I recently saw an excellent film called American Violet, a true story about an honest single African-American mother wrongly accused and arrested for dealing drugs in a small town in Texas. Basically the local sheriff would go into the African-American neighbourhood once a year or so with a huge array of armed police and arrest a large chunk of the local population. A local informant would be found who would 'finger' people who broke the law - in return for being exempt - and then using his list, lots of people would be arrested and quickly tried. They would be given the choice of a plea bargain or an extrenely draconian sentence, so most pleaded guilty: especially single mothers facing loss of their children like our heroine.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) was looking to put an end to this racist method of keeping the peace but couldn't do anything because most people were pleading guilty or were involved in illegal acts. In this case they found a woman who had been falsely accused (the snitch was influenced by her ex-husband) and willing to fight so their (Jewish) lawyer took the case to court. Its a great story.
How does this relate to the Goldstone report? Well, the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Committee) which appointed Goldstone, was created in 2006 and is dominated by African and Arab countries. It mostly just discusses anything Israel does and has worked to downgrade monitoring of human rights abuses in Congo and Sudan, countries where Genocide and mass-rape are currently taking place. The UNHRC employs a full time investigator for the Palestinian territories (but for nowhere else), a man who believes the 9/11 was a US government conspiracy.
To prevent the report on the Gaza conflict from being ignored, the UNHRC found a radical Jewish human rights advocate (Goldstone), who is genuinely interested in human rights but tends to assume the worst where Israel is concerned.
So the UNHRC acted like the racist district attorney in American Violet. They assumed that Israel was guilty and sent in a big team. The jury inevitably agrees. The Jewish state looks to the UN like a large black man with an afro in a Texas court room. The sentencing is draconian and Israel has the option to plead guilty or get involved in a difficult fight. Were crimes committed? Possibly. Would anybody else be investigated for them? No.
Here in Israel we have many organizations and decent people - like Goldstone - dedicated to ensuring we respect human rights. That is the way things should be. Problem is that in their anxiousness to ensure that Israel adhere to human rights they have aided the UNHRC whose members are not interested in human rights: that is to say they are concerned with Palestinian human rights: but not universal human rights. Certainly not Israeli human rights.
Needless to say by the time I have something to say about the Goldstone report, it is old news. Even so, and despite the fact that I haven't read the report, I thought I would put my thoughts down on paper the screen, perhaps also to explain why I haven't read it.
My feeling is that organizations who wish to ensure that Israel adhere to human rights should take into account the nature of those they are working with. Human rights are universal and all humans are entitled to them, but either you protect them universally or you only protect those who share a commitment to universal human rights. To only protect those who do not share that belief is to undermine human rights.