Selective Justice: Israel & Sudan?

August 13, 2009

I thought the letter below, published in Business Day today, so interesting, because in substance it is exactly the same argument being marshalled by Omar-al-Bashir of Sudan and his supporters against the International Criminal Court and its indictment of him — essentially, that the court pursues a vendetta against Sudan and its leadership, that it is anti-African, etc.

But if the supporters of Israel’s leadership and those of Sudan’s leadership each believe that they are uniquely being persecuted through the architecture of the international human rights system, there may be no surer sign that they aren’t.

The folly of Goldstone

Published: 2009/08/13 08:47:40 AM

 Judge Richard Goldstone is mistaken, letting an intellectual arrogance get the better of him, if he thinks he can produce and have released an unbiased report on the Israeli Gaza operation for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) (Goldstone walks a fine line in an ancient war zone, August 4). Both Mary Robinson and Martti Ahtisaari were right to run a mile, and so should Judge Goldstone as his first reaction informed him.

Every experienced businessman knows not to contract with a crook, since no amount of legal drafting or brain power will save him, and the UNHRC is just that: a crooked enterprise with no integrity whatsoever. Notwithstanding its high-sounding name, it is just another UN-sponsored front against Israel, as the 26 motions of censure against Israel out of only 32 since its inception in June 2006 seem to prove.

In between opening statements, motions to censure Israel, five-star lunches in Geneva, more motions to censure Israel, and tea, there is precious little time left for the commissioner to deal with its purported aim, “to defy racism in all its manifestations”.

The fact that it wants a report on the Gaza operation in the first place should be enough to give the game away, the more so when the resolution is obviously biased and loaded: “To investigate violations of international human rights by the occupying power .”

Judge Goldstone is surprised that Israel, clearly more street-wise than he, will not co-operate, and will soon find to his chagrin that the assurances he received from the president of the council (gentleman to gentleman) will mean nothing when his report is dissected and selectively quoted to prove that Israel, to the exclusion of every other nation, abuses human rights.

 Perhaps Judge Goldstone should have looked into the wider picture to see how he is being used, since any report, however narrowly unbiased, can only present a biased outcome in the context that only Israel is being investigated following violence, and not Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burma, Sudan or a dozen others. Any negative findings, even if fair criticism, will therefore be trumpeted as proof that Israel is a unique abuser of human rights.

 The reason Judge Goldstone submitted for allowing Christine Chinkin, who has already prejudicially declared Israel “in breach of international law”, to stand as one of his mission members was mealy-mouthed, unbecoming, and distinctly unjudgelike, and perhaps indicates that he has ignored the obvious dangers in an overwhelming desire to head this mission, perhaps convinced that he can outsmart the professional Israel haters at the UN.

Sydney Kaye

Cape Town





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