10 thoughts on “Former Aipac Director Incites U.S. Government Against Goldstone – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. The hypocrisy of these recent attacks on Goldstone is breathtaking. The attackers all represent an Israel that was one of the only allies of South Africa right till the end of apartheid, and now that the winds have changed they attack Goldstone for having once been a wheel in the gears of that state.

    Here’s Kurt Vonnegut on that very mindset. A band of old Nazis is being arrested in New York:

    More raiders came down the stairs prodding the Reverend Dr. Lionel J. D. Jones, the Black Fuehrer, and Father Keeley before them.
    Dr. Jones stopped halfway down the stairs, confronted his tormentors. “All I’ve done,” he said majestically, “is do what you people should be doing.”
    “What should we be doing?” said a G-man. He was obviously in command of the raid.
    “Protecting the Republic,” said Jones. “Why bother us? Everything we do is to make the country stronger! Join with us, and let’s go after the people who are trying to make it weaker!”
    “Who’s that?” said the G-man.
    “I have to tell you?” said Jones. “Haven’t you even found that out in the course of your work? The Jews! The Catholics! The Negroes! The Orientals! The Unitarians! The foreign-born, who don’t have any understanding of democracy, who play right into the hands of the socialists, the communists, the anarchists, the anti-Christ and the Jews!”
    “For your information,” said the G-man in cool triumph, “I am a Jew.”
    “That proves what I’ve just been saying!” said Jones.
    “How’s that?” said the G-man.
    “The Jews have infiltrated everything!” said Jones, smiling the smile of a logician who could never be topped.
    “You talk about the Catholics and the Negroes -” said the G-man, “and yet, here your two best friends are a Catholic and a Negro.”
    “What’s so mysterious about that?” said Jones.
    “Don’t you hate them?” said the G-man.
    “Certainly not,” said Jones. “We all believe the same basic thing.”
    “What’s that?” said the G-man.
    “This once-proud country of ours is falling into the hands of the wrong people,” said Jones. He nodded, and so did Father Keeley and the Black Fuehrer. “And, before it gets back on the right track,” said Jones, “some heads are going to roll.”
    I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be likened unto a system of gears whose teeth have been filed off at random.
    Jones wasn’t completely crazy. The dismaying thing about the classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, though mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined.
    The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten-year-olds, in most cases.
    The willful filing off of gear teeth, the willful doing without certain obvious pieces of information –
    That was how a household as contradictory as one composed of Jones, Father Keeley, Vice-Bundesfuehrer Krapptauer, and the Black Fuehrer could exist in relative harmony.

    (Mother Night, chapter 38)

    It’s also a perfect description of how folks like Dershowitz, Wiesel, or Foxman would be able to reconcile pro-civil-liberties, anti-bigotry work and views with blind advocacy for a state that’s been ever busier trampling these very values into the dust.

  2. richard,

    was sher ever indicted or convicted of embezzling funds? an investigation is not proof that a crime was committed.

    and why go out of your way to be an apologist for goldstone?

    you should be troubled by his actions as an apartheid era judge as well as to his response when confronted with his actions during that time.

    and i guess you must be out playing ball with the kids, cuz i came here to witness your outrage at chomsky being denied entrance to israel in order to get to a speaking engagement in the west bank.

    israel has now pulled the trifecta. finkelstein, falk and chomsky.

    of course, they now join in with other great democracies who have done similar actions. canada barring galloway and the uk barring michael savage.

    1. I haven’t the slightest interest in Neal Sher. Based on this rpt I know all I need to know about him: that he’s a hasbarist hack and probably a corrupt one at that. Does someone have to be convicted of a crime in order to be corrupt?

      I’m not troubled in the slightest by Richard Goldstone’s record as an apartheid era judge. I’d like to see how Dersh, Sher or you would’ve stacked up had you faced the same set of legal, political and judicial circumstances. I’d venture to guess that the temporizing they would’ve done would’ve put Goldstone’s performance of his duties to shame.

  3. I’d go out of my way to be an “apologist” for Goldstone. I believe that anyone who reads his report and knows his history in South Africa would realize how crude the propaganda is against him.

    Lies, lies, lies.

    In all his years as a trial judge, he sentenced only two to death — under a mandatory sentencing law that required the death penalty in the absence of mitigating circumstances. His court FOUND mitigating circumstances for all others. As an appeals court judge, he could only review the trial — not change the verdict unless he had legal reason. Hard to do in South Africa.

    Courageous, smart man, and devoted to rule of law.

    Compare that to his critics, who apparently condemn innocent civilians, even children, to death if combatants or other supposed “bad guys” hide among them — or if the IDF even makes a flimsy claim that that there are combatants among them. Sick. It’s sick on its face.

  4. I happen to think that Goldstone is, like most people, someone who believes faulty institutions are better changed from within than without. His decision to take this appointment from the UNHCR is a good example of that, as was his decision to accept an appointment to the South African bench during the Apartheid era. And having personally asked him about his views on the conflict, I know him to be a Zionist who is stridently opposed to the settlements. Strident as in he gets visibly upset when he talks about it.

    I also think he’s being honest when he says he never expected to be asked to do this. And I believe that he’s being honest when he says that the report would have been different had Israel cooperated with the mission, though I think he was naive to think that Israel would cooperate, given Israel’s well-founded suspicion of the UNHCR, which Goldstone admits spends a disproportionate time on Israel.

    I fully expected this report when I heard that he was leading the mission; Goldstone is both a major proponent of international criminal justice and a major proponent of universal jurisdiction and doubtless saw this as an opportunity to advance both, along with his belief that the settlements are an abomination. I would argue that he believes far too much in the ability of the criminal litigation process to bring restorative justice to victims and to stunt internecine conflict. But his heart is in the right place, and he helped get the ICTY off the ground.

    So I am strongly opposed to the current smear campaign against Goldstone. It is wrong, stupid, and counterproductive. It is wrong because Goldstone is not a bad guy. It is counterproductive because it makes everyone who engages in it look bad, and it just keeps bringing the Goldstone Report to the forefront. And it is stupid, because Israel’s record vis-a-vis South Africa was not good, even if some of it can be chalked up to Cold War politics post-1973.

    1. I do so enjoy when I find myself in agreement with commenters with whom I’ve never managed to find any common ground. I’m delighted to say that we agree completely on this one.

      I wish you’d tell this to Alan Dershowitz whose stupidity in smearing Goldstone serves precisely the purpose you describe–bringing the report back to the forefront (though I, as opposed to you apparently, believe it should be in the forefront).

      1. Well, I’ve been unhappy with Dershowitz for some time now. There was a time when Alan Dershowitz was an articulate guy who spent most of his time positioning himself as a strong center-left Zionist. You’ve probably seen the tape of him debating Meir Kahane from the 1980s; I admire him for that, because he was in an unfriendly room, and because he said what needed to be said. Dershowitz is one of those rare people who is not afraid of an unfriendly room, and I admire that. Alan Dershowitz can credibly claim to have criticized Israel many times because he has. Dershowitz doesn’t deserve to be demonized either; he is one of the premier criminal defense attorneys of his time, and he’s helped plenty of people in need.

        But lately, he’s become a strident right-wing voice who publicly ruminates on whether it is just to torture someone with actionable intelligence, and who has done little to disabuse people of the widely held notion that he simply will not criticize Israel on any ground whatsoever.

        Moreover, he acts like a jerk in public. I remember watching him on an episode of Counterpoint three or four years ago, a good Canadian debate show where he was invited to debate the conflict and I thought he made an ass of himself by going after the moderator. To give you an idea of how impolite he was, I once saw Ted Belman on that show talking about the same thing, and even though Belman is way to right of Dershowitz, Belman stated his views politely, if gruffly, and sounded far less extreme. Every partisan must ask himself who he is reaching before he goes out and says something provocative, and I think Dershowitz has stopped asking himself that question. This polemicism is unfortunately indicative of what modern politics has become and in all frankness, what the politics of this conflict has become.

        As far as the Goldstone Report goes, I think it has played its role. My prediction is that its main effect is that when the next war comes, Israel will be more careful, which is a victory if you believe that wars should be fought cleaner and a defeat if you believe that war should end. I believe that no matter what Israel does, there will be criticism, because that’s politics.

        Mostly, I think its effect is vastly overstated by everyone. The Report added to the list of UN reports and resolutions critical of Israel and broke little new ground; those who believe Israel is in the right still believe it and see the report as confirming their belief that whatever comes out of the UN is critical by virtue of its political makeup and those who believe Israel is in the wrong still believe it, and would believe it report or no report.

        I only hope that there is no need to fight additional wars, and that these talks get off the ground. I believe that talks create their own momentum, and even proximity talks are better than the alternatives.

        1. Once again you astonish me to find that we have so much common ground (other than yr comments about the limited benefit of the Goldstone Rpt). That’s good to see.

          I too once admired Dershowitz. He actually, if I recall, once represented an Israeli Palestinian whose rights were being violated, Fouzi al Asmar I think the name was. He was once truly a human rights advocate & reasoned, cautious critic of Israel. But something became poisoned within him & his conscience turned sour & insular. He’s become a parody & it’s sad.

          Unlike you though I think Dersh is a very bad, troubling figure whose views should be combatted vigorously.

  5. I’m interested in why hophmi feels the Goldstone report is a spent force and whether there is ANY hope for it.

    Due to some odd quirks in the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, it could still eventually end up as a prosecutor’s brief at the ICC. Right now, Israel, Fatah, Hamas, and the US government all have cooperated in bottling it up — I assume mainly because it could lead to political officials and rich individual funders of terrorism being indicted.

    The flip side is that the world would be a safer place, especially for civilians of all sides, if all these folk WERE indicted. In fact, I cannot think of a single other action that would be AS effective in doing that. Terrorism would continue, of course, but on a smaller scale. “Military actions” that disregard effects on civilians would still exist but certainly not on the scale we’ve seen in Gaza, and so forth.

    Yeah, the odds are against any of that happening right now, but the stars might align in the future, I hope.

    BTW, as a prosecutor’s brief, it certainly can and would be challenged and added to, incident-by-incident. The shortcomings caused in large part by Israel’s refusal to participate are not fatal to the report or to Israel’s “side.” One would hope, for instance, that low-level IDF personnel would come forward eventually.

    It would be a slow and painful process, of course — I watched Goldstone at the Yugoslav tribunal.

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