Not only did Judge Richard Goldstone’s words of regret fail to match the global resonance of his original report, it now comes to light that one of the most important newspapers in the world refused to publish his retraction.
Yediot Achronot reported Monday that a source close to Goldstone stated that in the past few days the judge had approached the editor of the New York Times opinion pages requesting to post the article he wrote in the paper – and was told his article was rejected.
The editor gave no explanation as to why the article was rejected, but the source believes this was due to the newspaper’s political agenda.
The letter was ultimately published in the more conservative Washington Post over the weekend.
The New York Times said in response that they do not comment on the editorial or reporting process. In recent years the New York Times adopted a highly critical line of reporting towards Israel. Lately, its senior commentator Thomas Friedman has been publishing extremely aggressive articles against Israel and its current government.
The source also said that since the publication of the Goldstone Report two years ago, the judge and his wife have been socially ostracized in Jewish circles, which has caused them a great deal of sorrow.
Dr. Alon Liel, a friend of Goldstone’s from his days as a Foreign Ministry representative in South Africa, went a step further and said that Goldstone has “been through hell” and that has contributed to his decision to publish a letter of regret.
“He was being constantly harassed, received threatening letters, and was forced to change his phone number and email addresses,” Liel said. “When Israel decided to boycott him, it was an overwhelming insult.’I’m a Jewish judge, a respected Zionist – and Israel doesn’t trust me?’ He was a broken man.
“I’m not saying that the threats he received and the hell he went through are what made him publish his article, but there is no doubt in my mind that it influenced his decision.”
Yet other sources close to Goldstone claim that the decision to publish the letter didn’t stem from social pressure but from the judge’s deep understanding that the UN Human Rights Committee took advantage of his name, status and his being Jewish to unfairly censure Israel.
“He would never have written or published the article,” the source explained, “if he didn’t feel with the utmost certainty that he needed to tell the world that he was manipulated.”