the quiet but disturbed by what’s over the horizon, not least Iran. An Israel that’s shed its body armor for now but still carries a rifle.
This is not an Israel that is ready to hurry to peace, not an Israel on Obama’s timetable, or the Quartet’s, or Fayyad’s.
“Let’s walk slowly to arrive as fast as we can,” Gil said. That’s about the Israeli mood. So tensions will flare anew as the world pushes for Palestinian statehood by the end of 2011 or early 2012, and Israel applies the brakes.
Psychological barriers to peace remain huge. On the road into the West Bank capital of Ramallah, now as relaxed as Tel Aviv, a big sign says: “No entry for Israelis. Entry forbidden by Israeli law.” That’s a reflection of the violent world Gil knew a few years back, not of his yellow pages.
In one of his poems, Mahmoud Darwish, the late Palestinian poet, wrote, “Me or him/ That’s how war starts. But it ends in an awkward silence/ Me and him.” We are still waiting for the Holy Land’s “me” and “him” to see each other in the mirror.
What next, I asked Gil. “I have to be ready for three things: Maintain the current posture, leave, or go in.” Which would he prefer? By way of answer, he looked to the blue sky, the kids playing and the whole cool scene.
FT: SMATTERINGS OF HOPE ON THE WEST BANK
Smatterings of hope on the West Bank
By Gideon Rachman
The Financial Times
April 14, 2010
Talking to Nasser Kidweh in Ramallah yesterday was like chatting to somebody who had been asked to act out the phrase “world-weary” in a game of charades: lots of long pauses, shrugs and despairing laughter, from beneath hooded eyelids. Kidweh is Palestinian aristocracy – a former ambassador to the UN, a member of the Fatah central committee who is tipped as a possible future president, partly because he is also a nephew of Yasser Arafat.
I think anybody who has lived through more than 20 years of “peace talks” and observes the steady progress of Israeli settlements on the West Bank – and Hamas’s grip on Gaza – has some reason to be a little world weary. But, actually, beneath the gloomy manner, some of what Kidweh had to say was surprisingly cheery. He was surprisingly open in his enthusiasm for the Obama administration and is delighted by the idea that the US may soon present its own peace plan. (The Israelis hate this idea.) He thinks that the US has finally understood that settlements are the main block to a peace deal.
There are also economic reasons for a degree of cautious Palestinian cheeriness. According to the World Bank, the economy of the West Bank grew by over 8% last year. The place does seem noticeably more prosperous then during my last visit, which was about a year ago. There are not so many Israeli check-points, which makes getting around and doing business easier for the Palestinians. And the legal and administrative reforms of the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, seem to be having some effect.
Fayyad, dismissed by some as a technocrat and by others as an Israeli stooge, seems to be the coming man in West Bank politics. He is beginning to act like a politician: running half marathons, kissing babies, visiting obscure villages. And his high profile contrasts markedly with the incredibly low profile of the putative president, Abu Mazen. Fayyad’s plan to declare Palestinian statehood next year also seems to have given a focus and some energy to his administration.
Perhaps predictably, the Fatah old guard are not delighted by this interloper’s actions. Kidweh seemed distinctly underwhelmed by Fayyad’s plan for a declaration of statehood. “We did that in 1988” he pointed out – not unreasonably, before sighing deeply.