The United Nations General Assembly yesterday afternoon approved the Goldstone report, which alleges that both the IDF and Hamas committed war crimes in Gaza last winter, but the debate over the report started up again almost immediately at Brandeis University, where jurist Richard Goldstone and Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, argued over whether the report was fair to Israel. it was the first public confrontation between Goldstone and a former representative of the Israeli government, and hundreds of students, professors, and community members packed a Brandeis auditorium, the Boston Globe reported
Goldstone argued that Israel was entitled, under international law, to defend its citizens against Hamas rocket fire, Ynet reports. But, he said, “the strategy adopted by the Defense Ministry”—which involved attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure—“is against international law…. Why did they have to bomb the mosque? Why did they have to bomb the American school? Why did they have to attack the [United Nations] compound?” Gold countered that civilians and their infrastructure were not intentionally targeted; rather, he said, because Hamas infiltrates the civilian population, attacks on that population were not disproportionate. “There’s no question there was enormous damage in Gaza,” he said, according to the Globe. “But why doesn’t Hamas appear as a responsible party for what happened? Who booby-trapped the buildings in Gaza? Who launched an eight-year war against Israel?”
The crowd was respectful, clapping for both debaters, the Globe said, and laughter broke out when Goldstone recalled the nightmares he had before entering Gaza to conduct the report, in which “Hamas would kidnap me, and the Israelis would rejoice.”
Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.