Thursday, December 10, 2009

Goldstone Report: Will They Post Corrections?

And I wouldn’t consider it in any way embarrassing if many of the allegations turn out to be disproved.”

Judge Richard Goldstone, in an interview with The Forward, October 7, 2009
Good thing.. As it turns out, in Between Goldstone and Gaza, what's one more zero? Martin Kramer uncovers the fact that one of those allegations is wildly exaggerated:

I've been reading through the part of the Goldstone Report treating the economic impact of Operation Cast Lead—a part that hasn't gotten much attention. It's largely a crib of a March 2009 report compiled by the Palestinian Federation of Industries, whose deputy general-secretary, Amr Hamad, was interviewed three separate times by the mission. The mission deemed both the report and Hamad's testimony to be "reliable and credible."

The most important sentence in this section of the Goldstone Report is this one: "Mr. Amr Hamad indicated that 324 factories had been destroyed during the Israeli military operations at a cost of 40,000 jobs" (paragraph 1009). I did a double-take when I read that: 40,000 would be astonishing in an economy like Gaza's. This is what Hamad said in his testimony (June 28, Goldstone in the chair):
The industrial sector that was destroyed, for example, the 324 factories that were destroyed, that we[re] destroyed used to employ four-hundred thous-, uh, 40,000 workers. And these have lost their uh, jobs, uh, forever.
So that's the source of the number. But if you return to the report of the Palestinian Federation of Industries, it puts the job losses at these 324 factories not at 40,000, but at 4,000. That's an order-of-magnitude misrepresentation by Hamad of his own organization's findings. The Goldstone Mission should have wondered at the figure, checked Hamad's testimony against the Palestinian Federation of Industries report, detected the discrepancy, and gotten it right. But it didn't. Perhaps the mission members, hearing the word "factories," thought that 40,000 jobs sounded credible. In fact, more than a quarter (88) of these 324 "factories" employed five people or less, and over half (189) employed from five to twenty people (Federation report, p. 12). The vast majority of these "factories" should really be described as "workshops." Only three employed a hundred or more people.
So, the Goldstone Commission:
  • Accepted critical testimony without substantiating it
  • Claimed that 324 factories were destroyed when in fact up to 85% of them are more like workshops
  • Exaggerated that 40,000 jobs were lost when in fact the number is 4,000
Good to know that Goldstone won't be embarrassed to hear this.
The question is--why not?

It's way past time for Goldstone to admit that there are critiques of the Goldstone Report--and post corrections immediately.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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