Richard Goldstone’s Sort-Of Apology

“Richard Goldstone’s Sort-Of Apology”
by Laurence H. Kant
Published in Shalom (Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass), May, 2011: p. 5

Pathetic. That is the only word I can use to describe Richard Goldstone’s stunning sort-of-apology in the Washington Post.

As many of you may remember, South African judge Richard Goldstone (who is Jewish) issued a report that generally downplayed the war crimes of Hamas in Israel’s 2006 Gaza incursion and lashed out at Israel for its disproportionate attacks on Gaza, its targeting of civilians, its use of Palestinians as human shields, and its destruction of civilian infrastructure. The Goldstone Report was issued under the auspices of the U.N. Human Rights Council, that embodiment of fairness toward Israel whose visionary leadership has included such democratic, gentle, peace-loving nations as Bahrain, China, Libya, Pakistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Saudi Arabia.

In his recent op-ed, Goldstone essentially admits that Israel followed proper procedures in the investigation of its soldiers in the Gaza incursion and that Hamas did not. He all but acknowledges that Israel’s military operated at a high moral level, while the military of Hamas did not.

His excuses ring hollow: He hoped that Hamas would respond to the commission’s requests–give us a break.  On what planet is he living? He thought that perhaps the U.N. Human Rights Council would start treating Israel more evenhandedly. This explanation is implausible and bears all the earmarks of after-the-fact rationalization:  Uh-oh, I’d better come up with something good. I can hear the wheels spinning. He wishes that Israel had responded to his requests. Gee, I wonder why Israel thought he and the commission would be biased and declined to cooperate. I’m shocked.

Goldstone and his commission harmed Israel and the Jewish people. And now he tries to justify the supposedly positive aspects of the Goldstone Commission and cannot even admit that he screwed up, even though he basically says he did.

The damage Goldstone has caused, some of it in the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians, is incalculable. The PR benefits of his essay are miniscule compared to the PR damage of his commission’s report. True apologies require a straightforward admission of error and a commitment to act differently in the future. Richard Goldstone has not even begun to do that.

Perhaps his many awards, the numerous parties in his honor, and friendships with VIPs mean more to him than offending others, especially on the anti-Israel left.  Apparently Jews don’t count on the international chichi lists of official victimhood. His excuses make things even worse.

I find it particularly sad that a person so associated with international justice in South Africa, the Balkans, and Rwanda would shut his eyes to the injustice he committed against his own people.

Legitimate debate about Israeli policies is beneficial and desirable, but the Goldstone Report made a mockery of fact-finding and objective analysis.

What is it that leads some Jews to hate themselves so much that they are willing to propagate lies and half-truths about Israel rather than grapple with complexity? What a waste.

———————-

Here are links to the story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=214866

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DR. LAURENCE H. KANT (LARRY KANT), MYSTIC SCHOLAR: Engaged Mysticism and Scholarship in the Pursuit of Wisdom; Discovering meaning in every issue and facet of life; Integrating scholarship, spirituality, mysticism, poetry, community, economics, and politics seamlessly. Historian of Religion: Ph.D., Yale University, 1993 (Department of Religious Studies); Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, Rabbinics, 1983-84; M.A., 1982, Yale, 1982 (Department of Religious Studies); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 1981; B.A., Classics (Greek and Latin), Tufts University, 1978; Wayland High School (Wayland, MA), 1974. Served on the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), York University (Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY). Works in many languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, English, French, Italian, German, Modern Greek (some Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish). Holder of numerous honors and awards, including The Rome Prize in Classics (Prix de Rome) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome.
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