- Goldstone is the chair of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR).
- IHRJ’s Middle East Project to “establish a ‘shared history’ that will acknowledge a set of accepted historical facts” is being conducted in partnership with a Palestinian NGO, the Arab Thought Forum (ATF).
- The ATF’s narrative consists of demonizing language: “The Palestinian Holocaust is unsurpassed in history…the ugliest crime of modern times.”
- ATF employs terms such as “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” and “collective punishment,” while promoting the boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
- Judge Goldstone’s role in this process, as with his connections to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, reinforces the criticism of his report on the Gaza conflict.
Judge Richard Goldstone’s close involvement with political NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), where he was an executive board member, and Amnesty International are strongly reflected in his “fact finding” report on the Gaza conflict, and in numerous related statements. (See U.S. Rep. Howard Berman’s detailed analysis.)
Goldstone’s other NGO links include serving as the chair of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR). He is also on the boards of Physicians for Human Rights (US – not PHR-I) and Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), and advisory boards of Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) and Brandeis University’s International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.
Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR)
Based in The Hague, IHJR claims that it “seeks to promote reconciliation, tolerance and understanding in divided societies by dispelling public myths of disputed historical legacies.” IHJR “conducts its programs under the auspices of an international Executive Committee chaired by The Honorable Richard J. Goldstone.”
One of the main IHJR initiatives is the “Middle East Project,” which is funded by the EU’s Partnership for Peace (€267,000 through April 2010) and the Ford Foundation ($220,000 through 2010). IHJR also has projects in the former Yugoslavia and Kenya.
IHJR claims that its Middle East project brings together Israeli and Palestinian scholars to “establish a ‘shared history’ that will acknowledge a set of accepted historical facts,” “as a means of promoting reconciliation and…peace.”
Initially, the central elements of the project – including an “Atlas of the 1948 War,” “Historiography of the Refugee Crisis,” and “Sacred Sites” with a “focus specifically on the Temple Mount/Haram Al Sharif” – were conducted in partnership with the Peres Center for Peace and the Arab Thought Forum (ATF). After a short involvement, the Peres Center decided to end its role three years ago; the ATF – which promotes anti-Israel demonization – became the only IHJR partner.
The Arab Thought Forum’s version of “shared history”
In its activities, ATF consistently uses the language of demonization, employing terms such as “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” and “collective punishment,” while promoting the boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign. In a September 2006 “analysis paper,” ATF asserts that “the Zionist notion carries racist principles that keep producing Apartheid forms,” including the “Apartheid wall.” This NGO refers to “so called ‘Palestinian Terrorism.’”
On its website, ATF addresses the main elements of the IHJR project, which, as noted, is conducted under Goldstone’s supervision:
1948: “The Palestinian Holocaust is unsurpassed in history. For a country to be occupied, emptied of its people, its physical and cultural landmarks obliterated…internationally supported, and still maintained today, is no doubt the ugliest crime of modern times.”
Refugees: “The Right of Return, a Basic Right…If peace is to prevail, the inalienable Palestinian Rights must be restored.”
Thus, in contrast to the IHJR’s claimed mission to combat “distortions of historical reality,” its project reinforces and contributes to prejudicial and offensive rhetoric. Judge Goldstone’s role in this process, as in the case of his activities as leader of the UN Human Rights Council “Fact Finding Mission” and on behalf of HRW, reinforces the criticism of his report on the Gaza conflict.