Since Richard Goldstone published his semi-apology for the United Nations Goldstone Report on Gaza, there have been lots of suggestions about what ought to happen next with Goldstone and his voluminous, pro-terrorist, anti-Israel 2009 report. The UN ought to retract it, but won’t. Goldstone wrote that if he’d known then what he knows now, “The Goldstone Report would have been a different document” — but it isn’t. And in testimony last week to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, professed a desire to just have the whole thing go away: “We would, frankly, as I said, like to see this entire Goldstone proposition disappear.”
But it’s not disappearing. In the court of world opinion, the Goldstone Report gave a big boost to the Iranian-backed rocket-launching Palestinian terrorists who rule Gaza, and did tremendous harm to the UN’s favorite target — Israel. When Goldstone presented his findings to the UN Human Rights Council, publicly denigrating as “pusillanimous” the Israeli conduct that with hindsight he now finds reasonable, he set in motion various UN follow-ups configured to hammer away yet further at Israel. Three of his former fellow UN panelists are now clamoring for that hammering to continue.
Goldstone did not create the bigotry, rigged inquiry processes, and double standards that bedevil the UN. But he led the Gaza inquiry and give his name to a report that amplifies some of the most vile aspects of the world’s leading multilateral institution (even he refers to his Gaza product as the Goldstone Report, though its official title is “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”).
What’s to be done? Well, Goldstone has, in his way, set a standard so abysmal that it might actually be turned to good use. If he really wants to make amends, perhaps he’d be willing to lend his name to establish a rating system for bigotry at the UN? It could be called the Goldstone Standard, employed as a sort of reverse Michelin Guide to UN bias (no offense meant here to the Michelin Guide).
How could this work? Instead of the usual hunt for adjectives to describe the UN’s outpouring of anti-democratic, anti-American, and, especially, anti-Semitic reports, resolutions, statements, conference programs, and so forth, how about quantifying this prejudice into units, called Goldstones. From there, just assign any relevant UN product a Goldstone rating, say, from one Goldstone to five — with one being relatively run-of-the-mill UN anti-Semitism, and five being such paragons of prejudice as the Goldstone Report itself.
The advantages would be many. One of the chronic UN defenses against well-deserved criticism is that UN doings become insanely complex to describe, and tedious for the general public to follow — until they emerge in finished form, a la Goldstone Report, and wreak their damage. There are endless misleading labels and layers of complexity (the Durban Review process, for instance, which is supposed to fight racism, but has become a UN-sponsored roadshow of Israel-trashing anti-Semitism). A Goldstone rating system could provide a helpful shorthand for cutting through all that. For example, the Durban III gathering now being planned by the UN General Assembly for this September in New York could be summed up as a 5-Goldstone event. The UN Human Rights Council’s appointment of a special rapporteur for Iran would rate zero Goldstones (though, hold that thought — we have yet to see how that plays out in practice), while the torrent of resolutions condemning Israel could be assigned five Goldstones for the entire series. UN agencies could be rated, as could the UN General Assembly itself, including such maneuvers as last month’s use of the UN’s General Assembly chamber to host the U.S. premiere of an Israel-bashing commercial movie (a celebrity-studded 5-Goldstone occasion).
All this might sound a bit hard on Richard Goldstone, who must have had to scrounge up a certain amount of courage to publish his semi-apologia in the Washington Post. But that was hardly enough to undo the damage of the Goldstone Report. If he was willing to give his name to that screed, is it too much to ask that he lend his name to a rating system that might better help flush out the truth, and at least inch a bit further toward trying to make amends?