Sunday, October 25, 2009

Judge Richard Goldstone

A fascinating interview of Judge Richard Goldstone by Bill Moyers. Judge Richard Goldstone was chosen by the United Nations to investigate "Operation Cast Lead," the Israeli attack on Gaza. His report found Israel guilty of war crimes and some actions which could amount to crimes against humanity. Judge Goldstone says some remarkable things:
These attacks amounted to reprisals and collective punishment, and constitute war crimes. The government of Israel obviously has a duty to protect its own citizens. That in no way justifies a policy of collective punishment of a people under effective occupation, destroying their means to live a dignified life and the trauma caused by the kind of military intervention the Israeli government called Operation Cast Lead.
[later in the interview...]
Well, I saw the destruction of the only flour-producing factory in Gaza. I saw fields plowed up by Israeli tank bulldozers. I saw chicken farms, for egg production, completely destroyed. Tens of thousands of chickens killed. I met with families who lost their loved ones in homes in which they were seeking shelter from the Israeli ground forces. I had to have the very emotional and difficult interviews with fathers whose little daughters were killed, whose family were killed. One family, over 21 members, killed by Israeli mortars. So, it was a very difficult investigation, which will give me nightmares for the rest of my life.
[later in the interview...]
You know, one thing one can't say about the Israel Defense Forces is that they make too many mistakes. They're very, a sophisticated army. And if they attack a mosque or attack a factory, and over 200 factories were bombed, there's just no basis to ascribe that to error. That must be intentional.
[later in the interview...]
No, no. On the contrary, I was struck by the warmth of the people, that we met and who we dealt with in Gaza. You know, my fears were put aside. When I went back for the second visit to Gaza, I went with a much more equanimity and level of acceptance.
[later in the interview...]
Which is a form of racism. Why should my being Jewish stop me from investigating Israel? I just don't see it. I think a friend should be open to criticism from friends.
It is amazing to hear someone speak with such passion for the truth and justice.

You can watch the whole interview, online at PBS.

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