The primary author of the recently released UN Report on Gaza, the internationally respected jurist Richard Goldstone, has been attacked by establishment voices within the Jewish community. When those within a community try to “excommunicate” and dishonor a truth-teller, it is our obligation and responsibility to speak out vehemently on their behalf and on behalf of the truth they bring.
By all accounts, Judge Goldstone, who has a deep connection to Israel, approached his task with no pre-conceptions about what he and his team would find as they investigated the circumstances and aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Goldstone is a former South African constitutional law court judge who also served as a prosecutor of the Yugoslav and Rwandan war crimes tribunals. His credentials for this task are impeccable.
For following where the truth led him and releasing a report detailing human rights abuses and violations of international law by Israel, as well as Hamas, Judge Goldstone should be applauded for his honesty and integrity. Instead, he and the report have been viciously and relentlessly attacked by many within the Jewish community.
When it comes to Israel, hard-core censorship and intimidation by those claiming to speak in the name of the Jewish people have been the order of the day. Our saying, "Three Jews–four opinions," reflects the traditional Jewish encouragement to argue and debate. But the reality, sadly, is that diverse opinions are welcome–except when it comes to Israel.
We must hold the Israeli government and the Jewish establishment accountable for attempting to vilify a truth-teller and for suppressing the truth about Israeli government crimes against the Palestinian people. We call upon each and every one of us to speak out at every opportunity–at our community centers and synagogues, in our homes, in the street, wherever we go.
We must demand that the truth be heard and that those claiming to speak in our name stop manipulating truths that have been well-documented for years, long before the Goldstone report. We are also appalled by the Obama Administration’s reaction to the report. We call for a fair and impartial investigation of the report’s allegations by non-military institutions in Israel. Failing that, we call for an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Let us begin the New Year in the pursuit of justice.
And that's not all:
Support for the Goldstone Report comes from a group of Rabbi’s.
"Dear Judge Goldstone,
As rabbis from diverse traditions and locations, we want to extend our warmest mazel tov to you as an elder in our community upon the bar mitzvah of your grandson. Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a call to conscience, a call to be responsible for the welfare of others, a call to fulfill the covenant of peace and justice articulated in our tradition.
As rabbis, we note the religious implications of the report you authored. We are reminded of Shimon Ben Gamliel’s quote, "The world stands on three things: justice, truth, and peace as it says ‘Execute the judgment of truth, and justice and peace will be established in your gates’ (Zekharya 8:16)." We affirm the truth of the report that bears your name.
We are deeply saddened by the controversy that has grown up around the issuing of the report. We affirm your findings and believe you set up an impeccable standard that provides strong evidence that Israel engaged in war crimes during the assault on Gaza that reveal a pattern of continuous and systematic assault against Palestinian people and land that has very little to do with Israel’s claim of security. Your report made clear the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, agricultural properties, water and sewage treatment centers and civilians themselves with deadly weapons that are illegal when used in civilian
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