Commentators give a mixed reaction

By Jennifer Lipman, April 7, 2011

Judge Goldstone's mea culpa has met with contrasting reactions.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Just Journalism director Michael Weiss noted that the recantation was akin to Karl Marx declaring that capitalism is "where it's at".

While he praised Goldstone's candour for acknowledging that Israel had not deliberately targeted civilians, he said: "For two years, this document has served as a byword for rogue statehood, a cudgel taken up not only by rabid anti-Zionists but by seemingly dispassionate observers of human rights and international law to further Israel's delegitimisation."

Alan Aziz, chief executive of the Zionist Federation, said the mainstream media "who all went to great lengths to report on the original report" had failed to cover the reversal with the same zeal.

"This type of selective reporting highlights the manner in which Israel is singled out for special and biased treatment," he said.

Guardian and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland used Judge Goldstone's remarks to point out that the "wider and deeper problem" of the UN Human Rights Council was its "belief that no country in the world behaves worse or matters more" than Israel".

Writing that the original indictment of the IDF as guilty of "willful killings" was "an international mark of Cain on Israel's forehead", he highlighted the lack of a Goldstone Report into deaths in places from the Congo to the Ivory Coast and Darfur.

But across the page in an editorial, the newspaper argued that the judge's comments neither changed what had happened in Gaza, nor what would occur "the next time war breaks out".

Noting that Judge Goldstone's colleagues had disagreed with their former chairman's "change of heart", the Guardian said: "Indiscriminate warfare, as opposed to deliberate killing, was undoubtedly state policy."

Other detractors included Amnesty International, who accused Israel of "deliberate misinterpretation" of Judge Goldstone's statements. It said: "The international community must firmly reject these attempts to escape accountability and act decisively for international justice."

For others, the point was not whether Judge Goldstone was right or wrong to make his comments, but why he had felt the need to do so

"The charges levelled by the Goldstone report were extremely tough - tough enough to help reframe the Israeli-Palestinian debate around the world," said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial.

"If any of them were wrong, then Goldstone owes the world a detailed explanation so that the truth can be revealed."

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) called for the judge to apologise and for the UN to formally revise the report.

Last updated: 2:10pm, April 7 2011