What’s going on in Goldstone’s head?

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?

24 Responses to What’s going on in Goldstone’s head?

  1. E.G. says:

    RL:

    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.

    Spot on.
    And Goldstone is far from being alone. I’ve heard such unknowledgeable opinions from quite a few people, many friendly to Israel (and philosemites). Many also with (more or less conscious) disdain for Arabs, esp. via a patronising/infantilizing attitude. These persons generalise their own military experience to the IDF. And when I explained, providing concrete examples, the differences – they found them unbelievable on many grounds.
    As far as they know, an army – especially an occupying military – is brutal and unconcerned with enemy life, civilians well-being, and even less about collateral damage.

  2. oao says:

    isn’t this validating my argument that goldstone and his ilk is truly ignorant about the circumstances in the ME?

    what you are saying is that he ASSUMES that israel is the culprit here, projecting from other conflicts he investigated. and he took arab evidence at face value, without a clue about their bald lying nature.

    As far as they know, an army – especially an occupying military – is brutal and unconcerned with enemy life, civilians well-being, and even less about collateral damage.

    indeed. neither can they imagine that the “oppressed” in this case are treacherous and genocidal, that they do not fight for a state or independence, but to liquidate their “oppressor”.

  3. E.G. says:

    Astounding. One authors
    a political report and when the consequences are political -
    Richard Goldstone slams UN for failing to censure Hamas

  4. Solomonia says:

    Friday Goldstone Collection…

    I been collecting the links again! First, let’s get this out of the way. Richard Goldstone is either the most naive or the dumbest man on the international scene today: UN body okays Goldstone Gaza report accusing Israel of war……

  5. oao says:

    Astounding.

    Not really — a spineless idiot.

  6. [...] Stables:  “What’s going on in Goldstone’s head?”/ “My letter to European Leaders on [...]

  7. Eliyahu says:

    I think that Alan Dershowitz did an excellent job in showing up Goldstone’s hypocrisy, his his two-faced game.

    And I don’t especially like Dershowitz. His dissection of goldstone is on, I believe, the Hudson Institute site [ http://www.hudsonny.com ???]

    Here’s a link to Colonel Richard Kemp’s testimony at the UNHRC as to how the IDF tried to avoid civilian casualties.

    http://telchaination.blogspot.com/2009/10/british-army-colonel-defends-idf.html

  8. Eliyahu says:

    somehow people who don’t like the goldstone report on the Gaza War give him credit for sterling efforts in Yugoslavia as chief prosecutor of the ICTY, the Tribunal for war crimes. But he is not universally admired for his efforts in the Balkans. Not even by American “Leftists” like the slightly mad Prof Edward Herman, an old pal of Bill Davidon if anybody remembers him.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2009/10/goldstone-played-fast-loose-with.html

    It seems to me many of the faults that we find in the goldstone report are already found in his work on the ICTY.

  9. Eliyahu says:

    to continue–

    now there is a question of how American “leftists” are going to respond to the GR [goldstone report]. Will people who criticized RG for his doings in Yugoslavia praise his disgraceful endeavors in Gaza??

  10. Awamori says:

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal”(c)

    The United Nations Human Rights Council’s permanent obsession with Israel has nothing to do with human rights protection.

  11. oao says:

    eliyahu,

    you don’t still believe that leftists are concerned with coherence or consistency, do you?

  12. oao says:

    eliyahu,

    you don’t still believe that leftists are concerned with coherence or consistency, do you?

    like the slightly mad Prof Edward Herman, an old pal of Bill Davidon if anybody remembers him.

    and of noam’s too.

  13. E.G. says:

    Perhaps the best way to understand the Israeli (and Jewish) rage against Goldstone is to put the situation in comparative perspective. Imagine that in 1936 a judge from the British Commonwealth had accepted a commission from the Anglo-German Friendship Society to examine possible human rights violations suffered by the Sudeten Germans. On the face of it this would be unobjectionable. What, after all, could be wrong with Anglo-German Friendship? Like the UN human rights council, it sounds fair. And of course there were some human rights violations to talk about. But the fact is that the friendship society was full of Nazi sympathisers and anyone who accepted its commission would know in advance that they were providing propaganda material for Hitler to help him justify his ultimate invasion of Czechoslovakia — on which he was already decided.

    Several more such insights:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6879387.ece

  14. E.G. says:

    Slightly O/T but nowhere else to post.
    David Miliband’s failure like an improbable episode of Yes Minister

    Britain has a permanent seat at the UN Security Council because its opinions are supposed to matter. If it cannot even muster the nerve to vote at the UN Human Rights Council what hope for decisiveness on tougher issues such as Afghanistan and Iran? The only consolation is that Britain was not the only major power to wimp out. France also slipped off for an early weekend.

  15. [...] to blame because I offered them a historic opportunity. And this after he had a chance to see, and admittedly regret, how the UNHRC weaponized his report. As I stated in response to a recent letter from the mayor of [...]

  16. Charles says:

    Richard,

    Excellent synopsis! I’ve passed it along…

  17. oao says:

    no surprise about the western “powers” behavior. it’s well within the context of dumping israel to the wolves out of cowardice and appeasement.

    some powers.

  18. oao says:

    we’re engaging sudan — SUDAN!!!! — but we’re referring israel to ICCH via a kapo.

    kafka did not have a clue.

  19. oao says:

    e.g.

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/spengler/2009/10/19/when-the-cats-away-the-mice-kill-each-other/

    looks like spengler has himself realized that his take was more serious than he thought.

    incidentally, here is another answer to eliyahu question’s elsewhere: he appointed the likes of gates and jones in order to fool the gullible, while in reality power is elsewhere — his vest and czars.
    I recall such an analysis was published when he made the appointments.

  20. E.G. says:

    oao,

    This analysis is definitely better stated than the previous one.

  21. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    WRT #20′s link it seems a little like cutting off one’s nose …..
    Nobody is truly prepared to do something because it is right and just.
    At some stage in the future it will all come around and somebody on the ground in Israel is going to remember.
    The pettiness of politicians knows only the bounds of the size of their palms and then it can be overly large for their health.

  22. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    So much for accountability, if only to one’s electorate.

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