Ayal Rosenberg wrote this in-depth article in respond to Goldstone report of war crimes in Israel
GOLDSTONE : A CRITIQUE OF SELF-APOTHEOSISAyal Rosenberg Friday, October 09, 2009
I see a spectacle so rich in meaning and so wonderfully paradoxical to boot, that it would be enough to make all the gods of Olympus rock with immortal laughter Caesar Borgia as Pope. Nietzsche (The Twilight of Idols The Anti Christ chapter 61)
INTRODUCTION Richard Goldstone published the findings of his UN Human Rights Commission investigation into the belligerency between the parties during hostilities in the recent Gaza-Israel war (December 2008 and January 2009) to a media fan-fare sensationalism has always been one of his characteristic calling cards. Time after time, Goldstone was introduced as an eminent South African jurist, as a man who fought against apartheid, as a paragon of international law and principle, a man of high credibility and high integrity1. Event the South African Zionist Federation joined in the Pied Piper procession singing the same tune. When, within the very cathedral of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, , Anne Bayefsky accused Goldstone of humbuggery, he flanked by Navi Pillay, the head of the Human Rights Commission, replied that he was used to abuse and that during apartheid whites had abused him for speaking out against apartheid injustices. Navi Pillay, an Indian who grew up in apartheid South Africa, a lawyer who had practices in South Africa during its darkest days, sat through this and kept a straight face mimicking Goldstones feigned indignation.1
According to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1254861899900&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
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In 1980, when Goldstone was appointed an apartheid judge, I was about to enter the Wits law school, where Goldstone himself had learned law. I was taught law by the likes Professor Dugard, Justice Edwin Cameron, Professor Van der Vyfer and Professor David Dyzenhaus to name a few. I had been taught exactly what apartheid was and who apartheid judges were. The specter of Richard Goldstone preening to the world media as a man of principle, as man demanding accountability, as a bulwark against apartheid is slap in the face to every victim of apartheid, living or dead. Goldstone claims, over and over (the scale and frequency of self adulation in itself should set off alarm bells) that his report is all about accountability for crimes against humanity and the integrity of international humanitarian law. This is a subterfuge coming from a subtle and fraudulent apartheid judge. As far as Goldstone is concerned the report, as everything else in his life, is about self: self-conceit; self-aggrandizement; self-praise; self-righteousness; selfworth; self-adulation and, most importantly, self-promotion. I would not have written this article if my sole purpose was to expose Goldstone. A man of his ilk is not worth my time of day. On the other hand, without accountability from the perpetrators of human right abuses there will never be respect for human rights. The UN Human Rights Council is the appropriate institution to demand such accountability. But if apartheid taught me anything and I lived through it when Goldstone lived off it - it was that respected institutions can be infiltrated by ideologues. Justice is then defined and applied from the very pulpit of such institutions by the unscrupulous, the ambitious, the racist and even the psychopathic. Under apartheid the rule of law was hijacked by brutality, the courts dispensed2 -A CRITIQUE OF SELF-APOTHEOSIS -
discrimination in the name of justice and the judges who applied this law, who, especially in the Appellate Division, were the spear tip in the heart of apartheids victims, masqueraded as paragons of virtue. When viewed from this perspective it became clear to me that it was not so much the culpability of either the Palestinians or the Israelis which was worrying but rather the obscenity of man like Richard Goldstone presiding over enquiries into crimes against humanity and at the same time demanding accountability. By shifting the focus I do not want to exonerate either the Israelis or the Palestinians for possible crimes against humanity. Indeed, such culpability should be investigated and vigorously prosecuted if there is evidence of such crimes, not only in the Israeli Palestinian conflict but in all conflicts. Human right violations should not be subject to super-power vetoes or Human Right Council majorities or political agendas. Most importantly, the investigators of such violations should at the very least be moral men and women and not moralists. Under no circumstances should an investigation into possible human rights abuses be conducted by a man who is himself guilty of the very crimes he is investigating. If a man like Goldstone can head a Human Rights Commission, if he can become a prosecutor of war crimes at the behest of the International Criminal Court, then human rights becomes a weapon in the hands of its worst abusers. I am making a few fundamental assumptions. Apartheid was a crime against humanity; like Nazism and Stalinism, it polluted language and law lending an aura of respectability to the despicable thereby facilitating willing and unwilling obedience to the criminal. The enablers of3 -A CRITIQUE OF SELF-APOTHEOSIS -
atrocity are the banal, the ordinary, the uninspiring drab and dull men. Alain Finkelkraut has observed: But the true executors of the holocaust, making it possible despite its enormity, were the farthest things from perverts: they were model functionaries. Think of Eichmann or Rudolph Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz: while the Jews new barbarism only by its beastly face and still expected violent rage, these bureaucrats dispatched their victims with a ferocity that was neutral, administrative, dispassionate and routineIt was the banalization of the crime that was inconceivable: the dull, methodical and continuous terror that the Nazis were about to make them endureIn fact the most pitiless acts of inhumanity were committed by the most utterly ordinary men.2 Lastly, the crime of apartheid would not have been possible without a willing and compliant bureaucracy; the higher up the servant of the apartheid state bureaucracy, the greater his or her contribution to perpetuating the crime. At the pinnacle of the apartheid bureaucracy, giving it the aura of legitimacy it required for its very life breath, were the judges and especially the Appellate Court judge. Time, gullibility, ignorance, sensation, political, religious and personal agenda, and, most tragic of all, abuse of Nelson Mandelas magnanimous gesture of forgiveness, has allowed for the revision of history, indeed for its reversal. I will therefore spell out the historical evidence and the legal precedent. Given the gullibility, maybe ignorance, of no less than the like of the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt the facts need repeating.
The Imaginary Jew pg 48-9
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Before proceeding to the evidence and the law I must dispose of a seeming anomaly: the notion that a perceived champion of human rights, a man who was a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, a man who sits on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, cannot in reality be a systematic abuser of human rights and a perpetrator of crimes against humanity. Major General Iona Timofeevich Nikitchenko presided over Stalins show trials during the Terror of 1936-1938. According to estimates made by Robert Conquest3 (which were subsequently vindicated by the opening of the Soviet Union archives), Nikitchenko adjudicated a process in which there were 7 million arrests, 1 million executions, 8 million banishments to camps and 2 million deaths in pensal camps. This same Nikitchenko was one of the drafters of the London Charter that set up the Nuremberg process. Moreover, Nikitchenko was an eminent, respected, illustrious Judge at Nuremberg with high integrity and high respectability. Tzvetan Todorov has commented: It is true that at the Nuremberg trials Stalins representatives sat in judgment over Hitlers colleagues: a particular obscene situation, since the judges were guilty of crimes as horrible as those of the accused.4 NUREMBERG The criminal culpability for crimes against humanity of judges enforcing law within an organized system of injustice was established in The Justice Case of the Nuremberg Trials:
The Great Terror pg 485 Home and Memory: Reflections on the Twentieth Century pg 207
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United State of America vs. Alsotter et al5. The movie Judgment At Nuremberg was based on this trial. The Justice Trial was against sixteen defendants, all judges or judicial officers who served at the behest of the Third Reich. Ten of the defendants were convicted for crimes against humanity, and four were acquitted, one died before the verdict was handed down and there was one mistrial. Relevant portions of the indictment read as follows: Between September 1939 and April 1945 all of the defendants herein unlawfully, willfully and knowingly committed crimes against humanity as defined by Control Council Law 10, in that they were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the commission of atrocities and offenses, including but not limited to murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, illegal imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, ill treatment of and other inhumane acts against German civilians and nationals of occupied countries.
3 TWC 1 (1948), 6 LRTWC 1 (1948), 14 Ann Dig. 278 (1948)). The entire court protocol and decision is available online at http://www.mazal.org/archive/nmt/03/NMT03-T0001.htm to http://www.mazal.org/ar