By Shimon Peres (from Ha’aretz).

South African jurist Richard Goldstone lambasted President Shimon Peres on Thursday for a personal attack on him, which the president launched in response to a damning report he compiled on the Israel’s winter offensive in Gaza.

“I would say that the President’s comments are specious and ill-befitting the Head of the State of Israel,” Goldstone said in an interview with Haaretz.


The jurist was referring to comments Peres made on Wednesday to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during a meeting in Brasilia.

Peres told his Brazilian counterpart that, “Goldstone is a small man, devoid of any sense of justice, a technocrat with no real understanding of jurisprudence.”

It’s not okay for Israel’s president to speak that way about Goldstone. Even if Goldstone made serious errors, including the serious mistake of taking on leadership of this inquiry and then maybe letting Israel’s avoidance of his commission anger him when he should have been entirely impartial, this criticism by Peres is over-the-top and unwarranted. It’s one thing to say, “I disagree with the way he went about this as well as his conclusions,” and it’s entirely different to personally attack him as somebody with no sense of justice or jurisprudence.

It’s also stupid to attack him this way because it takes away attention from valid criticism of the Report and Goldstone’s choices in the report and turns that attention to whether people are insulting Goldstone unfairly or not.

Peres should apologize so the world and Israel can deal with the critical issues at hand.

Other Jewlicious articles on Goldstone:

Dore Gold and Richard Goldstone Debate

Goldstone interviewed by Moyers

It’s About Time Somebody Said Something – things that might be of interest to Goldstone

Forward editorial about Goldstone

Goldstone on the Media Trail

Ken Roth of HRW dukes it out with international jurist Irwin Cotler

Goldstone Report Released

Why the Goldstone Commission is Tarnished

About the author



  • I’m taking a break from this site again. We haven’t learned a thing from the Shoah.

  • As presonal attacks go, this one is unusually unconvincing; you’d think Peres would know better. Unfortunately, this whole matter is taking on the character of a protracted cause celebre in which no one gets to move on. Perhaps both sides have an interest in such a result.

  • Muffti has to agree – ad hominem attacks are the mark of refusing to take something seriously, when it ought to be taken seriously.

  • I think Peres is just fed up. He truly believed in Oslo and then in the disengagement, and now he is seeing that there is just nothing Israel can do that is right in the eyes of this unjust world. How many times did we hear “after we leave Gaza, if they launch even one rocket!” and “the international community will definitely support our right to self defense once we leave every inch of Gaza.”

    I also think it is kind of pathetic how Goldstone is on a PR tour now, with the first stop being at Al Jazeera and then afterwards to this day, every sympathetic media outlet there is. Every time I turn on the TV there he is. I think this report is more about him and his ego than anything and that is why I believe Peres attacked him directly. I’m not sure he was right to do so, but I am sure that it doesn’t really matter either way.

  • Peres is probably in disbelief that this is the fight he’s fighting after so many decades. I think you’re right that in his heart he probably truly believed that there would be peace already. Instead, Israel is seemingly treated more and more like a pariah while the military threats against it may be different but continue. Still, he is not a politician right now but the symbolic head of Israel and his words represent Israel. The fact is that Goldstone is on a public stage now and the criticism of him looks petty and uncivil.