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Prodded by Danon, U.S. lawyers set to sue Goldstone

JTA

April 7, 2011 | 10:06 am

A group of American Jewish lawyers is set to file a civil lawsuit against Richard Goldstone initiated by Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon.

The class action suit against the author of the Goldstone Report, a United Nations document about Israel’s conduct during the monthlong Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09, is set to be filed next week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan by attorney Steve Goldberg, according to a statement issued Wednesday from Danon’s office.

Danon met with the attorneys during a recent visit to the United States, the statement said. It gave no further information on Goldberg or the other attorneys involved in the suit.

The lawsuit will demand that Goldstone publicly apologize to the State of Israel and pay a symbolic amount of damages for the accusations he made in the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict report.

“The Goldstone Report is nothing less than a modern version of the infamous blood libels against the Jewish people,” said Danon. “The distorted image that Judge Goldstone spread about Israel and the Israel Defense Forces has caused immeasurable damage to our citizens, and it will continue to do so for many years to come. I call on Goldstone to publicly apologize for his erroneous report with the hope that perhaps this will begin to repair some of the immense damage that has been inflicted on the international standing of the State of Israel.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Danon said he plans to file a similar lawsuit in Israel that would go into effect if Goldstone visits the Jewish state. Goldstone said he will visit Israel in July after being invited by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

Goldstone, a former South African judge, wrote in an Op-Ed last weekend in The Washington Post that Israel did not intentionally target civilians as a policy during the Gaza War, withdrawing a critical allegation in the Goldstone Report.

“We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report,” Goldstone wrote. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

In the wake of the Post Op-Ed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a host of Israeli officials and organizations have called on the United Nations to cancel the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Goldstone told The Associated Press Wednesday that he will not seek to quash the report, which was presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2009.

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