In a spectacular reversal, this past Friday Judge Richard Goldstone published an op-ed in the Washington Post which reverses the key charge against Israel in the report about the Gaza War which bears his name. He no longer believes the blood libel put forth in his document, that Israel deliberately targeted Gaza civilians in the war, and he now believes Hamas was the war criminal.
“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 U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
When the story broke in the Washington Post, it seemed strange that Judge Goldstone would choose the D.C. paper to print his retraction. Goldstone has written op-eds in the NY Times defending his report. Others, including former President Jimmy Carter, have also filled the Times opinion pages with defenses of the Goldstone Report, so it would seem logical for the Judge to publish his retraction in the same vehicle he used for its defense.
The answer to this mystery is simple, according to Israeli Newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the New York Times was offered Goldstone’s piece first, but refused to print it.
Yedioth Ahronoth’s English Website YNet reported:
Not only did Judge Richard Goldstone’s words of regret fail to match the global resonance of his original report, it now comes to light that one of the most important newspapers in the world refused to publish his retraction.
Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday that a source close to Goldstone stated that in the past few days the judge had approached the editor of the New York Times opinion pages requesting to post the article he wrote in the paper – and was told his article was rejected.
Has the New York Times sunk so low that it refuses to allow someone to correct a report that resulted in violent incitement against Israel? Ynet’s source in the Goldstone camp believes it so:
The editor gave no explanation as to why the article was rejected, but the source believes this was due to the newspaper’s political agenda.
The letter was ultimately published in the more conservative Washington Post over the weekend.
The New York Times said in response that they do not comment on the editorial or reporting process. In recent years the New York Times adopted a highly critical line of reporting towards Israel. Lately, its senior commentator Thomas Friedman has been publishing extremely aggressive articles against Israel and its current government.
The NY Times political agenda was also evident in its coverage of the Goldstone op-ed. The “Gray Lady” does its best to deny that Israel has a right to defend itself against the false charges that it targeted civilians and tries to perpetuate the blood libel charges in the repudiated Goldstone Report. Its article called Israel Grapples With Retraction on U.N. Report, the Times begins with:
grappled on Sunday with whether a retraction by a investigator regarding its actions in the war two years ago could be used to rehabilitate its tarnished international image or as pre-emptive defense in future military actions against armed groups.
Why not begin by saying that Goldstone recanted on his central charge against Israel. Why would it talk about a pre-emptive defense? The fact is the charge of Israel targeting civilians was false. If the New York Times was unfairly charged with a serious crime and then cleared, it would try to spread the news loudly and broadly, why is it news that Israel is trying to get the word out? Maybe because the Times doesn’t believe the retraction. It believed and printed all of the other articles written by Judge Goldstone, but then again those articles made Israel look bad.
Another NY Times article, Head of U.N. Panel Regrets Saying Israel Intentionally Killed Gazans described the effect of the Goldstone Report as:
Mr. Goldstone’s article fell like a bomb in Israel, where many people considered the 2009 publication of the Goldstone report as one of the most harmful events in recent years. It was viewed as offering spurious justification for damaging accusations, which Israelis considered to be part of a campaign to delegitimize the state and label it as a war criminal.
As if the Times was saying being accused of being a civilian-targeting pariah nation in a United Nations report wasn’t really so bad, but Israelis overreacted.
The Times was also quick to mitigate Goldstone’s retraction with statements alluding to what seems to be their opinion that Israel was guilty anyway:
Israel carried out its military campaign after years of rocket fire by Palestinian militants in Gaza against southern Israel. As many as 1,400 Gazans were killed during the three-week offensive in December 2008 and January 2009, including hundreds of civilians. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.
The Times is downplaying the 5,000+ projectiles sent by Hamas terrorists into Israel. First of all, they weren’t sent into “southern Israel,” they were sent into communities, where families lived, in fact often those rockets were targeted toward schools.
The paper is also ignoring that Hamas fires its missiles from land that Israel pulled out of years before. In its editorials, the Times keeps calling for additional Israeli concessions while refusing to recognize that Israel’s major unilateral concession in 2005, withdrawing from Gaza, was greeted with a rocket barrage that continues through today.
As far as the difference in death counts, many times more Iraqis were killed in the War in Iraq than Americans. Does that make the US war criminals? Of course not!
During the invasion, graphic images of human suffering were broadcast around the world, and after the fighting ended, the United Nations Human Rights Council asked Mr. Goldstone, who is Jewish, to head an investigation into Israel’s actions. He said he would do so on the condition that he could broaden his mandate to include Hamas’s conduct as well.
Here the Times is indicating that graphic images of suffering is proof of Israel’s guilt. Pictures are selected by editors and can be just as biased as the articles. And the Gray Lady was biased in its picture selection. For example, few saw the pictures of the rockets landing in Sderot because the suffering they brought was largely ignored by the Times, the same way the paper ignored the Holocaust while it was happening. Maybe the NY Times doesn’t believe that Jews can suffer.
The fact that Goldstone has retracted his main charge doesn’t stop them from informing readers that groups not involved in the report are still calling for action taken against Israel:
In February, a group of Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups asked the United Nations Human Rights Council to take further action on the Goldstone report’s findings to ensure justice for the war’s victims.
But if there was no crime there should be no action, but the New York Times “forgets” that part,
The New York Times forgets lots of facts, and refuses to publish facts that hurt its anti-Israel agenda. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good blood libel.