A while back, I posted this blog on an Israeli’s response to the Goldstone Report. Now, at his website at TheAtlantic.Com, Andrew Sullivan is asking me and PJM to “take down this racist post and apologize.” He also accuses me of “McCarthyism” and “of being unhinged on the matter of the Middle East” and of moving towards “grotesque slanders of the ‘treasonous’ motives of a man like Goldstone.”
It seems like every time a centrist conservative like myself makes a charge a liberal disagrees with, the response is the ad hominem path of accusing me of McCarthyism or of being crazy. [Yes, Andrew, I know you call yourself a conservative. But as the President acknowledged by inviting you to the liberals' meeting with the press when he was inaugurated, he knows that in politics, you are firmly on the left-liberal side.] First, months ago, Rick Hertzberg of The New Yorker wrote that I had “lost my marbles,” and now Andrew Sullivan says I am “unhinged.” I find it interesting how not only are these people pundits, but amateur psychoanalysts as well.
The purpose of the blog and the letter I posted was not that of agreeing with everything the author of the letter, Roy Chweidan, wrote. Indeed, I put in this caveat that Sullivan neglects to cite. I wrote: “I cannot vouch for the factual data he offers. You can read it yourself and judge whether the charges made by the writer have merit.” I did think, as I said in the original post, that Chweidan makes many charges about Goldstone’s past record as a judge in South Africa that casts much light on his integrity and trustworthiness. Now, much more material has come to light that in fact provides substantiation for what this Israeli asserts.
First, a reader of my blog, Jon Burack, posted a remarkable documented thirty-eight page report about Goldstone’s record in South Africa written by a law student who knew him, Ayal Rosenberg. It can be found here. I e-mailed this to Sullivan at the time, and asked him to read it and take what Rosenberg writes into consideration. He did not respond to me about this. Clearly, he has not bothered to read it. Rosenberg reveals that Goldstone was an opportunist careerist who became an “apartheid judge,” only switching later at the opportune moment to the cause of the ANC, and then became a judge who quickly moved to prevent any real inquiry into the ANC’s criminal actions during the era of opposition to the apartheid state.
Now, yet another article has appeared confirming what Ayal Rosenberg writes, this time from the website of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In a report titled “Who Is Richard Goldstone,” R.W. Johnson writes that he is hardly surprised that Goldstone could “lend himself to such an obviously biased mission mandated by a Human Right Council that it is itself full of human rights violators” and “habitual Israeli-haters.”
Johnson, like the two other South African writers, notes that Goldstone drew the anger of liberal judges when he accepted appointment from the apartheid regime, and later, for refusing “to investigate any form of violence organized by the ANC,” which of course viewed him as their “favorite judge.” Moreover, he endorsed the concept of “collective guilt” and argued that all whites in South Africa were equally guilty of supporting apartheid and that it was proper to deprive whites of jobs for which they were qualified since they had to pay for “the sins of the fathers.” He became, as Johnson puts it, “an icon of political correctness.”
Goldstone proceeded to embark on many extra-legal and questionable tactics, “cutting corners out of excessive ambition,” only to move towards what Johnson calls a “new low” with his role as chairman of what came to be called the Goldstone commission. Johnson concludes: “That a Jewish judge, barred from entering Israel for accepting a commission deliberately biased against the state, should write a report based largely on interviews with Hamas activists in order to pander to anti-Zionist opinion has meant, for many, that he has simply stepped outside the pale.”
Now, more material is appearing about other members of the commission. Writing on the site of The Huffington Post yesterday, Alan Dershowitz reports on another member, the retired Irish Colonel Desmond Travers. Also commenting on Travers was David Hazony, who notes that Travers’ frank admissions about his perspective validates Israel’s decision not to cooperate with what it sensed was a biased group from the start. Dershowitz writes that from the start of his appointment, Travers “was hellbent on revenge against Israel based on paranoid fantasies and hard left anti-Israel propaganda.” He came to the job ready “not to believe anything Israel said and to accept everything Hamas put forward.”
Both writers castigate Travers and the other commission members for failing to acknowledge that Hamas used mosques to store weapons in Gaza, despite clear evidence that it had. They also show how Travers rejected Israel’s claim that it attacked Gaza only after thousands of anti-personnel rockets had been sent into Israel, specifically targeting civilians. Dershowitz also points out that other members of the commission had anti-Israeli predetermined views, and a clear anti-Israel agenda.
Andrew Sullivan has already, as his readers know, ignored everything Dershowitz writes, arguing that he is beyond the pale because he is a supporter of torture. That judgment becomes a clever way of Sullivan to continue to spew falsehoods and ignore evidence, simply because he casts the bearer of the message as immoral.
As to the charge of racism — which is the reason Sullivan wants my blog removed from PJM — he objects to the claim by Chweidan that Goldstone depended upon Arab sources that are inherently not trustworthy. He asserts that to say there is something called “Arab facts, Arab information and Arab truth” that cannot be trusted is simply racist. It is clear that Sullivan does not remember the many false and accepted Arab claims about the Al Dura incident a few years ago, in which many in the media believed the false and staged reports about how the IDF had intentionally killed a Palestinian father attempted to shield his son from being hit during a battle.
One might also recall the false claims by Hamas and its American supporters in the International Solidarity Movement that Rachel Corrie was intentionally murdered by the IDF to scare off peaceful protesters opposed to the Israeli “occupation” of Gaza. I could go on and on with many such examples of the kind of Arab facts that Chweidan warned Goldstone against accepting.
Since 1948, the Arab nations have done everything possible to prevent acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. They have been unremitting in their opposition to its existence. Even the supposedly reformed Palestinian Authority regularly broadcasts programs depicting the Jews as “monkeys,” “pigs” and the like, and inflaming its viewers, including children, to commit themselves to Israel’s destruction. These are some of current Arab facts; nothing comparable in the form of racist attacks on Arabs or Palestinians ever comes from Israel.
In 2002, Sullivan wrote “I definitely believe that the war on terror means that we must side, basically, with Israel.” He noted that “whatever the cruelty, and I think one can’t defend everything Israel has done, and whatever the pain that is inflicted upon many people in Palestine and in the Palestinian areas, there is still no equivalence.”
Nothing has occurred since 2002 that should have caused Sullivan to abandon his once nuanced position, and to not only argue for moral equivalence, but for the immorality of all Israeli actions and to depict the Palestinians as innocent victims of Israeli aggression. The old Sullivan got it; today’s Andrew Sullivan does not.
So, Andrew, I will not apologize, and PJM will not remove my old blog.
UPDATE: 6:40 pm, EST.
Sullivan has replied to the above post. He argues, as you can see for yourself, that I am indeed both a McCarthyite and a racist for arguing that “an entire people” and an “entire ethnic group” are outside the realm of being normal; i.e., that because they are Arabs, they are by nature liars. He accuses me of making the same arguments as anti-Semites who say all Jews are above the truth by nature.
That, however, is not my point. It is, rather, the meta-narrative Thomas Friedman refers to in his Sunday New York Times column, one that is “is embraced across the Arab-Muslim political spectrum, from the secular left to the Islamic right.” That narrative, Friedman writes, citing the words of Lacan Hadad, says: ‘The Arabs and Muslims are victims of an imperialist-Zionist conspiracy aided by reactionary regimes in the Arab world. It has as its goal keeping the Arabs and Muslims backward in order to exploit their oil riches and prevent them from becoming as strong as they used to be in the Middle Ages — because that is dangerous for Israel and Western interests.’ ” Is Friedman too a racist because he argues there is an “Arab narrative?”
By saying that my post is a “McCarthyite internet smear” Sullivan reveals that it is he who cannot deal with facts. It appears he is reeling from the assault levied upon him by Leon Wieseltier, and he is now going to use any cheap shot he can to foil all other potential critics who seek to expose his mindset. It isn’t working. His pathetic answer to my reply to him is all one needs to read to see the truth of my original response.