The Goldstone Report and the United Nations Human Rights Council: anti-Israel politicization with far-reaching ramifications
Statement from Sharene Hambur, Acting President, Zionist Council of Victoria
“The Goldstone Report was flawed from its inception and its adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) only serves to highlight the bias of this organisation which has been evident in so many of its actions” said Sharene Hambur acting President of the Zionist Council of Victoria.
On Friday, the UNHRC endorsed the Goldstone Report by a vote of 25-6. The United States, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine opposed the resolution, while Britain and France declined to vote. Russia, China, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ghana, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Zambia were among those that voted in favour of the resolution.
In the most ironic of outcomes, Richard Goldstone has distanced himself from the UNHRC Resolution. Prior to the endorsement he told the Swiss Le Temps newspaper “This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done.”
To The Jewish Daily Forward, Goldstone has acknowledged that “We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.”
“From the outset, the terms of reference for mandating the Goldstone Report were flawed and biased to say the least” notes Ms. Hambur.
When in January 2009 the HRC decided to “…dispatch an urgent, independent…fact-finding mission” it erred in its facts, labelling Israel “the occupying Power…particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip…”
However Israel does not occupy the Gaza Strip. Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005, dismantling 21 settlements and uprooting more than 8,000 civilians.
“Occupation” is the same excuse terrorist Hamas has given for 8 years as it continues to fire rockets and mortars at Israeli communities Sderot, Ashkelon and throughout the entire western Negev region.
“In fact, the only Israeli in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip today is kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit” points out Hambur.
Not surprisingly, Israel declined participation in an official capacity, although it did not stand in the way of its citizens affected directly by thousands of Hamas rocket attacks. Noam Bedein of the Sderot Media Centre who was in Melbourne just a few months ago speaking on the effect of rocket attacks on Sderot’s children and Dr. Mirela Siderer from Ashkelon, disfigured after a rocket attack on her clinic, gave evidence to the mission.
Not even one western country member of the Human Rights Council supported the establishment of the mission empowering Goldstone to “fact-find”.
In addition, a number of prominent human rights champions were approached by the HRC to take on this so-called “fact-finding mission”, including former HRC Commissioner Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu. They all declined because the results condemning Israel were a foregone conclusion.
The “fact-finding” continued from Geneva to the Gaza Strip, where Goldstone conducted public hearings in Gaza. “Given Hamas’ brutal and violent rule, witnesses could not be expected to be able to speak freely and this process could only bring one outcome: total and utter condemnation of Israel” said Ms Hambur.
The total lack of impartiality in the resulting Goldstone Report was most evident in its pages: of the 575 pages of the report just a few were about Hamas attacks on Israel. “Such limited reference to Hamas terrorism taints the entire report and its process” states Hambur.
Concludes Ms Hambur “Thus the Goldstone Report failed in 2 critical ways: it legitimized and rewarded a terrorist regime, while undermining chances to kick-start peace negotiations, most recently the fledgling tripartite meetings between US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“How can Israel possibly be expected to move forward in these circumstances?” Ms Hambur questions.
Fair-minded and rational individuals, indeed all democratic nations, should be more than alarmed at the consequences of the UNHRC endorsement. The UNHRC resolution undermines and endangers Israel’s very basic right to defend its citizens from terror. The ramifications will be global. The international community should now be carefully considering what this means for other western nations defending their citizens from terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Terrorists cannot be afforded the right to self-defense. Anything less is an absolute human rights failure.
For more information contact:
Ginette Searle – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544
Elly Shalev – Director Public Affairs, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5519
The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website www.zionismvictoria.org.au