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Richard Goldstone - Apartheid's 'Hanging Judge'

Yediot Ahronot Newspaper: 'Judge Richard Goldstone Served Apartheid Regime In South Africa Sending At Least 28 Black Africans To The Gallows & Sending Others To The Lash'

Judge Goldstone: 'I Was Only Ruling In Accordance With Existing Law At That Time - I Am Now Opposed To Death Penalty'

IsraCast: 'Revelations Of Goldstone's Role In Aparthied Regime Raises Questions About Why Pro-Arab UN Body Selected Such A Man For Hatchet Job On Israel'

 In an exclusive report, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot has exposed the sordid past of Judge Richard Goldstone, who has accused the Israel Defense Forces of possible crimes during the Cast Lead Operation into Gaza to halt eight years of Palestinian rocketing on Israeli civilians. The Goldstone report has been widely condemned as totally biased against Israel. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot has now published an investigative report into the background of Goldstone, who served the former apartheid regime in South Africa, during which he approved the death penalty and lashing for dozens of Black South Africans.

 Journalist Zadok Yehezkeli has written a damming investigative report on Judge Richard Goldstone, who does not dispute the facts. Goldstone simply tries to justify his sending at least 28 Black South Africans to the gallows as well as other Black defendants to be lashed. Yehezkeli contends that Goldstone played an active role in implementing the apartheid policy of one of the most brutal regimes of the twentieth century. Chief Justice Goldstone served on the Appellate Court during the 1980's and 90's. However this unconscionable stain on Goldstone's past did not stop him in later condemning the death penalty and severely criticizing other states that still impose it. In fact, in all of his public appearances, Goldstone has never bothered to disclose that he himself repeatedly approved death sentences in South Africa.

Yediot Ahronot says it has information that Goldstone approved the death penalty for at least 28 Black South Africans who were convicted on charges of murder and had appealed their sentences. In fact, during his apartheid days, Goldstone presented a spirited defense of the death penalty. He wrote: 'The community's outrage is a relevant factor in the imposition of the death sentence... a proper sentence should act as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to murder or rob defenseless and innocent people... murder calls for the maximum sentence allowed by the law. It follows, in my opinion, that on that account, the only proper sentence is the death sentence'.

The Yehezkeli expose contends that even in cases less serious than murder, Goldstone always supported the apartheid policy. Among other punishments, Goldstone was also said to have approved the lash for four Blacks convicted of violence. On the other hand, he acquitted four White policemen who illegally broke into the home of a White woman on suspicion she was having a sexual relationship with a Black man, considered to be a serious crime in South Africa. In another case, Goldstone sentenced two young Blacks to prison for having a recording of a speech by a member of Nelson Mandela's party.

When Yehezkelli confronted Goldstone with this evidence, the judge replied: 'I was always opposed to the death penalty but I was part of a system that included the death sentence. As a judge during the apartheid era, I was compelled to respect the laws of the land and in those cases I could not find enough mitigating circumstances to rule against the death penalty for the convicted. I was always committed to safeguarding equality and non-discrimination as well as the law. Sometimes these principles clashed in very complex ways'.

How a judge, who served the apartheid regime and wholeheartedly defended the death penalty, that was imposed predominantly on Blacks, can later argue that he was always committed to safeguarding equality and non-discrimination raises serious questions about the mindset of Richard Goldstone. Does he really expect any reasonable person to accept such a convoluted explanation for his role as 'a hanging judge' for the apartheid regime?

There are other questions:

1. Could Goldstone have refused, as did many other Whites, to serve the apartheid regime in such a heinous role? Would his refusal have been severely punished by perhaps even being sent to a concentration camp as was the case in Nazi Germany?

2. Does Goldstone's defense that he was only doing his job as a cog in the system echo the hollow words of those exposed for their despicable actions from that other horrible time and place?

3. Are American universities where Goldstone has lectured, and primarily his students, aware that Goldstone was an apartheid judge?

4. Did the UN Committee On Human Rights, established by the pro- Arab bloc primarily for the purpose of villifying Israel, select Goldstone because it was sure that he could be counted on 'to follow orders' as he did during South Africa's apartheid era?

5. At the time, leading Israeli legal experts reacted to the Goldstone report as a biased, unprofessional enquiry in nearly every way. From the outset, the enquiry's official mandate had actually inferred that Israel was guilty of war crimes and that was what the enquiry was expected to conclude. In fact, this was one of the reasons why Israel refused to cooperate with Goldstone and his fellow 'investigators', one of whom had previously declared that in her view Israel was guilty of war crimes. The Israeli reaction was that no fair minded or professional legal expert would have accepted such a mandate. After the publication of Goldstone's UN enquiry, the vast majority of Israelis felt that Goldstone had totally ignored the reality of the guerrilla warfare in Gaza, where Palestinian fighters used Palestinian women and children as human shields. Moreover, despite unprecedented Israeli efforts to prevent collateral damage, as it is termed in Afghanistan and Iraq, Goldstone chose to slander the Jewish state as a war criminal. After the Cast Lead campaign in January 2009, British Army colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp arrived in Israel to get a first hand view of what had transpired on the ground. Col. Kemp concluded the IDF had taken 'extraordinary measures' to warn Palestinian civilians to evacuate areas occupied by terrorists before attacking. In the Colonel's words: 'The Israel Defense Forces are the most moral army in the history of warfare'.

After publication of the Goldstone enquiry, Goldstone was perceived In Israel as a scoundrel eager to curry favor with Israel's enemies, possibly to advance his own career. The Yediot Ahronot report will now cast Richard Goldstone, not only as a scoundrel, but as a hypocritical one at that.

David Essing

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