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Jadaliyya Review Roundtable on "The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict"

“Reports come and go. This is one of the tragic truths of the literature of human rights violations. Hard-working researchers scour the rubble of war zones for fragments of evidence — of war crimes, crimes against humanity, other violations of life and freedom — only to watch their findings sink into the oblivion of forgotten documents.” So begins the editors’ note to the collection The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict, edited by Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Philip Weiss (New York: Nation Books, 2011). The book comprises an abridged version of the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, better known as the Goldstone Report (the full text of the report can be found at the book’s accompanying website), preceded by introductory essays by Desmond Tutu and Naomi Klein. Following the text of the report are a series of essays by legal experts, journalists, writers, and activists that examine the legacy of the Goldstone Report; contributors include Raji Sourani, Jules Lobel, Rashid Khalidi, Henry Siegman, and Ali Abunimah.

The idea behind the collection, in the words of the editors, is the hope “that this book will help keep the report alive and its findings relevant.” Of course, the Goldstone Report has been receiving a good deal of attention lately, thanks largely to the op-ed piece published by Justice Richard Goldstone on April 1, which has been opportunistically (and wrongly) described by critics of the report as a renunciation of its findings. Perhaps the greatest value of this book, in light of all the back-and-forth surrounding Goldstone, is to recall our attention to the text of the report itself; as Klein notes in her introduction, the findings have already triggered a grassroots movement for popular justice, “the kind of justice that rises up from the streets, educating friends, neighbors, and family, until the momentum of its truth-telling eventually forces the courts to open their doors.” Building such a movement, she concludes, “starts with reading the report.” 

In the spirit of keeping a productive conversation moving forward, Jadaliyya presents this e-roundtable on the Goldstone Report and its legacy. Rather than offering a review of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict, we have asked three contributors to address key issues raised by the book: Richard Falk will address international law; Noura Erakat will address the question of accountability; and Mouin Rabbani will address the regional political issues raised by the Goldstone Report and its aftermath. In keeping with the discussion format, next week we will be posting responses to each of these three posts from the editors of and contributors to The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict. We hope that this roundtable will be only the beginning of a longer conversation, and we invite readers to join the discussion by commenting on each post.

Part I, "Goldstone and International Law" by Richard Falk, can be found here.

Part II, "Goldstone and Accountability" by Noura Erakat, can be found here.

Part III, "Goldstone in Political Context," by Mouin Rabbani, can be found here.

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