In pro-Israel NYT op-ed piece, judge says 'nothing in Israel comes close to the definition of apartheid', further stating 'charge Israel is an apartheid state is false and malicious'. Judge also comes out in defense of Israel's counter-terrorism measures
"The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony," Judge Richard Goldstone writes in an op-ed published in the New York Times.
Goldstone, whose UN report on Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip became a symbol of anti-Israel diatribe across the globe, published yet another pro-Israel opinion piece. In April, Goldstone appeared to retract his report in a Washington Post op-ed, in which he claimed it would have been a different document "if I had known then what I know now."
Goldstone, who served on South Africa's Supreme Court during the apartheid era, said, "While 'apartheid' can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations."
"In Israel," writes Goldstone, "there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute."
The South African judge distinguishes between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians: "Israeli Arabs vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment."
Goldstone does not ignore the problems and even discrimination Israeli Arabs suffer from. "But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal," he stresses.
With regards to the West Bank, Goldstone says the situation is more complex. "But here too there is no intent to maintain an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group. This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there," he writes.
The judge also comes out in defense of Israel's counter-terrorism measures. "As long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed."
What has been often termed by left wing activists as an apartheid wall is actually, according to Goldstone, a "security barrier built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship."