April 3, 2011
Ottawa – Canada's oft-criticized rejection of the tainted United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, known as the Goldstone Report, has been vindicated.
In a Washington Post article, the report's author Justice Richard Goldstone repudiates both the report itself and its sponsor, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), for being inherently biased against Israel. In the column, Goldstone wrote: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” Referring to Israeli actions during the war, Goldstone noted that "civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy."
Goldstone goes on to praise Israel’s conduct since the operation, noting it has dedicated significant resources to investigate allegations of misconduct in Gaza. Goldstone further states that Israel has implemented numerous policy changes to limit civilian casualties, including the adoption of new military procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare. Goldstone also condemned Hamas’ use of terrorist tactics: "…that the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying – its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets."
In January 2009, Canada was the sole UNHRC member to vote against the commissioning of the Goldstone Mission. Canada also opposed the UNHRC endorsement of the report on Oct. 16, 2009.
"More than ever, we are appreciative of the principled positions adopted by the Conservative government and in particular, its unwavering and prescient opposition to the Goldstone Commission. We also note the early and unequivocal rejection of the Goldstone Commission by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, as well as Bob Rae's expression of concern once the report was issued,” said Moshe Ronen, National Chair, Canada-Israel Committee.
The Harper Government has frequently been criticized by pundits and human rights organizations for its opposition to the Goldstone Mission and report, including most recently by Amnesty International. Material by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch was frequently cited by Goldstone in his now repudiated report.
"The Goldstone Report’s slanderous allegations against Israel are now completely discredited, and our Government's position in this regard is vindicated," said Stephen Cummings, National Chair of CIJA. “We are hopeful that this key development will prompt Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to review their own reports, which will no doubt reveal a bias similar to that found in the Goldstone Report.”