Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Unforgivable Maliciousness of Goldstone

The New York Times tries to figure out what made him change his mind.(If you've run out of free access to the New York Times for the month, Haaretz summarizes the article here). The thesis seems to be that he thought that by castigating both sides, he'd promote a process of mutual reflection and eventual reconciliation; this bizarre idea stemming from a similar experience he had in South Africa as Apartheid waned.

Yet another example of how different Apartheid always was from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mostly, however, it's a demonstration of how weirdly ignorant Goldstone may have been (and still is) about the conflict here.
He noted in Sacramento, for example, as in his later essay, that the deaths of about 29 members of one Gazan family grouped together by Israeli soldiers in a building that was subsequently bombed probably resulted from a misreading of a drone photograph. Men carrying firewood might have looked as if they were holding rocket launchers.At a debate last month at Stanford Law School, he did not excuse that Israeli killing but said that originally, “in the absence of any evidence at all, the only conclusion we could come to was that it was intentional.” Now it appeared to have been negligence due to lack of communication and verification, he said. [My emphasis].
Translation to English: we didn't know what we were talking about, since we lacked most of the relevant data, so we had no choice but to assume the worst about Israel and broadcast this assumption to the world as proven fact.

Only after the enemies of the Jews greeted this malicious accusation with the greatest of glee did it occur to the judge that he had been willingly manipulated. In my understanding of repentance, he hasn't even started the process. What he needs to do now is systematically tear down the entire edifice he built; if it take the rest of his life, so be it.


Barry Meislin said...

Merely a case of the morally destitute leading the morally blind.

Welcome to the future:

Silke said...

the way I remember Goldstone's retraction it made it unambiguously clear that it was all Israel's fault because those Israelis refused to cooperate.

He doesn't touch on why Israel should cooperate with all nutter organisations who come along and want to make an investigation? If I come to your door and ask to investigate your home, are your obliged to cooperate?

But this is the Zeitgeist in fashion - Self-Declare to be a moral authority and everybody who refuses to let you sniff around wherever you want becomes a suspect.

And it isn't just Goldstone - my own German parliament after the flotilla demanded unanimously ...

I think it was Sartre who wrote these plays where communists had to self-accuse in public - since we seem to head there anyway maybe we should switch to it right away, it has at least the advantage of being more honest.

... on the other hand what would happen to all those jobs in those Do-Gooder-Brigades?

Anonymous said...

There's also this piece by Trevor Norwitz ('Goldstone vs Goldstone...') on Robin Shepherd's new 'Commentator' site:


JG Campbell

Anonymous said...

That's a rather rose-tinted view of the S.A. commission. R.W. Johnson provides a different version in his book 'South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid'. Either way the two situations are different. As for Goldstone's claimed ignorance, who's to say? My opinion is jaundiced by the number of Soviet judges who jumped ship only to climb happily aboard with Putin.

Jonathan Halevi has open source details about the al-Samouni case which Goldstone failed to mention in either the Report or the retraction.


Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry Halevi here:

Nancy Ewart said...

The NY Times blog is again blaming Israel and saying (or trying to say) that Goldstone has caved in to the Evil Powerful Jewish Conspiracy that rules the world. Facts and reality don't matter. What matters is to continually blame Israel for trying to stop continual attacks and for not lying down and letting themselves be murdered. It's all about the good Arab who is completely innocent vs the evil Jew. I am waiting for them to resurrect the medieval story aobut Jews murdering Christian children. I wonder how all these finger pointing idiots would feel if they were being bombed, had terrorists using their homes for attacks on another country and dedicating every breath to the death and destruction of Israel.
Want to bet they would change their song?

Unknown said...

Unfortunately it is not a question of right and wrong it is the hatred of the Jews vs anyone else who is willing to bash the Jews regardless of the truth. This is just an unimportant little detail, who cares about the truth, do the English, French, Russian, Greeks, Spanish, ........... You got it

Ariadne said...

Anonymous, I will read the al-Samouni case later but to be going on with I have an image of an Islamic Jihadi member of that family as a hero.

the_raptor said...

"Translation to English: we didn't know what we were talking about, since we lacked most of the relevant data, so we had no choice but to assume the worst about Israel and broadcast this assumption to the world as proven fact."

Well, that fulfilled their mission statement, didn't it?

It might be more fruitful to examine what Richard Goldstone's career hopes were at the UN, and if, having failed to win the kudos there that he hoped for, he has now decided to try to rebuild some of the bridges he burnt to the Jewish community.

Silke said...

I'd go further i.e. it struck me as a job application, maybe he is angling for the commission to revise Goldstone I by investigating for Goldstone II.

There may be other jobs he hankers after, but the above is far from improbable. (but then of course I judge based on the watching middle management for jobs all my working life i.e. that's how they behave, with incredible chutzpa and more often than not they get away with it.)

Barry said...

If you are interested you can read an article in the SA Jewish Report by Dr Anthea Jeffery of the South African Institute of Race Relations, titled "Goldstone damaged South Africa as well" in which she mentions how he treated witnesses and evidence.
It's on page 9 of this PDF file

Quote: "As in the Gaza report,
Goldstone seemed willing to use
his judicial office to give credi-
bility to unsubstantiated allega-
tions which endorsed the per-
spective of one party to conflict
and undermined its opponent.
Whether he intended to benefit
the ANC is largely immaterial,
for he must have foreseen that
this would be the outcome of his
flawed report."