Lots of people accuse Goldstone of being a self-hating Jew; and lots scoff at such an accusation. I think they’re both wrong. It’s not an impossibility to scoff at, and for sure the idea that the accusation of “self-hating” is not leveled at “just about anyone who dares to criticize Israel on any grounds,” a joke, a bad joke for anyone who knows how often Jews criticize Israel. No, it’s Jews who compare Israel to the Nazis (like Norman Finkelstein, Richard Falk, and David Theo Goldberg), it’s Jews who think that somehow they show the bona fides by being viciously critical of Israel, when the crimes they denounce in public, play out on a world stage where, by their morally exacting standards, everyone behaves more like Nazis than Israel.
Note that the proud “self-hating Jew,” M.J.Rosenberg cites Palestinian statistics with apparently no idea of where they come from or how deeply unreliable they are.
I’ll fess up. I’m an SHJ. I thought the Gaza war was everything Goldstone said it was and more. It’s hard to call it a war actually because the casualty numbers were so unbalanced.
1387 Palestinians killed of whom 320 were children
(773 were not fighting at all)
10 Israeli soldiers killed (3 by friendly fire).
For him it’s an obvious step from MSNM reports to despising Israel. What’s your problem? As Anthony Julius called these folks who don’t even have the decency to inform themselves, so eager are they to plaster their liberal credentials in public: proud to be ashamed to be a Jew. Of course, just because M.J. Goldberg mockingly declares himself a “self-hating Jew” doesn’t mean I’d consider him one. (That would probably mean reading more of him than I really want to do.)
But it also doesn’t mean that “self-hatred” isn’t both an identifiable phenomenon and one that characterizes Jews more than any other identifiable group.
Now Goldstone is not necessarily in this group. Indeed, in an interview with Fareed Zakaria, he responded to the question, “How does this compare with previous cases you’ve studied – Kosovo, Rwanda?” he replied:
I don’t like making comparisons, each situation different. One can’t compare what’s happened here with genocide in former Yugoslavia, nowhere near that situation.
On the issue of the reliability of the testimony he heard and whether it was strong enough to make judicial condemnations, he noted in an astonishing interview with the Forward:
“We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven… And [were the Israelis to investigate,] I wouldn’t consider it in any way embarrassing if many of the allegations turn out to be disproved.””
Or, as he put it to Christiane Amanpour in response to a question about whether he accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians:
That was not the role of our Fact-finding Mission, we weren’t even quasi-judicial and we certainly didn’t get near being judicial.
Now either this man has a split personality, or he’s dishonest. Now I don’t dismiss the former as a possibility. He says one thing when hanging around the UN/NGO crowd, one with the larger public (especially American) which assumes he’s being fair. But in any case there’s a serious disconnect.
If his report has as modest pretensions to establishing “facts” as he seems to claim, then surely it was not in a position to pass the exceptionally harsh judgments they did, and if there’s no comparison with what went on in Kosovo – a fortiori what went on in Rwanda – whence this particularly outrageous suggestion of “crimes against humanity?” (The obvious answer is so that the ICC can get involved. But that still doesn’t explain how a man who presents himself as a Zionist and “Lover of Israel” can produce such a report.)
I’d like to offer the following partial explanation. One of the striking elements of the report is how, with witness after witness, he comments, as here in the case of clearly suspect testimony:
775: The Mission found Khalid and Kawthar Abd Rabbo to be credible and reliable witnesses. It has no reason to doubt the veracity of the main elements of their testimony.
I think Goldstone, as a man who’s investigated real war crimes, and comes from a country whose government and military had no problem being brutal with dissidents, found these allegations of war crimes perfectly believable. Why wouldn’t the Israeli military behave like all the other armies in the world. Push him, as did Zakaria in front of a large audience, and he’ll honestly tell you it was not that bad in the scale of things.
(Reminds me of the French officer listening to the complaints by Arabs in 1948 about Israeli troops mistreating them, who realized that in all the complaints no one mentioned rape, and turned to the Israeli officer and said, “No rape? What’s wrong with your troops?”)
But put him back in the UN/NGO world dominated by the deadly combo of pre-modern sadism and post-modern masochism, and he’s back parsing terms to create weapons from the pre-modern sadists to attack with, and getting full support from the pomos who can only indulge by proxy.
UPDATE: Goldstone is upset that the resolution that just passed at the UNHRC uses his report to attack Israel. Just how naive is he? Did he really think this was about being fair, that if he bent over backwards to be critical of Israel, that would earn him credibility in other issues?
Can we turn him from his useful folly?