An Open Letter to Mahmud ‘Abbas on the Goldstone Report

We are a diverse group of Palestinians, solidarity activists, and supporters of human rights and international law.  We write to join the Palestinian political parties, civil society groups, trade unions, and citizens that have condemned the recent decision at the UN Human Rights Council to withdraw Palestinian support for a resolution endorsing the report of the “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” led by Richard Goldstone.

We consider this decision a betrayal of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and of broader efforts to promote human rights and a just international system.

Although we have no illusions that the Goldstone report would have guaranteed accountability for the atrocities committed in Gaza, we recognize it as an important tool in mobilizing the world community for the cause of peace and justice in the region.  We also understand that Israel and its allies exerted pressure on you to bury the report.  But by withdrawing support for a resolution in the Human Rights Council, you have done more to undermine these efforts than all of the sustained, high-level attacks by Israel and its allies combined.  You have squandered the support of the world community for no good reason.

We understand that you have appointed a committee to investigate how and why the Goldstone report was shelved.  Such an inquiry is not needed to tell us that the person ultimately responsible for this disastrous decision is you.  We are outraged that the self-described leader of a national liberation movement would seek to evade responsibility for such a reckless and damaging error.

Furthermore, we believe this self-inflicted wound raises serious doubts about the soundness of your leadership and the authority of the diplomatic missions under your control worldwide to represent the interests of the Palestinian people.

As Palestinians and non-Palestinian supporters of universal rights, our solidarity is first and foremost with the Palestinian people.  We stand together for all actions that strengthen the national liberation movement and a just international system.  Your most recent decision so egregiously undermines these goals that it leaves us with no choice but to clarify the contours of our solidarity — to stand with the Palestinian people and against you.

We demand that you restore full Palestinian diplomatic support for advancing the Goldstone report through the United Nations system, including to the Security Council and the International Criminal Court.

Furthermore, we reiterate our support for efforts to restore the unity and legitimacy of the Palestinian national struggle.  Until such unity is restored, any appeals for solidarity or support from you or your subordinates will carry no weight.

Meanwhile, we pledge ourselves to redoubling our efforts for a just peace in the region based on respect for human rights and international law, including the right to self-determination – with or without your help.


Noam Chomsky
Omar Barghouti
Noura Erakat, Georgetown University

Mahmood Mamdani
Iyad al Sarraj, Gaza Community Mental Health Program
Mamduh al Akr
Nur Masalha, Director, Centre for Religion and History and Holy Land Research Project, St. Mary’s University College (UK)
Prof Bassam Dally, The Australian Friends of Palestine
Dror Feiler, Chair, JIPF (Judar för Israelisk Plaestinsk Fred), Sweden

Keith Hammond, Scottish Committee for the Universities of Palestine
Dr. Sara Roy
Philip Weiss
Salim Tamari, Director, Institute of Jerusalem Studies
Hasan Khader
Nahed Samour, German-Palestinian Lawyers’ Association

Abraham Melzer, Editor, SEMIT Jewish Magazine, 63263 Neu-Isenberg, Germany
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, Professor, Bethlehem University
Dr. Nancy Murray, President, Gaza Mental Health Foundation
Matan Cohen, co-founder Anarchists Against The Wall, SJP Hampshire College. Member- Boycott From Within
Islah Jad
Salih Abdul Jawwad

Elaine C. Hagopian, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College, Boston
Elliott Colla, Dept. of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University
Nora Lester Murad
Dr. Marcy Newman
Leila Farsakh, University of Massachusetts-Boston
Eyal Weizman

Noel Ignatiev, Edward Said Visiting Professor of American Studies, American University of Beirut
Dr. Anat Matar, head of Israeli Association for the Palestinian Prisoners, Prof., Tel Aviv University
Marc Estrin, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Thomas Asher, President, The American Council
Mousa Budeiri, Prof., Birzeit University, Israeli-Occupied West Bank
Rachel Giora, Prof., Tel Aviv University

Khalid Farraj
Zakariyya Muhammad

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