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The UN Goldstone Report and Retraction: An Empirical Investigation

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  • Arye L. Hillman

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

  • Niklas Potrafke

Abstract

The Goldstone Report is unique among United Nations reports in having been eventually repudiated by its principal author. The Report criminalized self-defense against state-sponsored or state-perpetrated terror. We use voting on the two UN General Assembly resolutions relating to the Goldstone Report to study whether support for the Goldstone principle of criminalization of self-defense against terror was influenced by countries’ political institutions. Our results, using different measures of political institutions, reveal systematic differences in voting by democracies and autocracies: as an example, based on the Chief-in-Executive measure of political institutions, a country with the highest democracy score was some 55 percentage points less likely to vote in favor of the second of the two UN Goldstone resolutions and some 55 percentage points more likely to abstain than a country with the highest autocratic score. The differences between democracies and autocracies in willingness to initiate symmetric warfare are therefore also reflected in differences in sensitivities to loss of life and harm in asymmetric warfare, through broad support by democracies, but not by autocracies, for legitimacy of self-defense against state-supported or stateperpetrated terror.

Suggested Citation

  • Arye L. Hillman & Niklas Potrafke, 2014. "The UN Goldstone Report and Retraction: An Empirical Investigation," Working Papers 2014-09, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2014-09
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raphael Becker & Arye Hillman & Niklas Potrafke & Alexander Schwemmer, 2015. "The preoccupation of the United Nations with Israel: Evidence and theory," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 413-437, December.
    2. Andra Filote & Niklas Potrafke & Heinrich Ursprung, 2016. "Suicide attacks and religious cleavages," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 3-28, January.
    3. Raphael N. Becker & Niklas Potrafke & Alexander H. Schwemmer, 2015. "Die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen und ihre Voreingenommenheit gegenüber Israel," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 68(07), pages 51-56, April.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tobias Rommel & Paul Schaudt, 2016. "First Impressions: How Leader Changes Affect Bilateral Aid," CESifo Working Paper Series 6047, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    State-sponsored terror; state-perpetrated terror; asymmetric warfare; United Nations; UNGA voting; international law; war crimes; human rights; democracy; autocracy; Israel; supreme values; expressive voting;

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