Moreover, Goldstone adds that since Israel is under threat of attacks from both of those areas, it has to take measures “necessary for self defense.” To deal with the substantive issues that divide both sides by making the claim of apartheid, he argues, muddies the water and makes solving the disputes harder. He then writes:
Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship. Road restrictions get more intrusive after violent attacks and are ameliorated when the threat is reduced.
Finally, Goldstone writes that “Israel, unique among democracies, has been in a state of war with many of its neighbors who refuse to accept its existence.” He concludes with these words, which I highlight in bold:
The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.
One cannot help but speculate on what accounts for this startling change on the part of Judge Goldstone. Perhaps, coming soon after Yom Kippur, the judge took the New Year personally and decided that it was time to personally atone for the sins he had done to Israel. Perhaps the many critiques of his report from writers like Alan M. Dershowitz and Peter Berkowitz, whom Goldstone heard debate on the subject in California, hit home and affected him deeply.
As Tom Gross has noted on his own blog, Goldstone’s op-ed is a direct repudiation as well of so-called human rights groups that spend all of their time criticizing Israel while avoiding any condemnation of Arab violations of human rights, and of groups like Israel’s B’Teselem, whose director Jessica Montell has said that Israel is “worse than apartheid in South Africa.”
So, whatever Goldstone’s personal motivations that moved him to finally tell the truth, and repudiate his own past actions, his op-ed serves to undermine the attempts of those who seek Israel’s destruction, and prevents them from now using Goldstone’s previous report in their continuing efforts. And perhaps as well, the many criticisms by people like those of us at PJ Media have led the editors of the New York Times to finally decide to run such a piece on its editorial pages. The paper that just a few months ago ran an anti-Israel piece by the now thankfully recently departed Muammar Gaddafi, to the ridicule of all of its readers, has itself partially atoned for its sins by this time giving over its space to Judge Richard Goldstone.
Let us be thankful for such victories.