22 January 2012

Judge Goldstone: From Zero to Hero…or vice versa

An interesting one, this. It comes from UNWatch (which carries broadly the same watching brief on the UN that CiFWatch does on The Guardian's Comment is Free online blog) and, from the title, you'd think it was quite innocuous. It says that the column is a correction as to their reports on one William Schabas (of whom I was ignorant until I read this) and Judge Richard Goldstone. William Schabas is, variously, Chair of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Associate Professor at the University of Middlesex and the same at Quebec University. He also holds degrees in History and Law from a variety of prestigious universities. So, he's no slouch, then. Oops, nearly forgot: he's also a 'door tenant' at barristers chambers in London. So he really is no slouch.

Anyway, if you read the UNWatch article, you'll see that they said, back when Goldstone retracted most, if not all, of his criticism of Israel and the IDF, that Schabas had turned on his 'good friend' Richard Goldstone when he retracted. This Schabas denied, so UNWatch "corrected" their earlier comments by noting what he did say, which was (in this article) that "when Goldstone retracted the core charge of the report, Schabas was among the first to respond, adopting a different tone toward his friend. He now accused Goldstone of being “certainly more indulgent towards Israel.”" (There's an internal link in the article to a fuller version of what Schabas said). However, they are much more forthright (which is a very British way of saying rude) about Roger Cohen and Richard Falk and their reactions to Goldstone's retraction, with links to their sayings.

By the way, if you'd like to read more examples of "very British" ways of insulting people, you might like to go (he said, very immodestly) to my review of Benny Morris's book "One State, Two States". The examples are Morris's. You can find it here. Should you do so, please note my comment at the end of paragraph 5 of the review. I'd be interested to hear what your answer to the sum might be.

By Brian Goldfarb.