Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Berkowitz and Bell Statements on the Goldstone Report

From Rick Richman, at Current Jewish Issues, "The Berkowitz and Bell Statements on the Goldstone Report -- What Justice Goldstone Heard at Stanford on March 28":
The March 28 debate on the Goldstone Report at Stanford University Law School may have had a significance beyond the substantive discussion, because Justice Richard Goldstone was in attendance and, three days after the debate, published his now-famous recantation in the Washington Post.

Set forth below, with permission, are the Opening Statements made at the debate by Peter Berkowitz and Avi Bell, followed by the Rebuttal prepared by Berkowitz with respect to the speakers who spoke in favor of the Report. The yellow highlighting is mine.

The Berkowitz and Bell statements are worth reading not only for their devastating analysis but also, given the time and place in which they were made, for the fact that some believe that they may have impacted Goldstone’s subsequent action.

RTWT at the link.

I read about this earlier, particularly Avi Bell's comments at Jerusalem Post, "Richard Goldston's Legacy."

Last Monday, I debated with Richard Goldstone about the controversial Goldstone Report at Stanford Law School. Three days later, Justice Goldstone finally admitted, in The Washington Post, that, contrary to the report’s assertions, Israel did not intentionally target civilians. A Palestinian outfit called the International Middle East Media Center carried a story this weekend lamenting that two “racist Zionists” at the debate – Peter Berkowitz and I – were responsible for convincing Goldstone of the error of his ways. Sadly, this is, at best, only partly true.

The debate at Stanford was not designed for enlightenment. Besides the moderator, there were five of us debating under a format that let Goldstone avoid responding directly. The debate had too many participants, too large a topic and too crimped a format to allow a serious probing of the report’s defects. The International Law Society, which organized the debate, tipped its hand by inviting an organization called “Students Confronting Apartheid by Israel” to cosponsor the event.

Even with the friendly format, Richard Goldstone cannot have enjoyed the criticism. As I watched him sitting through the debate stone-faced, his wife sitting next to him, and as I thought back on his lengthy resumé, I recognized the enormous tragedy of a man, once lauded as a champion of human rights, becoming a shill for a terrorist organization.

Also RTWT.

Bell thinks Goldstone's contrition insufficient, and others have called for an official apology to Israel.

Added: See also Stanley Kurtz at National Review, "Did Peter Berkowitz Change Goldstone’s Mind?"