Judge Richard Goldstone, like some latter day Shylock, is now willing to return his pound of flesh, by recanting his farcical 2009 UN report on Israel’s invasion of Gaza. But the blood libel spilled in its creation cannot be expunged. Blood libels are like that. They take on a life and persistence of their own.
The infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion continues to flourish long after it was shown to be a forgery created by the Czarist secret police. The shooting of Mohammed al-Dura, a visual fabrication worthy of Photoshop, lives on in the Arab street as an Israeli atrocity, just as does the blood libel claiming that Jews stayed away from the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. So too will Goldstone’s fabrication of Israeli war crimes against Gaza’s civilians.
Just months ago, Goldstone was in Berkeley accepting an award from the area’s most controversial rabbi, Michael Lerner, whose incessant and unrepentant leftist ideology has permitted him to find areas of common agreement with those who would undermine the existence of the Jewish state. Alan Dershowitz has called Lerner’s Tikkun magazine the most vicious anti-Israel screed published under Jewish auspices, and Dershowitz has taken Lerner to task for asserting without a shred of evidence that Israel not only committed war crimes in Gaza, but also that those crimes were approved at the highest levels of government. On the stage with Goldstone was Muslim scholar Sheik Hamza Yusuf, whose radical views prior to 9/11 included support for the 1993 attempted bombing of the World Trade Center and anti-Semitism. Since 9/11, Yusuf has been busily reinventing himself as a moderate.
Are we to believe that Goldstone is just a naïve waif manipulated by scoundrels — that he had no idea what symbolic statement he was making by appearing with the likes of Lerner and Yusuf? Just as, now, he wants us to believe that he had no idea that Hamas uses civilians as shields, hides military equipment in hospitals and schools, and for years rained rockets on Israel’s southern cities?
Goldstone took Hamas at its word. He was deceived. How could he have possibly known otherwise? Goldstone would have us believe he does not live among us, never reads a newspaper or watches a news program. He only knows about Hamas from what Hamas tells him. And, similarly, all he knows about Israel is what a bunch of self-proclaimed “human rights” advocates tell him — people with a history of embracing any unproven accusation that demonizes the Jewish state, people from Human Rights Watch, whose very founder now denounces its obsession with undermining the Jewish state.
But even now, Goldstone’s apology seems to be an attempt at self-exoneration. Yes, he got it wrong. But it was those damn Israelis who made him do it by not cooperating with the UN Commission on Human Rights — a group made up of the world’s most shameless anti-Semites, one that was about to bestow a human rights award on Libya before Gaddafi started shooting demonstrators in the streets.
So why Goldstone’s recantation? Did the progressive Berkeley rabbi and the people with whom he surrounds himself unnerve Goldstone? Hardly. Goldstone was right at home in a community that feted Jimmy Carter at UC Berkeley without anyone asking him a single question about his alleged plagiarism of Dennis Ross’ maps, or how much Saudi money has gone into the peanut farm, or about the factual errors in his Apartheid book.
No, Goldstone is what he always was, a judge who served the Apartheid regime of South Africa and who sent black men to prison and death knowing they never had anything resembling due process, let alone a jury of their peers. He is an opportunist who probably exchanged tales of adventures in narcissism and self promotion with the radical rabbi. Not to be outdone, Rabbi Lerner had his own magazine celebrate him for being a “courageous progressive,” willing to bring Goldstone into that harshly anti-progressive environment of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Goldstone thought he could promote himself to a position on the International Court of Justice by becoming the “house Jew,” only to learn that he had been used.
Goldstone’s recantation in the pages of the Washington Post is only a threat, not a real recantation. Goldstone has not gone to the UN to ask that his report be expurgated. Why not? Because he still holds out hope that if he says nothing more then a seat on the International Court of Justice still awaits him.
Jews do not issue fatwas against those who betray them. As a community, Jews believe in the due process of law — and that truth will ultimately triumph in a free market of ideas. Goldstone need not fear that he will become the Jewish Salman Rushdie.
Goldstone is a modern-day Haman, the Persian royal adviser who sought to murder the Jews of his time. Each Purim holiday, Jews denounce Haman, with fanfare and noise, during the public reading of the Book of Esther.
The best way for Jews to deal with Goldstone is to have his name added after Haman’s in the Purim reading. Let his shame like his blood libel take on a life of its own, from generation to generation.