It is was no surprise to learn today that the other members of the United Nations panel that issued the Goldstone Report disagree with their chairman’s decision to disavow the panel’s main accusation against Israel. Like many of those who applauded a report that was filled with lies and half truths, Hina Jilani of Pakistan, Desmond Travers of Ireland, and Christine Chinkin of Great Britain are too committed to the notion that Israel’s efforts to stop Hamas terrorist attacks is inherently illegitimate to take an honest second look at their work. In a statement issued to the Guardian today, the trio rejected Richard Goldstone’s retraction as well as the justified demands put forth by the report’s critics that it be disavowed by the United Nations panel that sponsored it.
In their statement, the group defends the one-sided nature of their screed by merely saying that theirs was not a judicial proceeding. They also claimed that they had been subjected to “extraordinary pressure,” but avowed they had too much “integrity” to back away from their unfounded and scurrilous charges aimed at Israel. Left to inference is their suggestion that Goldstone has compromised his integrity by caving to such pressure.
But aside from their disingenuous defense of the report, what the trio’s statement really lacks is transparency. While they claim to be impartial, Jilani, Travers and Chinkin all signed open letters accusing Israel of “war crimes” long before the panel began to deliberate in 2009. A majority of this supposedly unbiased jury that calls itself a “committee of independent experts” had already decided on the outcome of the investigation before it began. All three are ardent foes of Israel and have deemed virtually any Israeli measures of self-defense against Palestinian terror as out of bounds.
It is difficult to accept Goldstone’s non-apologetic apology for his part in the panel’s farrago of lies in which he stated that “had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” Perhaps he really was as ignorant of the nature of Hamas as he claims to be and has since understood his mistake. But what is clearer than ever is that the choice of Goldstone, a South African Jew, to head the panel, was a thinly veiled attempt at concealing the bias of the other three members. If his intention was to balance their malice for the Jewish state, he failed miserably.
But as dismal as Goldstone’s failure was, the refusal of these newspapers to balance their coverage of the controversy with the truth about the prejudices of the other three panel members is an unforgivable lapse of journalistic ethics.