NEW YORK, NY (April 27, 2010) – The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice is dismayed to learn that yet another one-sided and biased event related to Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and the Mission’s Chairperson, Bacon-Kilkenny Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law Richard Goldstone, will be taking place at Fordham Law School on April 27, 2010.
Based on the program that has been circulated, the day-long event, “The UN’s Goldstone Report: Lawfare & the Threat to Israeli and American National Security in the Age of Terrorism,” aims to “explore, examine and expose the fallacies of the Goldstone Report” through what appears to be a biased analysis including no speaker to provide contrasting or alternative viewpoints. Due to the highly politicized nature of media coverage surrounding the report, the Leitner Center canceled its own event in fall 2009 rather than holding a one-sided discussion, when numerous persons contacted to provide the Israeli perspective declined to participate.
The one-sided nature of the event is in contrast to Justice Goldstone’s own efforts to ensure a balanced and comprehensive review of the conflict in Gaza. Justice Goldstone initially refused to undertake the mandate of the investigation when it called for an investigation into the Israeli government’s culpability alone. He accepted the mandate only after it had been revised to include a full investigation of all parties to the Gaza conflict: the Israeli government as well as Palestinian armed groups.
We are appalled by the ongoing demonization of our friend and colleague as a result of the politicization of this issue and efforts to personally attack him in the media and private circles in wholly unprofessional and vicious ways, including the most recent efforts to bar him from attending his own grandson’s Bar Mitzvah in South Africa. We remain concerned that the “Lawfare Project Conference” taking place on April 27 will be an empty and biased event amounting to an ad hominem attack on Justice Goldstone masquerading as academic inquiry.
Justice Goldstone has had a lifelong commitment to promoting and defending human rights and dignity across the globe. His experience in international human rights and international legal circles is unparalleled. He served as Chairperson to the Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation in South Africa exposing the wrongdoings by Apartheid-era security forces, as Justice to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Chief Prosecutor to the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Chairperson for the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo, and is board member to numerous human rights and academic institutions. Justice Goldstone is one of the most respected academics and practitioners Fordham has had the privilege to receive. We are honored to have him as a colleague, and look forward to his return to our campus.