JERUSALEM – Judge Richard Goldstone, the author of the widely criticized Goldstone Report on the Gaza War, has a unique opportunity to reverse some of the moral damage by denouncing the boycott of Ben Gurion University (BGU) by the University of Johannesburg (UJ), which last year conferred him with an honorary doctoral degree.
Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor calls on Judge Goldstone to return the honorary degree and denounce the UJ’s decision to boycott BGU.
“Judge Goldstone’s report has become the main vehicle used to delegitimize Israel in academia, international arenas, and courts throughout the world,” notes NGO Monitor legal advisor Anne Herzberg. “The Goldstone Report was in fact a key factor in the UJ’s decision to boycott BGU. Although he has stated opposition to BDS, as well as comparisons of Israel to an apartheid state, until he returns his degree and denounces the UJ’s decision, Judge Goldstone confers even more legitimacy on this anti-human rights, anti-peace BDS movement.”
The UJ senate voted to end ties with BGU after the school held a debate over a UJ-written report entitled “Findings on Ben-Gurion University of the Negev: Institutional complicity and active collaboration with Israeli military, occupation and apartheid practices.” This report was the culmination of a multi-year UJ campaign to boycott BGU. Publications by NGOs Al Haq and Amnesty International were heavily cited in the UJ report. Additionally, the report relies on information from Coalition of Women for Peace and Adalah, funded by the New Israel Fund, as well as the Goldstone Report.
“The Goldstone Report distorted international law and was based largely on unverifiable and false NGO allegations,” Herzberg adds. “It is the catalyst for nearly every aspect of the ‘Durban Strategy’ to isolate and demonize Israel.”
The UJ announcement follows last week’s UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session that passed six anti-Israel resolutions, including one that perpetuates the false allegations of the Goldstone Report, sponsored by The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. To counter the false claims of the resolution, which mirrored recommendations of numerous NGOs, NGO Monitor submitted a report to the UNHRC documenting the cynical NGO campaign developed to portray Israel as an “inherently undemocratic state” with a deeply flawed judicial system.