Israel launching drive to void Goldstone Report
WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would launch an international campaign to cancel the Goldstone Report after its author, ex-South African Judge Richard Goldstone, wrote in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that Israel did not intentionally target civilians as a policy during the Gaza War, withdrawing a critical allegation in the report.
Netanyahu said he had asked his security adviser, Ya’akov Amidror, to establish a committee focused on “minimizing the damage caused” by the report.
“There are very few instances in which those who disseminate libels retract their libel. This happened in the case of the Goldstone Report,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “Goldstone himself said that all of the things that we have been saying all along are correct -- that Israel never intentionally fired at civilians and that our inquiries operated according to the highest international standards.
“Of course, this is in complete contrast to Hamas, which intentionally attacked and murdered civilians and, naturally, never carried out any sort of inquiry. This leads us to call for the immediate cancellation of the Goldstone Report.”
Goldstone wrote in Saturday’s Washington Post that “We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
Goldstone withdrew what perhaps was his most damaging conclusion: That there was evidence suggesting Israel had deliberately targeted civilians during its war with Hamas.
Referring to a U.N. committee’s recent independent assessment of his report, Goldstone wrote in his Op-Ed that “While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”
Goldstone said he may have drawn different conclusions had Israel cooperated with his inquiry; Israel refused to do so, seeing the U.N. Human Rights Council as irredeemably biased.
He also said that it “goes without saying” that Hamas intentionally targeted civilians and noted that unlike Israel, the group did not investigate its own actions.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Saturday that Goldstone’s “retreat does not change the fact war crimes had been committed against 1.5 million people in Gaza.” Abu Zuhri said that Hamas cooperated with the Goldstone commission.
Senior Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath said Sunday that Goldstone retracted his committee’s report due to pressure.
Netanyahu on Saturday night called on the United Nations to “cancel” the report in light of Goldstone’s article, although he did not make clear what this would involve.
The American Jewish Committee said Goldstone should ask the United Nations to “revise and update” the report.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, called on the U.N. Human Rights Council to “retract” the report, which it had adopted.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement that “What is so distressing is the fact that Goldstone rushed to judgment in the first instance as to Israel’s alleged intention to target civilians without any convincing evidence.” He added that Goldstone’s “specious conclusion caused Israel untold damage in the international community and played a key role in fostering the campaigns of delegitimization of Israel.”
Foxman called Goldstone’s renunciation of his own report “A story of the continuing bias of the United Nations against Israel, a story of the unwillingness of the international community to take seriously the extremism and violence of Hamas, and a story of how a renowned jurist and member of the Jewish community allowed himself to be used by enemies of the Jewish state.”
Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, said Goldstone “was misled by an orchestrated campaign led by powerful NGOs” and that the so-called ‘evidence’ provided by these groups was at the core of the political war against Israel. Goldstone was taken in by crude manipulation.”
World Jewish Congress Chair Evelyn Sommer called on the United Nations to recognize Goldstone’s retraction and “to revise the report issued by the U.N. that did immeasurable harm and damage to the State of Israel.”
“It is high time that the United Nations, which gives much lip service to the concept of reform of the world body, re-evaluate its methods of reporting and documentation of investigations such as that of Israel’s Operation in Gaza of 2
JTA Wire Service
More on: Israel launching drive to void Goldstone Report
New York, NY, April 2, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today reacted to an opinion article by Richard Goldstone in which he retracts the central findings of the Goldstone Commission Report, the product of a United Nations Human Rights Council-mandated investigation he led into Israel’s 2009 Operation in Gaza.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
Richard Goldstone’s astonishing article in The Washington Post saying he is now rescinding his charge in the UN report that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in the Gaza war is both gratifying and distressing.
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Facebook and Zuckerberg does an about-face and deletes Palestinian page calling for a Third Intifada
Following widespread criticism, a Facebook page calling for a third Palestinian intifada against Israel was removed on March 29. On the Facebook page, Palestinians were urged to launch street protests following Friday May 15 and begin an uprising as modelled by similar uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan. Killing Jews en masse was emphasized.
According to the Facebook page, “Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews.” The page had more than 340,000 fans. However, even while the page was removed, a new page now exists in its place with the same name, “Third Palestinian Intifada.”
“As recently demonstrated, social networks can be used to overthrow governments, for good or bad, and even destabilize entire regions. Prominent social networks like Facebook can no longer afford to remain neutral as it relates to Israel’s right to exist. Therefore I appreciate their stand against violent and growing anti-Semitism,” Dave McQuade, founder of MediaReallyMatters.com, said.
Abraham Foxman, National Director for the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement, “Facebook’s decision to remove the cause page calling for a “Third Palestinian Intifada” is a welcome development. We applaud Facebook’s willingness to continue to engage and consider this important question and we deeply appreciate their responsiveness.
By taking this action, Facebook has now recognized an important standard to be applied when evaluating issues of non-compliance with its terms of service involving distinctions between incitement to violence and legitimate calls for collective expressions of opinion and action. As it continues to monitor its pages, Facebook should be able to apply this standard in response to complaints about other pages with similar content. We hope that they will continue to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.”
Foxman had earlier filed an official complaint against Facebook for allowing the page to remain up. Foxman said last week, “We should not be so naïve to believe that a campaign for a ‘Third Intifada’ does not portend renewed violence, especially in the current climate that has seen a dramatic increase in rocket attacks from Gaza, the brutal murder of the Fogel family in the West Bank, and a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem.” Foxman had called upon Facebook to drop the controversial page on March 25, but got no response. In a statement, the ADL declared then “We are disappointed that Facebook has rejected our request to remove this site, which is in clear violation of their terms of service.”
In addition, Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli-Yoel Edelstein wrote a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, warning that the page includes calls to kill Jews and to liberate Jerusalem through violence. According to Edelstein’s letter, the Facebook page in question violates Facebook content regulations. Facebook has not released an official response to the Israeli government’s request or the ADL statement.
However, a Facebook spokesperson did respond last week to criticism. According to Bloomberg News Service, Facebook spokeswoman Debbie Frost said in an emailed response, “While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone - criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example—that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion.” Reportedly, Frost added, “We strongly believe that Facebook users have the ability to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or Pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.” Much attention was focused on Facebook in the run-up to dictator Hosni Mubarak’s fall from grace in Egypt, as Net-savvy young activists spread the word on the website announcing protests and posting news, photos, and video. A declaration on the Facebook page calling for mass murder on May 15 stated that if Facebook dared block the page, “all Muslims will boycott Facebook forever.”
A Washington, DC, based constitutional advocacy group the American Center for Law and Justice, issued a statement syaing, “We applaud Facebook’s decision to remove the ‘Third Intifada’ group.” Jordan Sekulow, Director of International Operations for the ACLJ, continued, “While the access to freedom of speech, association, and political organization that Facebook provides to many who live under oppressive regimes has already proven to be world-changing, there is no need to accommodate those who actively seek to organize terrorist acts.”
In acknowledging the power of the Internet today, Sekulow said, “We know that terrorists have recognized the power of Facebook, and now we know that Facebook will work aggressively to prevent its platform from being used for these purposes while simultaneous protecting the rights so fundamental to mankind.”
Cutting Edge Correspondent Martin Barillas also edits Speroforum.com.
More on: Facebook and Zuckerberg does an about-face and deletes Palestinian page calling for a Third Intifada
New York, NY, March 29, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the decision by Facebook to remove an anti-Israel cause page calling for a “Third Palestinian Intifada” against the state of Israel and urged the social networking site to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.
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