Very well done editorial about Goldstone, his report and the implications for Israel by the folks over at The Forward.

When he spoke with our Gal Beckerman on October 2, Goldstone took pains to characterize his mission for the U.N. Human Rights Council as purely fact-finding, gathering information that would later be evaluated and tested. A useful road map for further investigations, he said. It was almost as if he were trying to frame the 575-page report as a brief that members of the international community could look at and decide for themselves whether further action was warranted.

“We had to do the best we could with the material we had,” he said during the interview. “If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.”

And: “I wouldn’t consider it in any way embarrassing if many of the allegations turn out to be disproved.”

Nothing proven? Allegations? The air of tentativeness that hung over Goldstone’s remarks that day was surely missing from the stark and disturbing legal conclusions in the report, in which Israel was told flat out that it had violated international law by targeting civilians — “the people of Gaza as a whole.”

Nor is there anything tentative about Goldstone’s words in a New York Times opinion article published after the report was released, in which he wrote, “Repeatedly, the Israel Defense Forces failed to adequately distinguish between combatants and civilians, as the laws of war strictly require.”

It is difficult to know what to make of these contradictory statements, except that it’s obvious Goldstone is trying to climb down from the dangerous perch he had built.

Read it all.

Also at the Forward, there’s a discussion of the JFNA Jewish Community Heroes competition where our own Rabbi Yonah Bookstein was the top vote-getter. Apparently some people are upset that an online competition had people using a variety of online tools to get votes. Other people are more upset that there are so many Chabadniks among the finalists. People should stop being upset and should be pretty glad that this competition was an unqualified success.

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