Panel Discussion: The Goldstone Report

Tue, February 15, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all panel discussions »)

Free and Open to the Public

Jamil Dakwar is Director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program (HRP)

Rebecca Vilkomerson is Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace

Alia Malek is a civil rights lawyer, journalist, and author of the book A Country Called Amreeka

Lizzy Ratner is a journalist and co-editor of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict

The Goldstone Report is an abridged version of the original thunderous report that also contains essays by some of today's leading thinkers, journalists, and human rights champions. These include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Raji Sourani, Jules Lobel, Moshe Habertal, Jerome Slater, Congressman Brian Baird, Rashid Khalidi, Henry Siegman, Ali Abunimah, Noam Sheizaf, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Laila El-Haddad.

A diverse group of leading commentators on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is assembled here. The forward to the book was written by Justice Goldstone’s associate of 25 years, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, condemning the “naked brutality” of the war. The introduction, which states that Justice Goldstone has applied principles of international law all over the world and has not merely singled Israel out, was written by bestselling author Naomi Klein. Human rights leader Raji Sourani recalls the white phosphorus raining down over the Gaza Strip and issues an appeal for Gazans to be granted “simple human dignity;” legal scholar Jules Lobel explains the post-World War II standards on which the report is based; Jerome Slater takes on the many criticisms of the report and shows that Goldstone’s charges have been confirmed by others; Rashid Khalidi describes the historical shift now taking place in the western discourse on Israel, a shift that has given the report such an extended life.

Among other essayists, Noam Sheizaf explains the siege mentality inside Israel that the report has helped to generate; Letty Cottin Pogrebin writes that the personal attacks on Justice Goldstone have been a blot on the Jewish community; Henry Siegman argues that Israel’s indifference to the loss of innocent life is creating questions about its legitimacy; and Ali Abunimah lays out the ways in which Israel’s crucial traditional support in the west, from liberal and progressive communities, has begun to crumble in part due to the Goldstone Report so that "Israel's base slides out of the mainstream."

The book includes a leading critical piece on the report, from Moshe Halbertal, a professor of philosophy at Hebrew University, while former Washington State congressman Brian Baird offers observations on the US government's insensitivity to Palestinian human rights, including this revelation: “many of my [House] colleagues, several of them prominent, literally did not understand either that collective punishment is a war crime, or why it is a war crime.”

The book concludes with a wrenching piece by Laila El-Haddad describing how her family survived the onslaught, with Apache helicopters circling their house in the dark as her father talked to her by phone back in the United States.

The Goldstone Report, with its uncompromising moral consistency, has revived the old-fashioned principles of universal human rights and international law—enshrined in a system that, flawed as it is, remains our best protection against barbarism. When we rally around Goldstone, insisting that this report be read and acted upon, it is this system that we are defending. - Naomi Klein

There are three primary threats facing us today: the nuclear threat, the missile threat and what I call the Goldstone threat. - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Last updated: 2011-02-14 04:45:45

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