J Street Lauds Goldstone for Retracting Claims of Israel's Gaza War Crimes

The Jewish American lobby never took sides regarding the Goldstone report, says it shared South African judge's belief that Israel deserves credit for launching internal probes.

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The dovish Jewish-American lobby J Street on Monday lauded South African Judge Richard Goldstones op-ed in The Washington Post I which he voiced regret about blaming Israel for the intentional targeting of civilians in the report he authored on the Gaza war.

"J Street welcomes Judge Richard Goldstones op-ed in The Washington Post this weekend and his conclusion, based on evidence from Israels investigations into allegations of misconduct in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, that 'civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.'" J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.

J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami.Credit: Alon Ron

Writing in a Washington Post column published on Friday, Goldstone noted Israeli efforts to investigate wrongdoings by soldiers and commanders during the Gaza war, saying that war crime allegations against Israel would have been influenced by the evidence provided by such probes.

"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 UN Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report," Goldstone wrote, adding: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

While Israel has shown to probe itself "to a significant degree" over Gaza war actions, Goldstone wrote, Hamas, who has been in control of the coastal enclave since 2007, "has done nothing."

Ben-Ami noted that although J Street never took a position supporting or opposing the Goldstone Report, the Israel Defense Forces internal investigations into some of the charges related to Operation Cast Lead should have been acknowledged in Goldstone's report and commended him for acknowledging that.

"We share Judge Goldstones belief that Israel deserves credit from the international community for launching these investigations and further that Hamas should be strongly condemned for its failure to address the charges against it in any way. We hope Israel will vigorously pursue and complete the inquiries it has begun and that it will do so in an open and public way," Ben-Ami added.

Following goldstone's op-ed, Israeli leaders immediately called on the United Nations and international institutions to cancel the damning report.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the entire report be annulled and assigned National Security Adviser Ya'akov Amidror to set up a joint team of staff from the Foreign, Defense and Justice Ministries with the task of formulating political and legal recommendations following Goldstone's article.

Foreign Ministry sources however said that in the best of circumstances, it might be possible for the UN General Assembly to adopt a new resolution concluding that an earlier resolution, passed a year ago, which fully adopted the Goldstone Report, is no longer valid.

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